Whole Wheat Ciabatta
Courtesy of lauren-likes.tumblr.com
- 2 1/4 c. whole wheat flour
- 2 1/4 c. unbleached bread flour
- 1 1/2 t. salt
- 1 t. instant yeast
- 2 c. water, at room temperature
- 2 T. olive oil
In a large bowl, sift together flours, salt, and yeast. Add two cups water and mix to combine, switching to kneading when it becomes too difficult to stir. If you have a stand mixer with a dough hook, this is the time to bust it out and put it to work. If you are kneading by hand, keep at it, but try to avoid adding more flour to the dough as you knead - ciabatta is supposed to have a wet dough. Knead for five minutes, or until dough is smooth but still sticky. Let dough rest, then add olive oil and knead for another minute. Add flour only if it is really too wet, ie: more of a batter than a dough. Place dough in bowl and cover in plastic wrap. Store in fridge for at least 12 hours and up to three days. About two hours before planning to serve ciabatta, remove dough from fridge. Being sure not to degas the dough, remove dough from bowl and divide into two or three pieces. (I divided mine into thirds and made four burger buns with the third piece.) Gently form each piece into a rectangle and fold into thirds. Roll each piece in flour gently and then place seam side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, position oven racks in the middle and very top of the oven, place a rimmed baking sheet (a “steam pan”) in the top rack, and preheat oven to 500. After dough has risen, place in oven on middle rack and carefully pour one cup of boiling water in the preheated rimmed steam pan on the top rack. This creates steam, which equals a crisper crust and more delicious bread. Turn oven temperature down to 450 and bake for 20 minutes. My loaves were done at this point, but depending on your oven and other variables you might need a bit more time. Bake until bread sounds hollow when thumped and an instant-read thermometer (a $5 gadget that makes baking so much easier) registers 200 degrees when placed in the center.