If your principal acquaintance with the miracle of ciabatta is via what grocery stores think it should be, you are in for a wonderful surprise.  I refer to ciabatta as miraculous, but, well, it is.   You’d never believe the mixing instructions if you didn’t see the dough for yourself.  And the dough is like juggling water balloons.  It’s almost inconceivable that it would yield an airy-yet-resilient bread with a crust that is at once tender yet chewy.  I love, I absolutely love, love, love teaching people how to make this bread at home.  You’ll never again cast a glance at the grocery story variety.

You, too, can do this

First, we need to make a poolish.  A poolish is a preferment that contains a minuscule amount of yeast in a wet mixture with just enough flour to hold it together and grant the yeast some food.  Make it this afternoon or evening, and let sit, covered, at room temperature overnight.  Tomorrow we’ll turn it into a dough that will give you a perfect bread just in time for dinner.


2 cups unbleached bread flour (read more about bread flour here)

16 ounces water, 80 degrees

1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast (or 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast)

  1. Measure the flour into a mixing bowl large enough to allow for some rising (proofing).  Add the yeast and water.  Stir to blend with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.  The mixture will look lumpy and shaggy; that’s fine.
  2. Cover tightly with plastic and let proof at room temperature overnight.

Your poolish will look like this by morning

About thesolitarycook

I'm a chef, a cook, a teacher, a reader, a writer, a bike-rider, a dog- and cat-woman
This entry was posted in Breads & Pizzas, RECIPES and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to CIABATTA

  1. I was hoping you would post the ciabatta recipe. I cannot make the poolish until tomorrow evening, I have to work all day tomorrow so I won’t be baking. Question: If I make the poolish tonight can it sit all day tomorrow on the counter or is it better to do it tomorrow night?

  2. Bevi says:

    I basically have the same question, so I am making the poolish tomorrow afternoon and continuing Wed. Am?

  3. I am doing the same thing, my house was infested with ants, I had to tear the whole place apart and had an exterminator in today. I will not be able to cook until Wednesday, poolish tomorrow night baking on wed.

  4. Bevi says:

    Poolish made!!!

  5. Bevi says:

    It is delicious! And, I went to the local bakery, where I saw ciabatta that looked just line mine!

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