Rustic Ciabatta (Cold Fermentation)

Prep Time
Cook Time
Ready In

Recipe: #3737

December 28, 2011

"Don't let the number of steps scare you away. . .it really is very simple to prepare. This is my favorite no-knead, cold-fermentation recipe! The dough can be used in so many ways: for ciabatta (of varying sizes) and mini baguettes. It's the same dough that is used to make focaccia, however since the directions are different I will post as a separate recipe. Another recipe from Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Everyday. Time indicated does not include fermentation time."

Original recipe yields 14 servings


  • Serving Size: 1 (76.4 g)
  • Calories 116.8
  • Total Fat - 2.3 g
  • Saturated Fat - 0.4 g
  • Cholesterol - 0 mg
  • Sodium - 423.7 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate - 20 g
  • Dietary Fiber - 1.1 g
  • Sugars - 2.1 g
  • Protein - 3.8 g
  • Calcium - 106.8 mg
  • Iron - 1.5 mg
  • Vitamin C - 0 mg
  • Thiamin - 0.3 mg

Step 1

Do Ahead: In a mixing bowl combine the flour, salt, yeast and water.

Step 2

Using the paddle attachment and mix on the lowest speed for 1 minute. until well bleneded. The dough will be coarse and sticky. Allow the dough to rest for five minutes to fully hydrate the flour.

Step 3

If making ciabatta, drizzle the olive oil over the dough (if making baguettes omit the olive oil). Mix on medium-low speed (using the paddle attachment) for one more minute. The dough will still be very soft, stickey and wet.

Step 4

Transfer the dough to a clean, oiled bowl and allow to rest a room temperature for 10 minutes.

Step 5

Instead of kneading, the dough is stretched and folded. The process is as follows: Transfer the dough to a lighly oiled work surface.

Step 6

With wet or oiled hands stretch the bottom end of the dough out and then fold toward the center (similar to folding a letter).

Step 7

Now stretch the top end of the dough and fold it towards the center.

Step 8

Rotate dough 1/4 turn and repeat, fold the bottom of the dough towards the center.

Step 9

And finally fold from the top toward the center.

Step 10

Flip the dough over and tuck it into a ball. (The dough should be significantly firmer, but still very soft and fragile.) Place the dough back into the oiled bowl, cover and allow to sit for 10 minutes at room temperature.

Step 11

Repeat the above folding process three more times . . . YES, 3 more times! The total time required for the stretching and folding will be 40 minutes.

Step 12

After the fourth (and final) stretching, place the dough in a tightly covered container and refrigerate over night, or up to four days. The dough will rise to double it's size so besure to use a large enough bowl or container.

Step 13

Baking Day: Remove the dough from the refrigerator 3 hours prior to baking to allow it to warm up. (If want to bake only one loaf at this time, carefully cut the dough in half and return the other half to the refrigerator.)

Step 14

One hour after removing the dough from the refrigerator, line the back of a sheet pan with parchment and lighly dust the surface with flour.

Step 15

Using a wet or oiled spatula carefully transfer the dough to the work surface. Handle the dough with care, avoid degassing it as much as possible.

Step 16

Dust the top of the dough with flour as well as your hands. Gentley coax the dough into a rough square (about 9 inches on each side). Again careful not to degass. Cut the dough in half.

Step 17

With floured hands gently (without applying pressure) fold the dough into thirds (again like a letter). Roll the dough in the dusting flour to coat and place back on the parchment paper, seam side down.

Step 18

Mist the top of the dough with spray oil and loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and allow to rest for one hour.

Step 19

After one hour gently roll the dough over so the seam side is up. With floured hands carefully lift and cradle the dough, gently coaxing the dough to a length of 7 inches.

Step 20

Place the dough, seam side up back on the parchment paper. Straighten the sides with your hands or a pastry scraper so they it form a rectangle. Mist with oil again and proof for one hour.

Step 21

Forty five minutes prior to baking, preheat oven to 550 degrees or as high as your oven will go. If using a baking stone place it on the middle shelf and a broiler pan or cast iron skillet on the bottom shelf.

Step 22

Slide the dough, parchment paper and all onto the stone. If not using a baking stone, simply slide the baking sheet into the oven. Pour one cup of water into the broiler pan or cast iron skillet. Lower the temperature to 450 degrees.

Step 23

Bake for 12 minutes then rotate the pan and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes. The bread is done when the crust is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped (it will soften as it cools).

Step 24

Cool for at least 45 minutes before slicing.

Tips & Variations

No special items needed.

Tags : Breads