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Ciabatta Hybrid Method (Sourdough Starter & Poolish)

Ciabatta

I have experimented a lot with ciabatta recipes and the hybrid method that I am going to tell you more about really stood out for me. Crunchy crust, soft and airy inside, just how you’d want it to be!

Ready in:
24-48 hours
Serves:
8-10 people
Yield: 
2 x 400g ciabattas
Units:
US, EU

Sourdough starter (night before)

I always feed starter with 90% all purpose flour and 10% rye. Which makes it nice and strong.

Please note, summertime ratio for overnight feeding is higher (1:10:10) compared to wintertime (1:7:7), because of the temperature difference. Depending on the strength of the starter, you can change the ratio.

Learn how to make starter from scratch here.

Poolish (night before)

  • 0.5g dry yeast
  • 100g water(20%)
  • 100g flour(20%)

Main Dough

  • 50g sourdough starter (10%)
  • 200g poolish
  • 350g  bread flour (70%)
  • 50g whole grain whole wheat flour (10%)
  • 250g water (50%)
  • – 50g extra water will be added during mixing (bassinage)(10%)
  • 10g olive oil (2%)
  • 10g salt (2%)

A detailed Ciabatta Course with videos and instructions is available here.

Directions 

Starter preparation step.

Night before:

  • 10 pm add starter to the water and whisk together, add flour, mix well, cover loosely, let sit at room temp 70-75F till next morning until it reaches the peak (10-12 hours), it should at least double (starter isn’t strong enough), or triple in size(strong starter).

Poolish preparation step.

  • 10 pm in container add yeast to water,add flour, whisk all together, cover the lid, let ferment at room temp till next morning.
Poolish

Ciabatta dough preparation steps.

Next morning:

  • 9 am mix water, all poolish and starter with flour, using spoon, cover, let rest 1 hour for autolyse (during the autolyse stage flour absorbs water, becoming fully hydrated. This activates gluten development).
  • 10 am add salt.Mix on low speed of your mixing machine for 2-3 minutes, or KitchenAid on speed 3 for 5-6 minutes until well incorporated. Add extra water little by little. The process of adding extra water is called bassinage, it helps to tighten up gluten. The dough has to come up together.
  • At the end add olive oil.  Mix until well incorporated. Total mixing time shouldn’t take longer then 10-15 minutes.
  • Oil the container with olive oil, transfer the dough into the container, close the lid. 
Ciabatta Starter
Ciabatta Dough
  • Leave to rest for 30 minutes at 74-78F /23-26C.
  • 10:30 am wet your hands and perform 1st stretch and fold.
  • 11 am 2nd stretch and fold.
  • 11:30 am 3rd stretch and fold.
  • 12 pm 4th stretch and fold.

Performing stretches and folds will help to continue gluten development.

After the final stretch let the dough rest for 15 minutes. You should see some bubbles on the surface, the dough has to become lighter. We are looking for 30%-40% rise.

Ciabatta Stretch

Ciabatta preshaping and shaping steps.

Next day:

  • Remove the dough from the fridge. 
  • Generously sprinkle with flour table and dough, turn container on the floured surface. 
  • Using the of scraper divide the dough in 2 equal parts, then fold each dough( flourless sides one to each other). Sprinkle more flour all around ciabattas.
Ciabatta Proofed Dough
  • Now transfer each shaped dough onto a proofing couche. Cover ciabattas with kitchen towel. Let them proof for 1 hour.
  • Perform poke test to check the readiness. Give the dough a gentle but assertive poke. If the dough springs back right away, let it rise for a few more minutes. If the dough springs back slowly, like it’s waking up from a long nap, and your poke leaves a small indentation, it’s ready to go.
  • During proofing time start to preheat oven 500F with baking stone inside and iron tray on the bottom rack for 1 hour.
  • When the oven is hot and ciabattas are proofed enough, flip them over on a parchment paper( bottom side should be on the top, and top part should be on the bottom.
  • Prepare 10 ice cubes.
  • Act fast, open the oven, transfer ciabattas on to the baking stone, dump the ice cubes into the tray and put it on the bottom rack, close the oven door.
  • Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Lower the temperature to 475F, open the oven door, remove the tray with excess water. Bake for 15 more minutes.
  • Let your ciabattas cool for 1 hour.

Enjoy 🙏

41 thoughts on “Ciabatta Hybrid Method (Sourdough Starter & Poolish)

  1. Bom dia
    Que delícia, parabéns.
    Vou querer fazer.
    Obrigado.

    1. Muito obrigado! Muito feliz que você gostou! Desejo-lhe sucesso.

  2. how to do because i have no baker stone ? congratulations natalya

    1. Hi!
      Thank you!
      Sorry to hear you don’t have a baking stone, but with this kind of bread you you’ll need long iron pot with lid( to keep ciabatta inside) or you can make Demi ciabattas, and bake them in the regular cast iron pot with lid.

      1. Could this be baked in a Challenger bread pan?

      2. Yes!
        That’s how I’m baking it 😊

  3. how to do because i have no baker stone ? congratulations natalya

    1. Bake Demi ciabattas in Dutch oven 😊

  4. Muito feliz querida, pois traduziu para mim. É muito mais fácil. Obrigado. Bjsss.

  5. Hi Natasha, going to try this recipe, looks like the real thing! Just want to check, the 4th stretch and fold is 12pm or 12am?

      1. Thanks

    1. Hello!
      Yes! It’s the best recipe so far!
      And yes, 12pm(afternoon) is correct 😊

  6. Thank you for this recipe. After the last stretch and fold at noon and a 15-minute rest, do you then put the dough to rest in the fridge overnight until the next morning? Please confirm.

    1. Hi!
      Yes, 15 min rest, and fridge till next morning 😊

      1. Hi, How many hours in the fridge???
        Tks

      2. It can be 24-48 hours

  7. I made this over the past couple of days. Easy to follow instructions and the ciabatta came out absolutely beautiful. Open crumb, lightweight, yum. Thank you! I already saved the recipe. Had the bread this evening as a sandwich with homemade walnut basil pesto/Rotisserie chicken/mayo, Irish Dubliner white cheddar, and cherry tomatoes from the backyard, and a Caesar salad on the side. Yum!

    1. OMG! It sounds so delicious!
      Thank you so much for sharing. I really appreciate your feedback and support 🙏

    2. Dear Natasha thanks for such a great recipe.
      If substitute 10 % of starter with poolish and use 30 % of poolish and use dry yeast instead of 10 % starter , How much dry yeast can be?
      P.S
      I used 30 % poolish and 3 grams instant dry yeast.
      Thanks for your respond.

      1. Bob,
        Hi!
        You can just drop the starter part.
        Use all poolish, and add 1-2% more of water to the main dough,
        Dough will need little longer time of warm fermentation to reach 30-40% of rise.(about 30 min-1hour)
        Other than that just follow all the directions.
        Good luck 🙏

    3. Bende çocuklarıma ve eşime böyle güzel bir sandviç hazırlıyorum enfes

  8. Hi dear, i did left the dough over night out side the fridge without adding the salt , i woke up the morning and i added the salt then the oil what should i do next ,,, thank you for the great recipes
    Shall i baked it

    Thank you so much

    1. Fadela, hi!
      I’m not sure, because you did the opposite way.
      But try to proof it, then bake 😊

  9. Hi Natasha!!
    Just wanted to thank you for your generosity in sharing all the recipes and tips!!
    You’re awesome!!

    1. Carol,
      Thank you so much for your feedback and support 🙌

  10. Hi Natasha, I have one question, after the last stretch, u mentioned let it rest of 15 mins. Do u have to put in the fridge till the next day? Or can u shape it right away and bake?

  11. Wow, I asked the same question as almost everyone 😂.
    Anyways thank you for sharing your amazing recipe.

    1. 🙏 thank you for your support 🙌

  12. Hi Natasha, if I use a Dutch oven do I still have to put ice in? I assume the ice was used to create steam?

    1. Hi!
      If you bake in a Dutch oven with lid closed, you don’t need an ice 😊

  13. Hi! Tnx for the recipe.
    If I want to use just starter and no bakers yeast, try looking for another recipe, or shuld i make a starter dough with the mother levin, instead of the poolish?

    1. Hi!
      For sourdough option.
      Use 20% of starter
      80% hydration,
      100% flour
      2% salt
      And oil

      1. Great
        Thank u a lot!

  14. Hi, I am excited to try this recipe. Can you please let me know what kind of bin you are using for the bulk rise overnight? Is it a ziplock with a lid and if so what size? Thanks so much!

    1. Hi!
      Yes, it’s just regular food container with lid.
      Size doesn’t matter.
      Use any size you feel more convenient for you.

  15. Which flour would you use for poolish?

    1. Bread flour or all purpose will work😊

  16. When your proving the bread in the couche is the seam on the bottom and does that seam stay on the bottom when you transfer it to the oven?

    1. You have to flip it before baking.
      Bottom will become a top.

      1. Ar thanks for the tip 🙂

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