Feb 1st, 2009 by SteveB
In the previous post (More Musings on Mixing… ), I described a newly devised ‘double flour addition’ dough mixing technique which will allow a home baker, using a conventional tabletop stand mixer, to produce a well developed, nicely aerated dough nearly identical to those produced by professional bakers using commercial mixing equipment. While it was demonstrated that one could use the double flour addition technique to produce a pain au levain with the desired open crumb, there was still a question about the versatility of the technique. Could double flour addition be used to produce the type of high hydration dough used to create the wide open crumb structure characteristic of a ciabatta?
To answer this question, I decided to go back to my original ciabatta recipe (Ciabatta using Double Hydration) and modify it slightly by introducing a double flour addition step near the beginning. In essence, the ciabatta dough was prepared through a tandem ‘double flour addition/double hydration’ sequence. The result was a loaf with the wide open, slightly translucent crumb structure characteristic of a classic artisanal ciabatta.
- 190 g King Arthur Organic Select Artisan Flour
- 190 g Water
- 1/8 tsp. Instant Yeast
- 310 g King Arthur Organic Select Artisan Flour
- 190 g Water
- 10 g Salt
- 1/8 Tsp. Instant Yeast
- 15 g Olive Oil
- 380 g (all of the above) Poolish
The night before baking, the poolish is made by mixing the flour, water and yeast until all the ingredients are well incorporated. The poolish is then covered with plastic wrap and allowed to rest at 70ºF overnight until mature, about 12 hours.
The next day, all of the poolish is added to only 150 g of the full 190 g of water (the remaining 40 g of water is set aside for later use) in the bowl of a stand mixer. The olive oil is then added and the mixture is mixed at low speed, using the whisk attachment, until a homogeneous slurry is obtained, about 2 minutes. The mixer speed is then increased to speed 3 and enough of the flour (~ 25-30 g) is added to produce a thin batter capable of maintaining a stable air emulsion. The whisking is continued for an additional minute after which time the mixer is stopped and the remaining flour and yeast is added. Switching to a spiral dough hook, the mixture is mixed on speed 2 just until all the flour is hydrated, about another 2 minutes. The resulting mixture is then covered and allowed to rest at 76ºF for an autolyse period of 30 minutes.
After the 30 minute autolyse, the salt is added and the dough is mixed with the spiral dough hook at speed 3 until a smooth, medium soft consistency dough is obtained, about 10 minutes. With the mixer still at speed 3, the remaining 40 g of water is added in small increments over a period of another 10 minutes, with each incremental addition being added only after the previous addition has been fully incorporated. The resulting very fluid dough was then transferred to an oiled container, covered and allowed to ferment for 3 hours.
After the 3 hours are up, the dough is turned out onto a well-floured surface and is divided in half. Each dough piece is then gently stretched to the ciabatta’s characteristic oblong shape, placed on a well-floured couche, covered and allowed to proof at 76ºF for 1 hour. After proofing, the dough pieces are gently flipped onto a transfer peel and then slid from the transfer peel onto an oven peel. The dough pieces are then loaded into an oven pre-heated to 450°F. The pieces are baked at 450ºF for 35 minutes, under steam for the first 15 minutes of baking. The resulting loaves have a nice crispy, light crust with a wide open interior crumb.
(submitted to YeastSpotting)