Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ciabatta Believe It! Roasted Garlic and Herb Ciabatta

Are there terrible puns I am unwilling to make? No. Especially if they are based on food. I will apologize for them though, so, I’m sorry. Kind of.

Now that apologies are out of the way, I will put the most awesome foreword I could ever put on this blog (for now.) This bread is Michael Ruhlman approved! He retweeted the picture I put on twitter, saying “nice crumb!” Super awesome feeling to have someone I respect that much compliment something I did learning from his book!

So with that in mind, I promised I would post about the ciabatta bread in my last post, and so here we go.

I opted to take some of his suggestions for making a roasted garlic and rosemary bread to heart, and substituted dried oregano for fresh rosemary.


As always, the use of Michael’s guidelines in Ratio greatly demystified the process of baking.

Flour and water in a 5:3 ratio, with some salt and yeast. A teaspoon of salt for every ten ounces of flour. The yeast seems to be a bit more of an art form than a hard and fast rule, and in this case one teaspoon was used.


So, thanks to the digital scale, everything is pretty easy thanks to the tare function. Basic addition skills not required!

First, twenty ounces of flour.


Then 12 ounces of water. Ok, I messed up a tiny bit. 12.05 in this case.


Then add two teaspoons of salt. Or this amount times four.


And toss in the yeast.


I probably should have got to the garlic first actually, but in true honest form, I have to admit I started working on the garlic later. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.


Then wrap up your head of garlic securely in foil, and douse with a tablespoon of olive oil.


Just in case double wrapping isn’t a bad idea. Turned out to be a good idea in my case.


Roast it for 20 minutes in the preheated oven.


Slice the head in two.


Then squeeze out the cloves and optionally give them a rough chop. Set aside while prepping the dough.


Kneading is accomplished quickly by using both the paddle and then the dough hook attachment, setting 2 as always for kneading dough.


I think next time I’ll see if just using the dough hook would work, but the paddle definitely pulls things together quickly.


A garlic and tablespoon of dried oregano are tossed in once the dough is massed together.


And the paddle replaced by the dough hook.


Mix at speed 2 for ten minutes.


And then you’ll have some lovely dough.


It is ready when you can take a small piece of dough and pull it to the point of translucency without it tearing. Sorry, it looks prettier between two hands. I wish I had three hands. So I could take a photo of it.


Add it back of course, you don’t want to waste delicious potential bread. Cover and let rise until twice the size.


Looks good to me.


When a poke with your finger leaves an indentation it has rested long enough.


Dump onto a floured surface and knead it for a bit.


Cover and let rest for 10-15 minutes.


As I was making a ciabatta, the recommendation is to pull it apart into about an inch thickness. I’d actually recommend greasing the pan or adding a lot more flour, as I had a bit of  sticking issue later.


Cover again and let rest for an hour. Halfway through resting, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F so that it has preheated for at least 45 minutes.


Ok, now it is ready to go into the oven.


Prod the dough all over with your fingers (stippling as Michael Ruhlman calls it).


Then brush with olive oil. Bake at 450 for ten minutes, then lower the heat to 375, and continue to bake for 30 minutes.


And there you have it, ciabatta!


It goes great with soup, including my ItaLatino Stew.


Here’s a shot of the crumb for those of you who love close ups. It looks very fine indeed!


Recipe for Roasted Garlic and Herb Ciabatta Bread, recipe adapted from Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking:

  • 20 oz. bread flour
  • 12 oz. water
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 teaspoon active dry or instant yeast
  • Roasted garlic (see following recipe)
  • olive oil for brushing
  • tablespoon to a tablespoon and a half of chopped or dried herbs

Special equipment, kitchen scale.

  1. In a mixing bowl on your scale, weigh out bread flour, then zero the scale.
  2. Weigh out water, zero the scale.
  3. Add salt and yeast, swirling the yeast into the dough to allow it to activate.
  4. Once yeast is foamy, knead dough with a dough hook or by hand. Optionally, start dough kneading process with paddle attachment.
  5. Midway through kneading, add herbs and garlic.
  6. Finish kneading until dough is smooth, about an additional ten minutes of time. Use windowpane test.
  7. Cover mixing bowl with plastic and allow dough to rise until double volume. Dough is ready for next step when a finger poke does not spring back.
  8. Remove dough from mixing bowl and knead on a floured surface for a few minutes. Cover and let rest 10-15 minutes.
  9. Shape into ciabatta, about a foot long and an inch thick.
  10. Cover and let it rise (proof) for an hour.
  11. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F so it has preheated at least 45 minutes before baking.
  12. Stipple dough with fingers and brush with oil.
  13. Bake at 450 degrees F for ten minutes before lowering temperature to 375, continuing to bake for 30 more minutes.

Roasted Garlic (Can be done in advance of making bread)

  • 1 head of garlic
  • tablespoon of olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Roast garlic by wrapping in foil, dousing with a tablespoon of olive oil, and putting it into the oven for 20 minutes. 
  3. Remove garlic from oven, allow to cool, then slice head in half and squeeze out the cloves.
  4. Chop roughly if desired.


  1. You have a typo when you show adding salt "Then add two teaspoons of flour. Or this amount times four."