Ciabatta is a lean dough that is made with a poolish and something called the double-hydration method. This method involves adding water at two stages during gluten development. This is done to help incorporate the water of high hydration doughs.
115g water (1)
115g bread flour
pinch instant yeast (1/8 tsp)
55g water (2)
310g water (3)
3g instant yeast
485g bread flour
1. Mix poolish by combining water (1), bread flour and instant yeast and let it sit for 12 hours at room temperature.
2. Dissolve salt in water (2) in a bowl. Set aside.
3. Pour a little bit of water (3) into the poolish to release it from the sides of the container.
4. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine water (3), instant yeast, poolish, and bread flour and mix into a shaggy mass. Autolyse for 20 minutes.
5. Once the autolyse is complete, using a dough hook, mix on stir for 4 minutes.
6. Scrape down the sides, and mix on speed 4 for 4 to 6 minutes until medium gluten development is achieved.
7. Next, reduce the speed of the stand mixer to stir (low) and add the water and salt mixture a little at a time.
8. Once all the water is incorporated, increase speed and mix until medium gluten development is achieved again.
9. Bulk ferment for two and a half hours. After the first hour, perform a stretch and fold. Perform a second stretch and fold 30 minutes after your first. And another stretch and fold 30 minutes after your second for a total of 3 folds. Rest for another 30 minutes.
10. Divide the dough into two portions by cutting it with a bench scraper.
11. Pre-shape the two doughs with the bench scraper into two long rectangular shapes and rest for another 20 minutes.
12. Preheat oven to 500°F
13. Shape dough again with the bench scraper using a generous amount of flour and transfer to baker’s couche. Rest anywhere between 45 minutes to 1 hour and 45 minutes, until dough is fully proofed.
14. Transfer dough onto parchment with cornmeal on top and bottom.
15. Turn down oven to 470°F and bake for 35-40 minutes.
Baked in a rationale oven with steam.
Baked on a baking steel with no steam in a home oven.
Baked with steam (1/4 cup of water poured over cast iron) in a home oven.
Here’s a YouTube video of the process of making the Ciabatta.