Everyone has seen this bread either in Italian sandwich bars as a sandwich stuffed with salty parma ham and mozzarella or sold in a packet of four in supermarkets. For the people, who have not seen Ciabatta before its a slightly long Italian bread with some air holes. It is incredibly addictive once you have tried it! This bread is a 'vehicle' for many indulgent snacks like bruchettas topped with creamy indulgent mozzarella cheese and a tomato and basil salsa. This bread can be used in any dish you want. Like my other bread recipes, it is similar to how I make foccacia, except you don't use as much oil in the recipe. This recipe can be made in 2 hours or if you want the perfect ciabatta, allow the dough to rest overnight. This give the dough time to prove slowly, which mean more flavour.
My family love this recipe, it gives them a break from foccacia. This recipe was inspired by brothers, they wanted a bread that has the same flavour as foccacia but not as oily. So I created a recipe that had the same flavour but not as oily. I hope you enjoy making this recipe as I have creating it.
1. In a large bowl, sift 450g of strong white bread flour and add 2 tsp of salt on one side of the bowl and 3 tsp of instant yeast on the other side of the bowl. Make sure the yeast and salt are not near each other. Salt touching yeast = death of yeast!! Then add 2tsp of sugar, 30ml of olive oil and 2 tbsp of dried or fresh oregano.
2. In the same bowl add 300ml of lukewarm water and mix with a wooden spoon until the dough come together, it will take around 3-4 mins.
3. Then slowly add 100ml of water into the dough, a little bit at a time until the dough has absorbed it. Now at this stage the dough is really sticky. Place 50-60g of strong white bread flour on your worktop and place your dough on it.
4. Heavy flour your hand and knead the dough for 5 mins. If the dough keeps sticking flour your worktop with a little bit of flour,but not too much. After kneading, place the dough in a bowl and allow to prove for 1 hour in a warm place.
5. After an hour place back on a heavily floured worktop and divide it into eight pieces.
6. Then shape your dough into a long rectangle and slightly stretch it. This will give you the air bubbles. Place on a baking tray and repeat.
7. After you have shaped your loaves, allow to rest for 25 mins.
8. Preheat your oven to 220C and bake for 30 mins or until golden brown. Allow to cool for 10 mins on a wire rack. Enjoy!!!