Tuesday 8 April 2014

Making Paul Hollywood's Ciabatta Recipe

I've had this recipe for sometime; given its first proving takes six hours, its not a recipe I'd be whipping up after tea one night, and so it has sat in the kitchen draw for some time now. We actually purchased Paul Hollywood's Bread book as a gift for a friend at Christmas time. It's a great book written by a talented Baker, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone. Should get around to buying myself a copy now! Anyway, most of Paul Hollywood's recipes can be found on the BBC food website if you get the urge in the weekend to bake the family some bread. It a reasonably easy recipe, made easier if you have a stand mixer with a dough hook. The ciabatta mixture is quite loose and sticky compared with a more conventional dough.

Paul Hollywood's Ciabatta

400g strong flour
7g instant yeast
300ml water
30ml olive oil, plus extra for oiling
7 g salt
semolina flout for dusting

Combine half the flour and 4g of the yeast with half the water in a bowl. 

Beat the mixture together into a thick batter.

Oil a clean work surface and knead the dough for 5 minutes until it forms a smooth, silky, springy ball. 

Place the ball of dough into a well oiled medium sized bowl. 

Cover the bowl in a damp tea towel and leave it to rise for at least six hours at room temperature.

Having risen for the prescribed time, tip the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer. 

Add the remaining flour, the oil, remaining yeast and half the remaining water. 

Mix this together, on low speed, with the dough hook attachment of the mixer. 

Dissolve the salt in the last of the water and gradually add this to the mixture, beating well after each small addition. 

It will look like a lumpy sloppy mess for the first little while, but don't worry it will come together. 

Mix for 6 to 10 minutes until the dough is soft and stringy. 

Traditionally this would have been done in a large wooden trough designed specifically for the task. 

Divide the dough in half and tip it into two well oiled plastic containers. 

Put the lids on and leave them to swell until it has risen three-quarters of the way up the sides of the containers. 

The original recipe uses one square container and cuts the dough in half before baking, but I found two perfect sized containers in the cupboard that did the job.

Mix equal amounts of plain and semolina flour and use it to cover the baking sheet. 

Once risen, tip the dough out onto the baking tray. 

Stretch the dough out a little and sprinkle with more oil if required. 

Preheat the oven to 220deg. C and allow the dough to prove again for a further 30 minutes. 

Bake for 30 minutes until golden and break out the butter. 

Although this seems like a long winded recipe, all the steps are relatively simple; I would recommend planning it so the doughs first rising can take place overnight.        

Happy baking xx

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