Sometime in the distant past I proclaimed I’d finally mastered the no-knead ciabatta recipe. Wrong! Whatever my stupid self in the past thought, I didn’t have it down. Each loaf of ciabatta came out like pita bread, with the air pockets joining together to form one massive bubble just under the top crust. My earlier suspicions focused on:
- Poor gluten development unable to keep the bubbles separate
- Too much water, making it too easy for the bubbles to move and join in the batter once it started baking
- Improper handling and dimpling of the dough before baking, leaving large bubbles un-popped
After yet another batch of ciabatta pita last week I decided I’d declared “Mission Accomplished” too soon and went back to the recipe. This week I put in less water, mixed a bit more before pouring out onto the parchment paper, was more aggressive dimpling the dough and getting rid of large bubbles, and baked hotter, at 525 degrees. Result? Better. There were still some large bubbles but I think they were dispersed more. I’ve updated the recipe as a stopgap, but I think it’s still not there yet. In a way, I’m glad this bread needs improvement. I like a challenge.