Freshly Baked Ciabatta With Active Dry Yeast: A Crusty Delight

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Craving a fresh-baked loaf with a perfect balance of airy crumb and satisfyingly crisp crust? Look no further than ciabatta! This classic Italian bread is a staple in bakeries worldwide, and for good reason. Its simplicity and versatility make it a crowd-pleaser, perfect for dipping in olive oil, accompanying a hearty soup, or forming the base for a delicious sandwich.

This recipe utilizes active dry yeast, readily available in most grocery stores, to create a beautiful ciabatta loaf in your own kitchen. While it requires a bit of planning due to rising times, the hands-on effort is minimal, making it achievable for both novice and experienced bakers.

Ciabatta Bread
Ciabatta Bread

Ingredients:

3 ½ cups (420 grams) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting

  • 1 ½ teaspoons (7 grams) active dry yeast
  • 1 ½ teaspoons (9 grams) salt
  • 1 ¾ cups (420 milliliters) lukewarm water (about 105°F/40°C)
  • ¼ cup (60 milliliters) olive oil

  • Instructions:

    1. Preparation: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, yeast, and salt.

    2. Combine Wet and Dry Ingredients: Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the lukewarm water and olive oil. Using a wooden spoon or your hands, mix until a shaggy dough forms.

    3. Knead the Dough: Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. The dough will be sticky at first, but will become smoother and more elastic with kneading.

    4. First Rise: Place the dough in a large, oiled bowl, turning it once to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place for 1 ½ – 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

    5. Shaping: Lightly flour a work surface and gently deflate the dough. Using a dough scraper or your hands, fold the dough in half lengthwise, then fold it over itself again. Gently pat the dough into a rough rectangle, about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick.

    6. Second Rise: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Carefully transfer the shaped dough to the prepared baking sheet, seam-side down. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for another 1 – 1 ½ hours, or until almost doubled in size.

    7. Preheat the Oven: While the dough is rising for the second time, preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C).

    8. Scoring: Using a sharp knife or a razor blade, gently score the top of the dough with diagonal lines about ½ inch (1.25 cm) deep. This allows the bread to expand properly during baking.

    9. Bake: Drizzle the top of the dough with olive oil and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and crusty.

    10. Cool Completely: Transfer the baked ciabatta to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

    Nutrition Facts (per slice):

    Calories: 180

  • Fat: 5 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 1 gram
  • Carbohydrates: 30 grams
  • Protein: 5 grams
  • Sodium: 230 milligrams

  • Note: These nutrition facts are estimates only and may vary depending on the specific ingredients used.

    Conclusion

    Freshly baked ciabatta is a delightful addition to any meal. With its simple ingredients and straightforward process, this recipe makes achieving bakery-quality bread at home a breeze. So, fire up your oven, gather your ingredients, and enjoy the process of creating this delicious Italian staple!

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

    1. Can I use instant yeast instead of active dry yeast?

    Yes, you can! Substitute 1 teaspoon of instant yeast for the 1 ½ teaspoons of active dry yeast called for in the recipe. However, you won’t need to activate the instant yeast in water. Simply add it directly to the dry ingredients along with the flour, salt, and olive oil.

    2. Why is my ciabatta dough so sticky?

    Ciabatta dough is naturally sticky due to the high hydration level. Resist the urge to add too much extra flour during kneading. As you knead, the dough will become smoother and less sticky.

    3. My ciabatta didn’t rise properly. What went wrong?