Monday, March 28, 2011

Focaccia and Ciabatta

If you read my post about working with high-hydration bread, you might have noticed the pretty photos of focaccia and ciabatta. I didn't post the recipes because they weren't my recipes - they were from Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day.

I tend not to post many recipes that aren't my originals, but I changed my mind - this one is worth repeating.

Okay, but first about the book. This is like training wheels for artisan breads, but only if the training wheels are for a supercharged bicycle.

Compared to similar books, this one is aimed at the home cook, but the recipes aren't dumbed down at all. The recipes are somewhat complicated, with a lot of steps, but it's all written very clearly, keeping in mind that the home baker is not a professional.

If you're looking to move beyond basic breads, this book will get you there.

Focaccia and Ciabatta
Adapted from Artisan Breads Every Day by Peter Reinhart
This recipe will make 2 loaves of ciabatta or 1 large focaccia. I made 1 ciabatta and 1 smaller focaccia.

4 1/2 cups (20 1/4 ounces) bread flour
1 3/4  teaspoons salt
1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
2 cups chilled water
1 tablespoon olive oil (plus more as needed)

Combine flour, salt, yeast and water in the bowl of your stand mixer (or a regular mixing bowl, if you're doing this by hand). Mix on low with the paddle attachment for one minute, until the ingredients are combined. Let it rest 5 minutes.

Drizzle one tablespoon of oil over the dough, and continue mixing on medium-low speed for another minute.

Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Lightly oil your work surface. With oiled hands, reach under the front end of the dough, stretch it out, then fold it on top of the dough. Do this from the back and both sides, then flip the dough over and tuck it into a ball. Place the dough back into the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Repeat the folding and resting another three times. After the last fold, cover the bowl and refrigerate the dough overnight.

To make 1 large focaccia: 

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and line a half-sheet baking pan with parchment or a Silpat. Oil it generously, including the sides of the pan. Transfer the dough to the pan and add another tablespoon of oil on top of the dough. Use your fingertips to make dimples in the dough and coax it to spread to cover about 1/2 of the pan.

Warm the oven for a few minutes, then turn it off. Start dimpling the dough again, coaxing it to spread even further. When the dough starts resisting, stop dimpling, cover the pan with plastic wrap, and place it in the slightly warm oven for about 5 minutes.

Take the dough out of the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes. Remove the plastic wrap and continue dimpling until it covers most of the pan. Cover it, return it to the oven, and let rest there for another 5-10 minutes.

Remove it from the oven and let it rest for another 10 minutes. Remove the plastic wrap and continue dimpling until it fills the pan. It's fine if it won't snug completely into the corners. Cover it with plastic wrap again and put it in the oven for 5-10 minutes, then remove it and let it finish proofing at room temperature, about 1 1/2 hours. It should be about 1 inch high.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Top the focaccia with whatever you like. (But if you're using cheese, add it towards the end of the baking time.) Put the pan in the preheated oven, then lower the temperature to 450 degrees and bake for 12 minutes. Rotate the pan and continue baking for another 10-15 minutes, until the top is golden brown. The bottom should be a mottled golden brown.

If you're using really wet toppings, it will take longer to cook, so keep that in mind.

Move the focaccia to a rack along with the parchment paper. Let it cool for at least ten minutes before serving.

To make ciabatta:

Take the dough out of the refrigerator and let it rest at room temperature for 1 hour. Line the back of a sheet pan with parchment paper and dust it generously with flour. Dust your work surface with flour as well.

Gently move the dough to your work surface, and dust the top of the loaf with flour. Coax it into a square(ish) shape, taking care not to deflate it.

Cut the dough in half to make 2 loaves.

With floured hands fold the dough in thirds, like a letter, but do not press down; just lay the dough on top of itself. Gently roll it in the flour in the flour on the work surface and transfer it to the floured parchment, seam-side down.

Do the same with the second piece of dough.

Mist the tops of the dough with oil and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for 1 hour.

Gently roll the dough over so the seam side is up. Working with your hands underneath the dough, coax it to stretch to about 7 inches long, being careful not to deflate it. Do the same with the second piece.

Lay them both seam-side up on the parchment and straighten them so they're more rectangular than oblong. Mist them with oil, cover with plastic, and let rest for one hour.

About 45 minutes before baking, preheat the oven, with a baking stone on the rack, to 550 degrees. Place a heat-proof pan in the bottom of the oven - you'll be pouring water in this later.

Note: If you're not using a baking stone, you can bake on the pan where the bread is resting.

After the dough has rested for the hour, slide it - along with the parchment paper, into the oven and onto the baking stone. Pour 1 cup of hot water into the pan below. Lower the temperature to 450 degrees and bake for 12 minutes. Rotate the bread and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until the bread is a rich brown and the crust is hard when tapped (it will soften as it cools.)

Let the bread cool on a rack for at least 45 minute before slicing.

This has been submitted to Yeastspotting.


Lenia said...

Hi,Donna!Congratulations on your great blog!I invite you to visit mine too( discover greek cuisine!Don't worry!It is bilingual!Kisses from sunny Greece!

Tupper Cooks! said...

Hey Donna- Awesome blog! I've got The Breadbaker's Apprentice, and while I've read it pretty thoroughly I Haven't devoted the time to doing many of Peter's recipes. I'm still more of a no-knead kind of baker. That said, at some point I vow to dedicate the time and patience to bake better bread.

The focacia on the baking sheet looks similar to Kenji's no-stretch sicilian dough that I've done a few times.

Ciabatta's got a nice crumb and looks yummy.

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