No Knead Ciabatta Bread
Bread baking is incredibly satisfying, making something so delicious and soul-satisfying out of “nothing” (other than flour water yeast and salt). True, it takes a bit of skill and experience but isn’t this how it is with everything worth doing?
Bread takes time to make, require rest between kneading or stretching and even an overnight slumber in the cool refrigerator benefits the dough and develops flavour and texture. The fridge can also help if you have a dough rising and you have to run out for a while. Refrigerating it will slow down the rising process and you can pick up where you left off when you are ready to proceed.
Most of the time I make bread where I knead the dough either by hand or with a machine. Sometimes I make a no-knead method that makes a delicious crusty loaf in a le Creuset pot. Recently, after reading Emmanuel Hadjiandreou book “How to make Bread” I started experimenting with another way of making bread by stretching the dough instead of kneading it. It is a simple and easy method that dare I say is no fail? You be the judge. I made a few loaves with this and ended with bread that is crusty on the outside, soft and chewy inside and fun to make and eat.
Ciabatta is an easy bread as it does not require shaping and I thought I’d post this one first. Let me know if you try it, I am curious to know how it went.
1 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup lukewarm water
1/2 teaspoon yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
Combine flour and salt in a small bowl.
Dissolve yeast in the warm water in another bowl.
Add flour to water mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until a sticky dough forms. Add more water little by little if necessary.
Place 1 tablespoon oil into a clean bowl and swirl it around.
Scrape the dough into the clean bowl, cover with plastic and let rest 1 hour.
After about an hour when the dough is relaxed and spread in the bowl remove plastic and, leaving the dough in the bowl, pull the dough by grabbing a piece of dough from the edge, stretching it upwards and folding it into the center of the dough. Repeat all around the dough, about 8 or ten stretches. Turn the dough over and you should have a rather smooth ball of dough. Now cover the bowl with plastic and let rest 1 hour.
Repeat the stretching method 3 more times, waiting 1 hour in between.
After the last stretch let the dough rest one hour before shaping.
Preheat oven to 475ºF and place a pizza stone in on which you will bake the bread.
To shape, tilt the bowl with the dough onto a floured sheet on parchment very gently so you do not disturb the air in the dough. Pull the bowl from under the dough away so it falls on the parchment in a rectangular shape.
Very gently, disturbing the dough as little as possible, stretch the dough into a rectangle.
Dust it with flour and let rest 15 minutes.
Using a wide metal spatula or another flat kitchen tool slide it under the parchment and transfer the dough to the oven with the parchment. Lay it on the pizza stone and close the oven door.
Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the bread has a golden crust. Check by tapping the bottom of the bread, if it sounds hollow the bread should be done.
Let cool on a rack and enjoy with butter.