Jason's Cocodrillo (Crocodile) Ciabatta

Description

This recipe is credited to Jason Molina, aka "The King of Gloop" at The Fresh Loaf (www.thefreshloaf.com) and is a quick and easy method for making extraordinary Ciabatta bread. NOTE: This is a very wet dough with a very high hydration - use wet dough scrapers to handle the "gloopy" dough. If you don't have a scale to measure your flour, it's highly recommended that you purchase one - I bought mine at King Arthur and LOVE IT! This dough will not work in a bread machine, but it is designed perfectly for a stand mixer with both a paddle and dough hook attachments. The trick is to beat the dough on very high speed until it fully lifts from the bottom and begins to climb the beater. For a great video demonstration of this bread baking technique, visit Jen Menke's video at YouTube - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v24OBsYsR-A

Ingredients

500g bread flour
475g - 485g (~2 cups) water
2 tsp. INSTANT yeast
15g salt

Instructions

In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment(like a Kitchen Aid), combine all ingredients together and roughly mix for 2-3 minutes until the dough is barely combined. Stop the mixer and let this rest for about 10 minutes. Mixture will be lumpy.

Continue with the paddle and begin mixing the dough on the highest speed of your mixer. The dough will start out a shaggy, wet mass. After about 10 minutes or so the dough will begin to transform and will eventually start to pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl. As the gluten forms and the strands develop, you can even hear your dough slapping the side of the bowl. Continue mixing at high speed until the dough begins to climb up the paddle. This first mix with the paddle usually takes about 15 minutes.

Stop the mixer and insert the dough hook. Continue mixing on the highest speed of the mixer. After several minutes, the dough should not only pull away from the sides of the bowl, but actually lift off the bottom of the bowl. Make sure at this stage, you are watching your dough carefully. Your mixer can really bounce around and if you take your eyes away for a moment, it could be a disaster! This final mixing stage will take about an addition 15 minutes. You know the dough is just right and has mixed enough when it has lifted cleanly off the bottom of the bowl and begins to creep up the dough hook.

Stop the mixer and wet your fingers. Remove the wet dough from the hook. The dough will be very "gloppy" and wet. Pour the wet dough into a well oiled container for rising. Cover lightly and allow the dough to triple in size - about 2 to 2.5 hours. IMPORTANT!! The dough MUST TRIPLE!

When the dough has tripled, flour the surface of your counter generously and pour the contents of the dough onto the surface. Use a wet spatula to get the last bit if needed. Your dough will be beautiful and silky.

Next, using a wet dough scraper, cut and separate the dough into three fairly equal pieces. It helps to have a wet dough scraper. It is even easier to use two scrapers if you have them!

Form each loaf into a rough oval shape. Ciabatta is Italian for "slipper", so think slipper when shaping. Sprinkle the tops with flour and with your floured fingers, gently poke the dough quickly to release any large air bubbles.

Using a large piece of plastic (I use a clean plastic garbage bag - my friend, Jen Menke uses a huge plastic GAP shopping bag!), cover the dough lightly to rise a second time in a non-drafty environment. Don't worry if it doesn't look like it's rising too high.. you get a nice oven spring with this bread! Total rising time is about 45 minutes.

While your dough rises, preheat your oven to 500 degrees farenheit and raise your oven rack to the middle of the oven. A good, hot oven will be the key to great looking loaves. Add a small old cake pan to the floor of your oven to hold ice cubes or water during the baking process. Don't add ice or water until the bread is ready to bake. Let your oven heat throughout the second rising period. This bread bakes best on a pizza stone, but it will also bake on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Just before baking, gently remove the plastic from the loaves. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. I bake my loaves on a stone in my oven, so I like to turn my baking sheets upside down and line them with the parchment. That way, I can slide the parchment off of the sheet directly onto the baking stone in my oven.

Lightly dust your parchment paper with flour and using two dough scrapers moistened with water, scoop the long ends of each loaf together and flip them onto the parchment, upside down. Do this quickly. The recipe author, Jason Molina claims that this redistributes the holes in the bread for more even "holing". It looks like you've ruined your loaves by pinching them together and plopping them over, but you haven't. Use your dough scrapers to re-shape the loaves into rough ovals. Again, dough scrapers wet with water helps prevent sticking.

Since I make this bread into three loaves, I bake two loaves on one piece of parchment and the third on the second piece of parchment. I bake in two batches.. the final loaf just rests uncovered while the first two bake. (You can also make 2 larger loaves if you want)

Once you have all your loaves flipped over, give them a light dusting of flour just before putting them in the oven.

In the tin pan on the floor of your hot oven, throw a cup of ice cubes into the tin or a cup of cold water. Let it steam for about 30 seconds, then slide your loaves into the oven, directly on your stone if using or bake directly on the cookie sheets lined with parchment.

Total baking time is about 18-20 minutes. Halfway through the bake, rotate your loaves to ensure even browning. When done, remove to a wire rack to cool. Enjoy!

(NOTE: For additional flavor, you can ferment your dough overnight in the refrigerator after the initial mix and before the first rise. For best flavor, use only unbleached bread flour like King Arthur - the taste difference is amazing!)

WHERE YOU MAY GET FRUSTRATED:
1. If you try and handle the dough with your hands. I never use my hands at any point in baking this bread. I use dough scrapers spritzed with water.
2. Flipping the loaves before final baking. Use TWO DOUGH SCRAPERS for this.. trust me, you'll be glad you did!
3. Buy a scale. King Arthur sells a really good one. Once you have a scale and get into the habit of weighing ingredients, you've taken your bread baking to another level.

GOOD LUCK!

comments

Submitted by KAF_Keri on Tue, 2011-01-04 14:06.

Belles,

Thank you so much for posting your recipe here! I saw it your Facebook post and can't wait to try it.

Keri @ KAF

Submitted by pjh on Thu, 2011-01-06 08:57.

Ditto Keri's comment - what fun!! I've worked with gloppy doughs before, but have never let them go 30 minutes at high speed in a mixer... wow. Look forward to trying this.

Submitted by bellesaz on Thu, 2011-01-06 12:56.

Definitely the key to this is speed and duration. It took me the first couple of times before I finally relaxed and trusted the recipe creator.. and it turns out beautifully every time. The best video I've ever seen is by Jen Menke who makes this step by step and you really understand the process.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v24OBsYsR-A

The above link is to her video. If nothing else, you get to smile at her Minnesota accent and see a cute doggie.

Submitted by Naturalhorsegirl on Sun, 2011-01-09 13:09.

Just a word of caution. My Kitchenaid mixer can only work dough at speed 2. I burned up my motor making Ciabatta and mixing at the high speed. They were wonderful and sent me another mixer for free since I was still under warranty but warned me never to do it again. I really want to make Ciabatta again but it doesn't come out as nice mixing at the low speed. I have the 575 watt professional model ... do other mixers handle dough at high speed?

Submitted by bellesaz on Tue, 2011-01-18 01:09.

I have been making this for a couple years in my mixer.. high speed. I've never had an issue. I have tried using my Electrolux Magic Mill at the highest speed and for whatever reason, it never comes out quite as perfectly. I have the KA Pro 600 - I don't think the wattage matters. There have been other users who work this dough by hand using a wire whip.. that seems like alot of work to me, but they claim it comes out OK. I'd say try it in a different mixer - if it doesn't come out exactly right, it still tastes good!

Submitted by Naturalhorsegirl on Sun, 2011-01-09 13:12.

Forgot to mention that the bread looks wonderful! I sure would like to try it again ... hope someone has an answer for me!

Submitted by wingboy on Mon, 2011-01-10 01:39.

I don't understand how it works. But it does. Wonderfully. Thanks!

Submitted by milkwithknives on Mon, 2011-01-10 13:01.

Oh, holy crap you can STORE things in those holes! Has anyone tried mixing this in a Bosch machine? And has anyone tried swapping in some whole wheat flour? Off to watch the Youtube video.

Submitted by bellesaz on Tue, 2011-01-18 01:11.

I don't know about the whole wheat, but you definitely need to adjust the hydration level which will change when using whole wheat. You should have a 95% hydration on this dough. You can also use semolina flour, which many people use for the flavor. It calls for 350 grams of bread flour and 150 grams of semolina flour.. the same on all the other ingredients.

Submitted by bellesaz on Tue, 2011-01-18 16:57.

@milkwithknives.. I don't know about Bosch, but I've made it a few times in my Electrolux Magic Mill and for whatever reason it doesn't get the same effect. Let me know though!

Submitted by milkwithknives on Fri, 2011-01-21 01:46.

Holy god, this really WORKS! I didn't make ciabatta, so I still have to try this the real way, but I was making focaccia for some panini sandwiches and somehow managed to get the dough way too wet. So I thought, here we go, and I turned my Bosch up and beat the daylights out of it for half an hour. Even with half whole wheat flour and flattening it on a baking sheet, it has big, giant holes in it! Woohoo! I'm so freaking excited to try making the ciabatta recipe! I have NEVER gotten big holes like that in any bread I have made. Fingers crossed that this wasn't some weird fluke....

Submitted by bellesaz on Wed, 2011-02-16 14:19.

I got the biggest kick out of reading your reply. Don't you just love what this bread does?? I have adjusted it a bit for my Magic Mill DLX and am now able to get fairly consistent results too. Much better because both the Bosch AND the Magic Mill are superior for bread mixing as compared to the KitchenAid... sorry fans of KA - I wouldn't trade mine for the world, but I love my Magic Mill!

So how did you put it all together? I'd love to know what you did. Have a friend with a Bosch and she'd like to try it, but is not sure if it would work.

Submitted by tikidoc on Fri, 2011-08-19 10:49.

My KA Pro 600 (aka Whirlpool piece of junk) is on it's last legs (at the ripe old age of 2) and objects strenuously to anything resembling bread dough, so I have a Magic Mill on order. What exactly did you adjust to get this recipe working well with the DLX?

Jess