More bread?! I know, I know.
…But I love to bake bread…
So, if you’ll allow me this one little indulgence; the opportunity to post two bread recipes back to back, I promise you that the next post (*probably*) won’t be another carby-delight…
See what I did there??
Oh well. You’ll forgive me once you realize that homemade ciabatta bread is readily within your grasp.
I shied away from baking ciabatta for the longest time; finding conflicting recipes and procedures derailed my, otherwise very gung-ho, ciabatta-baking train. One day, however, I came across a, seemingly legit, recipe and decided to give it a try…
Now here we are 6 successful batches of ciabatta bread later, and I feel that it’s time for you to try baking your own.
There’s something really special about the texture and chewiness of a properly-made ciabatta roll. Oh, and they make for the best grilled-veggie and goat cheese sandwiches (*wipes the cascading drool…*).
This ciabatta is a great, goes-with-everything, sort of a bread. I make a batch of 16 rolls and keep them in the freezer. A quick counter-top defrost, and we’re in business; tasting as fresh as the first day.
Ciabatta Bread Rolls
Adapted from Novel Eats
- 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 3/4 cups lukewarm water
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 4 cups white flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- White flour for dusting
1. The evening before you bake your bread, you’ll need to make the ‘biga’. This is what gives the ciabatta its trademark flavour and texture. First, mix your yeast and warm water in a large glass or ceramic bowl. Add in the whole wheat flour, and stir until everything is well combined. The dough should be wet like a biscuit dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit overnight at room temperature. You can let it ferment for up to 18 hours.
2. When you are ready to proceed making your ciabatta bread, add the lukewarm water from the second portion of your recipe to a larger bowl then sprinkle the yeast over it. Stir until the yeast is dissolved.
3. Add the biga into the water and yeast mixture. It will take a few minutes and some patience, but mix the liquid and the biga together until it’s pretty well combined. Add the flour and the salt, and mix well. The dough will be soft, wet, and sticky, which is exactly what you want. You don’t want the dough to be too dry. It’s going to be rustic!
4. Cover the dough with some lightly-greased plastic wrap and let it stand in a warm place for about an hour or until it has doubled in size. Keep it in a warm, draft-free area.
5. After the first rise is complete, take a spatula and lift up the dough and fold it over on itself. Do this a handful of times. This allows the gluten to rest. Cover it again and allow it to rise a second time for about 45 minutes or until it doubles in size.
6. Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces (I cut it in half, each half in half, each quarter in half, and then each eighth in half. BOOM: 16 equal pieces.)
7. Using extra flour, as needed, to handle the dough, stretch each piece of dough so it winds up looking like a little FLAT rectangle (they will rise again on the counter and again in the oven…and ciabatta should be flat-ish, so really flatten it down to start).
8. Lightly grease two cookie sheets and sprinkle lightly with flour (don’t overdo the flour, or it’ll burn in the very hot oven and smoke up your kitchen). Transfer your little, rustic, ciabatta rectangles to the cookie sheets, leaving as much room in between them as possible. Allow the dough to rise another half hour or until it has doubled in volume.
9. About 20 minutes into the final rise, preheat your oven to 500 degrees (Eek!). After your oven has preheated and your dough has fully-risen, place your rolls in the oven to bake.
***If you want a crustier exterior, using a spray bottle, spray water (on the mist setting) into your oven every 5 minutes for the first 15 minutes of the baking time.
10. After the first 15 minutes, turn down the oven temperature to 450 degrees and bake for an additional 15 minutes. You may only need an additional 5 to 10 minutes, though, so keep your eye on it and take it out when it has browned nicely on top.
Remove from the oven and let cool before enjoying with gusto!
These are great for sandwiches, super tasty toasted, and are also fabulous when served as an alternative to the traditional dinner roll and/or baguette.
Sold? I thought so.