World Grain - May 2018 - 32
A classic Italian Bread
Specialty bread features coarse texture, delicious taste
by Martina Mollenhauer and Michael Saathoff
iabatta is a classic Italian bread variety that has
made triumphant progress around the globe in
the past few decades. Consumers on all the continents have come to enjoy the large-pored, succulent
loaf. One of the secrets of its production is the soft,
long dough process and the use of a pre-dough.
In Italy, ciabatta is eaten in many ways. Popular
variations with the Italians are to sprinkle a slice of the
bread with good-quality olive oil, dip pieces broken off
the loaf in pasta or salad sauce, or treat themselves to
Italian housewives and cooks even know creative ways
of using up bread left over from the day before: they
toast or grill the dried slices and serve them with tomatoes, Parmesan cheese and basil as a juicy bruschetta or
Many other nations have long developed a taste for
these culinary traditions, too. That applies especially to
Europe, the United States and Australia, but ciabatta has
found its way into the standard ranges of supermarkets
in parts of Latin America, Asia and Africa as well. Fresh,
industry offers ciabatta in a multitude of different forms.
The word ciabatta means "slipper" - a reference to
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besides the skill of the baker, it takes a few extras to
transform this simple formulation into a real speciality:
namely a pre-dough, olive oil and plenty of time.
Absolutely essential is a soft, cool dough process that
allows the typical characteristics of ciabatta to develop
- the crumb must be wide-pored and woolly, the taste
savory-aromatic, the crust crisp and golden-yellow.
PRODUCING THE SPECIFIC AROMA
For the indirect process, bakeries use either a sponge
dough or wheat sourdough. Wheat sourdough consists of
acid bacteria. A yeast sponge, on the other hand, is not
intended to acidify the dough. Nevertheless, both methods
and the formation of aromatic fermentation products.
The following is a typical ciabatta recipe:
4% wheat sourdough
3% olive oil
The ideal dough yield is between 170% and 180%.
Intensive mixing is therefore essential to bind the water
and form a stable gluten network. In artisan bakeries
that work with fork mixers, the mixing time can be as
long as 40 minutes. Even with spiral kneaders, 10 to
kneaders, iced water often is used to avoid the risk of
overheating the dough.
The subsequent dough resting time is an important
quality factor, too. The process for ciabatta dough should
be long and cool, so that enough gases and aromatic substances are able to form. The exact length of the resting
time is individual, depending on the dough temperature,
May 2018 / World Grain / www.World-Grain.com