Ciabatta

From America's Test Kitchen Season 10: Italian Bread and Sauce

Why this recipe works:

For a ciabatta recipe with airy texture, tangy flavor, and perfect lift, we chose all-purpose flour, which gave the bread an open, springy texture. A sponge fermented for 12 hours gave the bread its requisite flavor. A combination of kneading and turning lent the dough just the right amount of… read more

For a ciabatta recipe with airy texture, tangy flavor, and perfect lift, we chose all-purpose flour, which gave the bread an open, springy texture. A sponge fermented for 12 hours gave the bread its requisite flavor. A combination of kneading and turning lent the dough just the right amount of gluten for the medium-size bubbles we were looking for in the perfect ciabatta recipe.

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Makes 2 loaves

Two tablespoons of nonfat milk powder can be used in place of the liquid milk; increase the amount of water in the dough to 1 cup. As you make this bread, keep in mind that the dough is wet and very sticky. The key to manipulating it is working quickly and gently; rough handling will result in flat, tough loaves. When possible, use a large rubber spatula or bowl scraper to move the dough. If you have to use your hands, make sure they are well floured. Because the dough is so sticky, it must be prepared in a stand mixer. If you don’t have a baking stone, bake the bread on an overturned and preheated rimmed baking sheet set on the lowest oven rack. The bread will keep for up to 2 days, well wrapped and stored at room temperature. To recrisp the crust, place the unwrapped bread in a 450-degree oven for 6 to 8 minutes. The bread will keep frozen for several months wrapped in foil and placed in a large zipper-lock bag. Thaw the bread at room temperature and recrisp using the instructions above.

Ingredients

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