March 4, 2012

no-knead ciabatta

the beautiful texture of no-knead bread
Whenever I need to learn more about a certain dish I'm planning to cook, I turn to the internet. I've always found it helpful to watch a cooking demo or video. One of those blogs I like to check out is Food Wishes. Thanks again to Chef John for making cooking fun and easy with his many video recipes and helpful information. I've tried a few of his recipes and his version of this no-knead ciabatta was my latest discovery.

3 1/2 cups bread flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups lukewarm water

With only the basic ingredients shown and listed above, it's one of the simplest bread recipes I've tried. For those who like the texture of chewy artisan breads, this is worth a try. Just combine all the ingredients together in a large bowl until the mixture forms a very soft dough. There's absolutely no kneading required. Leave it to rest covered at room temperature (on the kitchen counter) overnight for 18 hours. The wait may be long but if you think about it, making bread while sleeping is not a bad idea at all :-) The long resting period is the secret to the chewy interior filled with holes characteristic of a good ciabatta. Turn out the dough onto a parchment paper sprinkled with flour. Pat the dough into an elongated shape. Rest for another 2 hours. The soft dough will flatten out while resting but will rise while baking. Instead of letting the dough rest on a plastic wrap then flipping it out onto a baking sheet, I did a shortcut and rested it directly on the parchment paper then proceeded with the baking. It may have saved me the trouble of transferring the dough but I think flipping it would have eliminated the bigger holes that rose to the surface while resting which created a gap under the crust. Bake in a preheated 425F oven for 25 to 35 minutes.

(1) gluten development after only a few hours (2) the mixture will be very bubbly after resting for 18 hours (3) gently turn out the soft dough onto a parchment paper sprinkled with flour (4) shape and rest for another 2 hours prior to baking

sprinkle evenly with flour before baking
Check out Chef John's No-Knead Ciabatta video and have fun making it. There are many other tutorial recipe videos in his foodblog that are worth watching. I think the same ciabatta recipe may easily be adapted to make foccacia bread. I just have to try it next time.

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