Ciabatta
Use this simple and authentic ciabatta recipe to make this delicious white Italian bread. It's hard to stop eating it!
Makes: 2 loaves
Ingredients
For the biga starter
  • 240 g (8 oz) strong white flour
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz) lukewarm water
  • 1 tsp dried yeast
For the dough
  • 340 g (12 oz) strong white flour
  • 250 ml (8 fl oz) water
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
Instructions
Prepare the biga
  1. Add the yeast to the water and allow to stand for 10 minutes for the yeast to activate.
  2. Place the flour in a bowl and add the yeast/water mixture a bit at a time, mixing well between each addition.
  3. Add enough water to make a firm dough. Knead on a floured surface for 5 minutes.
  4. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave overnight.
Prepare the dough
  1. Add the yeast to the water and allow to stand for 10 minutes for the yeast to activate.
  2. Add the yeast/water mixture to the biga and mix well until the slurry is smooth. A whisk sometimes helps with this.
  3. Mix in the milk. Gradually add the flour, mixing with you hand between additions.
  4. Once all the flour has been added the dough should be really sticky. Add the salt and olive oil and mix well.
  5. Place the dough into a clean oiled bowl, cover and leave in a warm place to double in size (1-2 hours).
  6. Generously flour 2 baking sheets and pour half the dough onto each sheet. Do NOT knock the dough back.
  7. Dust your hands with flour and pull the dough out into an elongated shape about 1" (2cm) in depth. Dust the dough with flour and leave in a warm place to rise for about half an hour - no need to cover the dough.
  8. Bake at 190°C/375°F fan oven, 220°C/430°F conventional oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
  9. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Notes
The bread should have obvious holes in its structure. It is delicious on its own, dipped in olive oil, or toasted and rubbed with a cut clove of garlic.