Ciabatta

I used a very fine flour – 00 Tipo – which works very well for this recipe.
This is a spectacular bread – Light and fluffy with a crispy crust. Perfect for a spectacular sandwich or to accompany a cheese and charcuterie platter.
This is where it starts and in a some way, lies the success of the final product. The Biga – Poolish – Starter or also called a Sponge, will help the bread to rise and create the air pockets which the bread is known for. Very easy to prepare.
Don’t be intimidated by the dough being loose and somewhat sticky. Worth a try !

INGREDIENTS
BIGA – STARTER
1/4 Teaspoon Active dry yeast
1/2 Cup Water at room temperature
1 1/2 Cups All purpose flour – 00 Type flour works well
Mix in a bowl and let it rest for 12 hours / overnight – Cover with a cling film

DOUGH
1 Teaspoon Instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon Salt
3/4 Cup + 3 Tablespoons Water
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Cups All purpose flour

METHOD
Using your fingers, take the Pre-ferment/Biga out of the bowl in small bite size pieces and place them in the mixing bowl. Add the yeast, salt, water, olive oil and flour and beat slowly with a flat paddle for about 3 minutes. Everything should be well incorporated, making sure there are no lumps.
Replace the paddle with a dough hook and increase the speed to medium and knead for 10 minutes.
The dough will be very sticky and slack. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover it with cling film and let it rise for 2-3 hours, gently deflating it every hour.
Transfer the dough on a lightly oiled counter, cut in half and shape the dough into a rough log.
Transfer the dough to a baking sheet covered with parchment paper –
Shape the dough into a 10 X 4 inch. (10 X 25 cm oval).
Using the tip of your fingers, indent the surface of the dough vigorously and thoroughly. Let the dough rise once again for 2-3 hours.

Preheat your oven at 200 Celsius – Spritz water into the oven to create a little mist. This will help the bread to rise.
Bake the loaves for a total of about 25 minutes.
The inside of the bread should measure 210 F 98 Celsius.
Bake until golden brown – Turn of the oven and let the bread cool off, inside the oven, with the door slightly open.
Dust the loaves generously with flour.

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