Ciabatta is very easy to bake and it’s definitely worth it. Because even if you buy a ciabatta in a bakery, its crust may lose that delightful crispiness (it has from the start), while you carry it home. Just bake your ciabatta once and you’ll never be seduced by any beautiful ciabatta in any shop.
Panini is ciabatta of small size.
- 500 g all purpose wheat flour
- 375 ml of lukewarm water (36-38°C)
- 2 tsp of dry yeast
- 1,5 tsp of salt
- 30 ml of oil
- 1-1,5 l of boiling water (will be needed during baking)
- A mold for boiling water
According to the advice on a package of your dry yeast add it either to flour or to lukewarm water (in this case wait several minutes). Combine all ingredients and knead the dough. It will be very sticky, so try not to touch it (if you don’t have a food processor, use a tablespoon or a spatula).
Put the dough in a bowl, cover it and leave for 1,5 hours.
When the time has passed, preheat the oven to 220°C (convection mode, if possible) and bring a kettle of water to boil.
For traditional way of baking you need to add some flour to the baking sheet, gently place the dough (be very careful, try not to break the air-bubbles that the dough has formed – you can help the dough to come out of the bowl cutting it with a spatula from bowl’s sides) and sprinkle some flour on the top of ciabatta.
When I sprinkle the flour, my entire kitchen is sprinkled too. So I can offer you 2 untraditional ways:
1. To put parchment paper on the baking sheet and place the dough on it without flour. Also I don’t sprinkle flour over the dough. The parchment paper will be crumpled up during baking but it won’t affect the result and will easily come off ciabatta.
2. To use a silicone mold. I have 7 cm high rectangular silicone mold, so I put the dough there right from the start. It’s not a big mold, so it’s better not to cover it. That’s why I put it into closed cold oven uncovered for 1,5 hours. Note: in this case the amount of crispy crust will be less, because this crust only builds at the point where the dough meets hot air. But the mold helps the loaf to be less flat than it usually is.
As soon as the oven is preheated, pour the boiling water into a metal mold (at least 1 liter). And place the water on a lower level of the oven. Place ciabatta in the middle of the oven and bake for 35-40 min. (time depends on the process – just look after the crust when 35 min. have passed – if the crust becomes too brown, it means that you need to take the loaf out).
Leave ciabatta to rest on a rack. Otherwise the bottom will have no crust. It’s ready to eat when it has cooled down (after ~1 hour).
If you don’t want your ciabatta to be that brown as the one in my pictures, bake it at 210°C, the same 35 min. Crispy crust in this case won’t be so thick (good choice for those, who temporary can’t chew very hard things), but anyway it will be crispy enough.
Ciabatta shouldn’t be stored for more than a day – because the next day its crust won’t be crispy and the bread itself becomes stale. Therefore you should plan to bake chiabatta right before your meal.