This quick ciabatta takes only four hours to make from start to finish. Compared to the usual 12 hours or more it would offer a solution for those in a hurry. It was inspired by a quick ciabatta on a famous baking blog which required a dough mixing machine. The recipe produces a typical wet ciabatta dough and kneading it by hand would be very messy. By the third trial I found a way of making the gluten elastic and stringy without the necessity of so much time, or the hydrating action of the kneading machine. I stirred vigorously with a wooden spoon for ten minutes. It is more strenuous even than kneading.
The easiest way of making ciabatta and handling this wet dough is still to use enough time and the gentle working described in the other ciabatta recipes, but when you need bread in a hurry the four hour option is quicker. I also decided to form it after the stirring and never touch it again, as each time you handle the dough it collapses again, needing more time to rise back, and defeating the purpose of quick recipe. If you do not work the dough it will blow out and succumb to gravity spreading more sideways than upward. To get some thickness after 3 hours of rising without working, and not just to have an enormous flat bread that is just a few centimeters thick, I put it in a bread pan. Another adaption I made to having a quick recipe without a mixer, was to dissolve the yeast first with a little sugar, otherwise you have little balls of yeast which never dissolve properly in the baked bread.
Compared to the slow ciabattas it has fourteen times the amount of yeast, a little oil and is a lot drier. The result was light, fine textured and with a nice shiny smooth dome.
quick ciabatta should be stretchy
form a mushroom head
the quick ciabatta in the beginning
but not stick to the bowl
and then make it oval in shape
and after rising for three hours
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Resting time: 3 hours
Total time needed: at least 4 hours
Grade of Difficulty: easy
200ml or 9/10ths cup (2/3 C + 1T + 1t) tepid water
¼ teaspoon sugar
1 ¾ teaspoons yeast
250g or 2 cups flour
20 ml or 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspooon coconut fat
Mix about 2 cups of tepid water in a jar, testing with fingers till it is body heat.
Measure it out into another jar and add sugar and stir.
Add the yeast to the sugared water and stir.
Leave it for a couple of minutes while you measure the other indgredients into a large plastic bowl.
Stir them together and when the yeast has a little foam on it, a milimeter will do, add the yeasty water slowly to the dry ingredients stirring all the time.
If you have a dough mixer, leave it to mix for 8 minutes.
If you want to do it by hand, mix the
wet dough vigorously for ten minutes with the wooden spoon, pulling
it around the bowl so that it sticks to the bowl and stretches, or
rolling it rapidly with the spoon tip to make it come clean.
A change will occur in the dough, from clotted and lumpy and very sticky to elastic, smooth, self adhesive and less sticky.
Grease your bread pan with about half a teaspoon of coconut fat.
Dust the breadpan with about half a tablespoon of flour using a tea strainer.
Grease your hands well and take the lump of dough and keep turning its edges over and away from you with the palm of your hand, to form a mushroom cap shape.
Use the palm of your hands to make it oval and place it smooth side up in the centre of the bread pan.
Leave to rise until it has doubled in size. That is in my experience about three hours at room temperature of 22 degrees Celsius or 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
Heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius or 392 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place a baking tray of water in the bottom of the oven.
Bake the bread for about thirty minutes, but take out the tray of water after twenty minutes.
I have a tiny oven which tends to scorch food, so I find this temperature better than the normal bread baking temperature of 230 Celsius or 446 Fahrenheit.
When the bread is mid brown turn off the oven and leave it to dry in the warm oven for 10 minutes.
Then remove the pan, lift out the bread and either serve or leave it to cool.
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