Recipe for making ciabatta bread

   Ciabatta is an Italian white bread, the loaf is broad, flat and somewhat elongated. Great for sandwiches and perfect for making garlic bread.

  This an easy recipe for ciabatta bread, light, crusty loaves with plenty of air pockets.

First off, you'll need to make a starter;
1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1-cup water
1/8-teaspoon instant yeast

   Mix these ingredients in a small bowl until well combined. Cover and let the starter rest overnight, or up to 15 hours.

Now on to making the ciabatta bread dough;
Ingredients;ciabatta breadCredit: google images
1-teaspoon instant yeast
1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1-1/4-teaspoons salt
1-teaspoon sugar
1-tablespoon non-fat dry milk
1/4-cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil

   Step 1...Place all the dough ingredients, including the starter, in the bowl of your mixer and beat at medium speed, using the flat beater, for 7 minutes, until it is very smooth and elastic; your dough will be soft. Transfer the ciabatta bread dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover and allow to rise for 2 to 2-1/2 hours, punch down to deflate the dough one time half way through the rising time. Recover and continue with the rise.

   Step 2...Lightly grease a 18 x 13 inch baking sheet or a similar large pan. Handling the dough very gently, divide it in half. Stretch it into a log about 10 inches long and place it on the baking sheet. Flatten the log with your fingers until it is about 4 inches wide. Repeat with the remaining dough. Lightly cover the ciabatta loaves with heavily oiled plastic wrap and let it rise for 1 hour.

   Step 3...Oil your fingers, and gently poke holes all over the dough. Re-oil the plastic wrap, re-cover the dough and allow it to rise for another hour.

   Step 4...After the ciabatta dough has gone through its last rise, uncover and spray a mist of lukewarm water on the loaves. Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until they are golden brown.Turn off your oven, remove the ciabatta loaves from the baking sheet and return them to the oven, just put them on the rack. Prop the oven door open a couple of inches and let the bread cool completely, this will give your ciabatta bread a nice crisp crust.

You may also make ciabatta bread dough in a bread machine programmed for the dough cycle. When the cycle ends punch down to deflate the dough, and let it stay in the machine for 1-1/2 hours. Then go to step 2.