Instructions

  1. To make the biga: Stir the water, flour, and yeast together, cover, and let rest at room temperature for 12 to 16 hours.

  2. To make the dough: Add the water to the biga, mixing to incorporate the two.

  3. Combine the flour, yeast, and salt in a separate bowl, and add to the biga-water mixture. Mix on low speed of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook until the dough becomes cohesive, about 2 minutes. Increase the mixer to medium speed and knead to form an elastic, sticky dough, about 3 to 4 minutes. Resist the urge to add more flour unless the dough is truly "soupy."

  4. Cover the dough in the bowl, let it rise for 1 hour, then gently deflate it. Let it rise another hour, then turn it out onto a liberally floured work surface, and sprinkle lots of flour on top.

  5. Flatten the dough into a 7” x 14” rectangle and cut it into two pieces, each 3 ½” x 14".

  6. Lightly grease and dust with flour the wells of a ciabatta baker. Carefully transfer the loaves from the work surface to the baker. Cover with the lid, and let the loaves rise until they're very puffy, 1 ½ to 2 hours.

  7. About 30 minutes before the loaves are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 500°F with a rack in the middle.

  8. To bake the ciabatta: Place the baker on the middle rack, lower the oven temperature to 425°F, and bake the loaves for 15 minutes with the cover on, and then another 10 to 15 minutes with the cover off, until they’re golden brown.

  9. Remove the ciabattas from the baker and place them on the oven's middle rack, crack the door open about 2", and allow ciabatta to cool completely in the turned-off oven.

  10. Store ciabatta, well wrapped, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.

Tips from our Bakers