For the Poolish
- 9.6 oz./ 2.25 cups Bread flour
- 9.6 oz./ 1.25 water
- pinch (1/8 tsp.) Dry Yeast
- 450g/ 1lb. Bread flour
- 180g/ 6.4 oz Whole wheat flour
- 400g/14oz. water
- 1 tbsp. Salt
- 0.13oz/ 1.75 tsp. Dry Yeast
Ciabatta is one of the Italian bread trademarks however I bet you didn’t know that it a very young breed in terms of existence, tradition is a tricky slippery memory that can fixate a state of mind, and in this case the fact that Ciabatta was probably created along with baguettes.
In reality, it was invented in 1982 by a Verona Baker who wanted to make an Italian bread to fight back the popular French Baguettes and the rest is history.
Ciabatta – sounds difficult but anyone can bake it
The best way to give a white bread a deep flavor is by adding a Poolish or Biga, both of them are names of preferments in a different hydration level, but to make it simple, we create a dough 12-16 hours prior to the Ciabatta making that will give us the rich flavor and airy texture.
Making the Poolish is easy just mixing flour yeast and water, cover and leave on the counter for a few hours.
The ciabatta dough is very elastic, I strongly recommend using a stand mixer, the dough feels like a bubble gum and had caused a serious headache for many bakers, so the key to get the airy texture is mixing the dough to develop the gluten in it and letting the dough rest 2 times for easier shaping (after each rest we fold the dough and this builds the strength).
You might want to use a dough scraper for the folding, especially for the first on, the dough is a bit runny and very sticky, challenging to fold.
Getting the ciabatta full of air pockets is easy just leave it alone… from the time we divided the dough into the desired amount of buns we use minimum tampering, most important is not to burst the bubbles inside the ciabatta, this will ensure a puffy airy super tender texture which is the trademark of this amazing bread.
Preparing the Poolish
Mixing the dough
In a bowl of a stand mixer disperse the yeast in the water with 3 tbsp. of the bread flour and cover for 5-10 minutes (the mixture should be a bit bubbly). remove the cover and add the rest of the bread flour, whole-wheat flour and the Poolish. mix on low speed for 3 minutes add the salt and mix for another 5 minutes on medium speed.
dividing and shaping
Pour the dough into a floured work surface, fold it once or twice gently and divide it into 6 parts as you make a line lengthwise and 2 more lines crosswise.
Baking the Ciabatta's
Preheat the oven to 230°c/ 460°F.