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February is Bake for Family Fun Month! During the course of the month our pastry team will share some tasty recipes for you to try out – the first of these recipes to try is this delicious Ciabatta.


For the poolish:
Baker’s Note: The poolish needs to be made the day before, this is what gives the bread the fermented flavour we all love in a Ciabatta.
350g cake flour
350g water
2.5g Instant yeast

1. In a small bowl, mix all the ingredient by hand until just combined.
2. Cover with plastic and place in the fridge.
3. Ferment in the fridge overnight (8-12 hours).

What is Poolish? Poolish is a highly fluid yeast-cultured dough. It’s a type of pre-ferment traditionally used in the production of French bakery products. Poolish is particularly suited to making bread with a creamy, slightly nutty character and a crisp, thin crust.

For the Ciabatta:
500g cake flour
400g water
25g salt
10g instant yeast
50g olive oil

1. In a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment: add the poolish, flour, water, salt, yeast and oil.
2. Mix the ingredients on a low speed until a batter forms, turn up the speed and mix on high.
3. The dough is done when it is smooth and elastic, and comes clean off the side of the bowl.
4. In a large flat mixing bowl, place about 2 table spoons of olive oil and rub the bowl to coat it evenly.
5. Place the dough in the oiled bowl and cover with a plastic bag.
6. Leave in a warm place for 1 hour to rise.
7. After an hour the dough should have air bubbles, if not leave it for another 30 minutes.
8. Fold the dough gently by lifting and stretching the right side of the dough and moving it towards the center and then on the left side. Then turn the dough upside down. (This folding and stretching technique allows the dough to develop elasticity – forming the gluten structure for the bread to hold its shape once baked.)
9. Replace the cover and leave to rise for another hour.
10. Repeat the folding process and allow to rise for another hour.
11. Generously dust your work surface with flour.
12. Gently tip the dough out on the counter being careful not to knock any of the air. Air and bubble preservation is key from this point.
13. Cut the dough into 3 evenly sized rectangles.
14. Gently move them onto a floured baking tray.
15. Place the loaves in the oven at 230°C for 20 minutes.
16. After 20 minutes open the oven door and drop the temperature to 200°C.
17. Bake for another 10-20 minutes, the loaves should be golden brown in colour and they should feel light and crispy.
18. Remove and place on a cooling rack.

Tips and tricks:

  • The dough is quite wet, but if it is mixed correctly will not be sticky.
  • The dough can also be cut into small dinner rolls or sandwich sized breads, but remember that the baking time will need to be adjusted accordingly.