Home Bread-Bakers v104.n014.6

Ciambatta.. for Mike inHavana

Honey <deshawk@yahoo.com>
Sun, 7 Mar 2004 13:41:26 -0800 (PST)

*Note* You do not want to use bread flour for this bread*

The night before you make the bread, you must make a "poolish"....a 
fermented starter.

Combine 2 c. water with 3 cups all purpose flour and 1/4 tsp. yeast.

Mix it with your hand until it's smooth and the flour is completely 
hydrated. Cover it and let it sit on the counter overnight. The next 
morning, when you remove the lid, you should be able to smell the alcohol 
first, then it will smell slightly sweet. The mixture will be foamy and bubbly.

Dump the mixture into the big bowl of your Kitchen Aid mixer and attach the 
paddle hook. (this is a very wet dough.)

Add 3 cups all purpose flour,
2 tb. olive oil,
2 tsp. salt,
1/2 c. water.

The dough must be thoroughly mixed..

At medium low speed on the mixer for maybe 10 minutes, eventually the dough 
was very smooth and almost creamy looking. Continue to beat it until you 
could see the gluten forming; when I picked up a handful of dough from the 
center of the mixing bowl it stretched a long thick ribbon from the hand 
back into the bowl.

The dough is poured into a well-oiled container, covered, and set to 
ferment for 3 hours; it's very sticky and wet at this point.

After the 3 hour point has passed, uncover the dough every 45 minutes, oil 
your hands, and, thinking of the container of dough as a clock, scoop your 
hand under the dough at 2, 5, 7, 9, and 11 o'clock and fold that side into 
the middle of the dough.

After these 5 points have been punched and folded to the middle, then turn 
the whole mass of dough over onto it's other side, cover and allow to rise 
another 45 minutes.

The punching and folding happens three times, each time 45 minutes apart. 
The dough will thicken and become less sticky as it goes through these 
various risings.

Cover the bread board with flour; dump the dough out onto the board without 
handling it. It will plop out if the container was well-oiled.

Sprinkle the exposed top with flour generously.
Use a sharp knife to split the mass of dough in half.
Let the dough rest, uncovered, for 45 minutes.

Sprinkle 2 cookie sheets with cornmeal

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Put a cast iron skillet on the lower rack while the oven heats up. Use a 
dough scraper to loosen one end of the resting dough from the flour-covered 
board and then use the scraper to loosen the other end. Put your hands 
under the dough, close to the middle of the dough, and gently pulll and 
elongate the loaf. Transfer this loaf to the baking sheet and then turn the 
dough upside down on the sheet.

Put the loaves into the hot oven and pour 1 cup of tepid water into the hot 
iron skillet to create steam and close the door. Bake the bread about 45 

It will brown nicely, but does not get overly brown at that high 
temperature because there is no sugar in the dough, to caramelize. The 
loaves will be about 3-4 inches thick, (thinner on the ends) with a thick 
and dense and chewy crust. The inside of the bread is laced with large holes.