LET’S PREPARE THE BIGA
Do you want to know how to make ciabatta bread with a biga? Well, it’s simple, let’s prepare the legendary Giorilli Biga right away.
- Start by pouring all the water into a very large container; the pizza napoletana dough box is perfect for this.
- Dissolve the yeast in the water using a fork, and then pour all the flour into it.
- While continuing to use the fork, move the flour, trying to absorb all the water by working on the bottom and the sides of the dough box.
- Once the water has been absorbed, continue with your hands, bringing the flour from the bottom upwards until you achieve the result you see in the photo below.
- Now transfer the biga to a smaller container and let it “mature” for 18 hours at 18°C.
You’ll notice that the pre-dough has reached the right degree of fermentation when it has gained a pleasant but sharp alcoholic aroma and its volume has increased by about one and a half times.
N.B. The Biga adds tenacity to a dough only if it has not reached the right degree of fermentation, so do not use overly strong flours and try to refine your senses to interpret it at its best.
- At this point, place the entire biga into the mixer along with half of the water and the diastatic malt, and knead at medium speed until you obtain a cohesive and homogeneous dough.
- Add the salt and continue kneading at medium speed until you achieve a good level of gluten development.
- Only now can you start adding water in small amounts and increase the speed of your mixer until you get a smooth, slightly matte, and perfectly developed dough.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and let it rest on the counter while you clean all the equipment you’ve used. Give the dough a fold to make it easier to handle, and place it in a transparent container with perpendicular walls and a capacity of about 6 liters, similar to this one.
FIRST RISING (PUNTATA)
- Let the dough rise until it doubles in its initial volume; at 22°C, it should take about a couple of hours.
- Then, prepare a bed of semolina rimacinata and carefully place the risen dough on top of it.
CUTTING AND SHAPING
- Cover the large dough portion generously with semolina, tidy up the sides, and divide it into 3 portions, shaping them into dough loaves. Now, flip each dough loaf so that the cut side is facing upward.
- Then, spread the cuts to create three perfectly uniform strips, and further divide each strip into three parts, thus obtaining 9 ciabatta rolls.
This is it, it’s time to bake and see all your efforts pay off.
- Once you’ve shaped your ciabatta rolls, transfer them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Immediately bake at 250°C, placing the baking sheet on the bottom of the oven for 5-7 minutes, then move it to the middle rack for another 10 minutes or so.
- If you have a professional oven, bake for 15 minutes with the sole between 290 and 270°C at 100% power and the top between 260 and 240°C at 60%.
- Remove from the oven, let your ciabatta rolls cool on a raised grid, cut them lengthwise, and check the inside. It should be fragrant, dry, and very, very, very airy inside but without tears.
The challenges of this type of product are all in the kneading. Creating a perfectly developed dough without adding more flour to a pre-dough is not straightforward unless you have some experience. Dive in and try it without any fear, attempting to “read” the changes in the dough’s structure inside the mixer.
The successful outcome of a product like ciabatta definitely rewards the efforts made to create it. Incredibly crispy on the outside, fragrant, and incredibly light on the inside, perfect for stuffing with all sorts of sweet and savory delights.
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…And now knead, enjoy and taste!