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First try at ciabatta - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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First try at ciabatta

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  • First try at ciabatta

    I made my first batch of ciabatta today and everything went fine....mixing, rising...end result...but, how do you get the ciabatta from the cookie sheet to the peel and keep it in a shape that resembles ciabatta?

  • #2
    Re: First try at ciabatta

    Lots of flour undernearth.

    What if you shape it on a solid surface, and slide your metal peel undernearth it?
    Pizza Ovens
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    • #3
      Re: First try at ciabatta

      PM, James,

      The dreaded transfer can create real problems. I do the final rise for ciabatta in a cloth couche, well floured. When they're ready, I assist the transfer with a long, flexible, narrow, floured spatula, sometimes called an icing spatula. Slide it under one end, gently pick up the other with floured fingers. Works, but you gotta be quick. You'll always get some stretching, but deflation is what you want to avoid. Same technique works with high hydration baguette, like Ancienne.

      "Made are tools, and born are hands"--William Blake, 1757-1827


      • #4
        Re: First try at ciabatta

        When we have done ciabatta we transferred the bread directly from a basket with a floured cloth to the floor of the oven. Did not attempt peel loading. It worked very well but it meant I had to reach into the hot oven to quickly dump the loaf. Once the bottom set I was able to move them and load more. That might be an option. You also have to be quick though!
        "Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity. " Charles Mingus
        "Build at least two brick ovens...one to make all the mistakes on and the other to be just like you dreamed of!" Dutch


        • #5
          Re: First try at ciabatta

          I noticed in the ciabatta shaping video that the shaped ciabatta was put on the prepared tray with the seam side up - dimpled side down. Is is baked seam side up as well? When I've proofed baguettes in a couche, I have placed them seam-side up, but flipped them to seam-side down onto a flipping board to transfer them to a peel. They were proofed seam-side up - but baked seam-side down. Another question is why is the dough dimpled in the shaping?


          • #6
            Re: First try at ciabatta

            Proofing ciabatta seam up is OK with me Ron. I think it is more a matter of personal preference. As far as I know the dimpling is done to help the ciabatta gain its characteristic large and irregular crumb structure as you are somewhat encouraging it to do so in the areas your fingers poke.
            Hope this helps! Maybe CanuckJim will help with some suggestions!
            "Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity. " Charles Mingus
            "Build at least two brick ovens...one to make all the mistakes on and the other to be just like you dreamed of!" Dutch


            • #7
              Re: First try at ciabatta

              Ahhh the Ciabatta favorite to eat pain to bake. (at first)

              The doughs I used to make were all high hydration, very wet. Using the baskets covered with cloth as Jim stated in my opinion is the only way to transfer these types of dough to the peal. I used a combination of fine cornmeal and flour sprinkled on the peal before loading. I used this for all my hearth loaves it gives excellent protection against sticking to the peel. Nothing is more frustrating at first than having the masterpiece you have spent so much time on sticking to the peal when you pull it back
              With the cornmeal mixture the dough just slides off like the loaf is on a bed of mini ball bearings. It also seems to give some protection for an over hot hearth. But don't push your luck..as I have many times
              The cloth I found to be the best substitute for flax is a canvas "ducking" washed a few times to soften it up a bit. I got this at Wall-mart for I think like 3 or 5.00yd, once you wash them and use them DO NOT wash them again. They become seasoned and only get better.

              After transferring the loaf if you grab the 2 ends pull a bit THEN dimple you will get the classic "slipper" shape. Or if it sticks to the peel you will get the classic baguette with elephantiasis shape.

              I always proof seam side up in baskets and bake seam side down, if you bake seam side up you get a funky line where the seam was and the shape is not right. This is not so much a problem with Ciabatta or other wet doughs because in my experience after shaping it they recover quickly and the seam "seams" to disappear. But for proper oven spring and shape most breads should be baked seam side down. Keep in mind when you are "shaping" a loaf you are creating a pattern in the gluten strands and as it bakes it follows this pattern.