The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, Ciabatta


I’ve baked this heavenly item before and knew what to expect from the dough, but this go-round I tried my hand at an overnight poolish created with some natural leavening.  My sour dough starter came to life in October of 2007, (I aptly named her, Alpha-Omega)  It sits/sat in my fridge through the latest round of storm power outages and lucky  for me, she still knows how to create magic.  I would have loved to have continued on through the recipe process using her for round two of the dough making, but company was arriving and the bread was part of a plan for sandwich making.

My couche fell victim to a spilt water glass.   It’s soggy and very limp frame was cast toward the laundry room.  Yes, I am guilty of washing my prize, but this actually was the second time for it to whirl in the washing machine.  It’s very first, egg-bread-dough-rising, yielded a spin, too.  It shrank to about 2/3’s of its original size.  I can happily report that it is now down to about half its original mass (sniff, sniff, sniff).   Third times gonna be a charm!


These loaves were not baked according to the steam process that Peter Reinhart encourages, but I did mist them per his instruction.  They still arrived hot off the stone with a tender, and very soft crusting.  I got a little heavy-handed in my transfer and in my flour dusting…I also forgot to use my semolina stash, but these loaves were tasty, chewy, and an absolute delight.


 The crumb fails my air-pocket test, but I’m pretty sure the chanting of the masses to, “Hurry!  I’m hungry!” had much to do with the de-flate. 

Our second day of munching brought the toasting of slices served up with a slathering of  blueberry and cherry jam. It’s a tough call as to whether the prior days sandwich, or this, was the prize winner.   I’m eager to make a fully soured Ciabatta.  The hint of tang in these loaves is promise yet of another adventure.  Many thanks to the  talents of Peter Reinhart, , his,  The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, stands far and above all other baking books within my kitchen.  One of these days I’m going to venture out and try another offering, but until then, this is my reference for all things, yeasted.

Kudos to Nicole for this lovely challenge,


Happy bakes 2 all of U!


~ by coffeegrounded on July 5, 2009.

11 Responses to “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, Ciabatta”

  1. I am just beginning a sour dough starter, I hope I am as successful as you.


    • Allison, thanks for visiting and dropping me a note.

      Best wishes to you on your sour dough adventures. I hope you find it as rewarding as I do; it is beset with challenges, but the victories are splendid, to say the least.

      I love how sourdough allows us to be creative. I never really see any failures, but choose to see the less than stellar results as part of my learning curve.


  2. shelly, u b so kind…ty! Yes, Ciabatta is a keeper, especially for the summer sandwich. Heck, what am I saying? Ciabatta is good no matter what time of year it is. ;)


  3. Your ciabatta looks mouth-watering! I made these last summer and they were a huge hit – I need to make them again I think!


  4. Hi Cindy; thanks for sharing your own personal trials of a washed couche. For what we paid for them we should at least enjoy a chuckle even if it is at our own expense. ;)

    Happy bakes to you!


  5. Beautiful looking ciabatta. I bet the sourdough added an amazing flavor dimension.
    I also put my brand new couche in the washing machine. It had oil and all kinds of gunk on it. It came out totally shrunken and shredded. I did not know you aren’t supposed to wash them. How are you supposed to clean it? I’m going plain white dishcloth from now on. At least you can wash it.


  6. Jenn, I’ll bet you enjoyed this bake. Thanks for dropping by to view the blog. :)

    Susie, you are miles ahead of me. Again, you are too kind. Happy bakes 2 U 2. :)

    Nicole, WOW! I was surprised to see that my blog was mentioned. Muchas gracias! :)

    Tiger, you’ll never regret buying that couche. I promise! Hey, dish towels are my go-to item in the kitchen. No potholder? No problem…dishtowel! No dishrag? X-LG wipe! Flour dust everywhere? … Super-duper dust cloth. :)
    Now, one other secret…PARCHMENT! Ooh, la, la…I CANNOT live without it.


  7. I’m so impressed…congrats! You’ve inspired me to buy an actual couche cloth. I used my dish towel for my failed ciabatta attempt, which I’m sure did not help things…


  8. […] (with wild yeast poolish) from Coffeegrounded’s Blog  Print This Post  • Subscribe •  E-mail this Leave […]


  9. WOW, awesome. So very tasty looking.
    Love the photos,


  10. I am working on my Ciabatta today. I am grateful to read everyone’s else’s experiences. I am looking forward to baking. Thanks for sharing….happy baking!


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