I've never eaten nor baked this type of bread before, but I thought it would be fun to give it a try. Ciabatta is an Italian bread. I think it is pronounced, Chee-bot-ta or Chuh-bot-ta.
The starter, or sponge, for this bread must be made at least 12 hours, but no more than 24 hours in advance. So I made the sponge last night and then mixed up the dough in the later morning today.
Step 1: Making the starter, or sponge. In a small bowl mix together 1/8 teaspoon dry active yeast and 2 Tablespoons warm (110 F.) water. Stir, then let mixture sit for 5 minutes. The mixture should be creamy looking, the yeast will have dissolved, but it won't be bubbly. Add 1 cup of flour and 1/3 cup warm water to this mixture. Stir for 4 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap. Let the mixture sit on the counter for at least 12 hours, but no longer than 24 hours.
Step 2: In a small bowl heat 2 Tablespoons milk to 110 F. Mix 1/2 teaspoon yeast into the milk. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes.
In a stand mixer ( I used our Bosch mixer) mix together sponge (starter), the milk/yeast mixture, 2 cups flour Tablespoon olive oil, and 2/3 cup warm water. Mix just until flour is mixed in. Add 1-1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix for 8 minutes.
Step 3: Transfer dough to an oiled, glass measuring bowl. (To oil it rub the bottom and sides with olive oil, this helps the dough come out later) Set dough in a warm place, cover with a towel. Wait 1-1/2 to 2 hours, until dough has doubled.
(I guess it was too cold in my kitchen so my dough wasn't rising. I turned the oven on to a low temp. then put the dough on top of the stove. I let it rise just a little too long so it was a little more than doubled, but I think thats fine.)
Step 4: Divide dough in half, place each half on a piece of parchment paper that is about 12" by 6". (We didn't have any parchment paper, so I tried putting one loaf on foil, and the other on a greased baking sheet. The one on the baking sheet didn't slide onto the hot pan very well. :( Kinda crumpled up.)
Step 5: Let the loaves rise until doubled, or about an hour. Place baking stone in oven, and preheat to 425 F. (We don't have a baking stone so I used a large flat cast iron pan.) The stone (or pan) should be hot when the dough is placed on it. Slide the dough carefully onto the stone (or pan). Bake for about 20 minutes until nicely browned. Cool slightly before cutting.
1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 Tablespoons warm water (110 F.)
1/3 cup warm water (110 F.)
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 Tablespoons warm milk (110 F.)
2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1-1/2 teaspoons salt