Time from start to warm bread:  20 hours

Type:  Yeasted

Bake:  20-25 minutes at 500

Ingredient                     1 loaf               2 loaves           3 loaves

Bread Flour                  560g               1120g             1680g

Water                           450g               900g               1350g

Yeast                            1/4t                 1/2t                 3/4t

Salt                              1 1/2t              1T                    1T + 1 1/2t

Olive Oil                    50g                   100g              150g

(substitute olive oil for water so total liquid equals 450g per loaf)

Why is it undead ciabatta?  Because it’s dead simple and delivers killer taste.  Hey-o, I should be a writer for R.L. Stine books!  Don’t be fooled by the overall time for this bread.  Your actual hands-on time might be as little as 15 minutes.

First, mix up all the ingredients in a very large bowl.  You’ll want to give this dough a little room to grow and bubble.  Now cover the bowl and leave it out on the counter, preferably not near a cold draft, open flame, or recently-disturbed grave.

Now leave it alone for 18-20 hours.  For you math geniuses out there, this means you can make it before you go to bed at 10pm and have it ready to turn out at bake by 6pm when you get home from work.  Or if you work the graveyard shift, make it at 4 am and be ready to bake by 10 pm.

So, you’ve had a busy day of fighting vampires, battling zombie hordes, and slaying demons.  Not up for spending a lot of time in the kitchen?  Good, now comes the easy part.  After it’s resting/spawning period, your batter will have come to life!  Spooky!

One hour before baking time, preheat your oven to 500 degrees.  When the oven is devilishly hot,  fold the batter over onto itself five or six times and see the gluten form itself into strong strands.  Now you can pour the batter out directly onto parchment paper and spread it into a rough rectangle shape with wet hands.  Go triple lock your doors, because the smell of baking ciabatta is about to draw the moaning undead hordes to your house.  Slide the ciabatta, paper and all, onto your baking stone.  I’d recommend rotating once halfway through the bake and let it get to an internal temperature of 205-210 degrees.

Now start up that chainsaw and start swinging your baseball bat.  You’ll need to fight off several waves of succubi, zombies, and werewolves who want to eat the ciabatta while it’s still warm.  Let it cool down so the crumb structure can finish forming.  Ready, steady, rip into it!

Footnote:  If you want to use natural levain, skip the yeast and use a dollop of active sourdough starter.  A dollop is…let’s say one tablespoon per loaf.  Then follow the recipe as indicated.

Footnote 2:  If you want a softer ciabatta, use the olive oil.  If you want to rip it apart like a zombie tearing leg meat from a femur, don’t use the olive oil.  Regardless, keep the liquid measure the same.

  1. Ash said:

    I’ve got a brick oven and love simple recipes. Gonna give this a try but with sourdough cultures I have always at hand and report back in a few days after the next Bake Day.

    Thanks for the idea.

    I do something similar already but with fresh-ground wholewheat and only 75% hydration- simply let it ferment for about 25 hours, then pour into a pan loaf with or without proofing (makes little difference with this flour since it doesn’t develop big holes, stringy gluten structure etc. because flour is so dense compared to usual milled flours). I bake at around 700f with these loaves and they come out great with nice crumb structure, holes, everything. Don’t need white breads with dark ones as soft and chewy as these.

    The reason I stay away from hydration much over 70% is the handling issues, but if you go over the top hydration-wise like this and can simply pour it in, why not? Anyway, look forward to trying.

  2. Ash said:

    Well, I tried it but part of a Bake Day with many other batches and timing-wise it was way over-fermented. What I got – in an 800F oven which was clearly too hot – was very burned flatbread after about 10 mins. If I had checked 5 mins earlier it might have been fine. But basically once a sourdough dough has over fermented, there is enzymatic break-down of the dough structure and really nothing can be done. I poured some into bread pans and did get lots of bubbles, but the rest of the crumb was like yours: overly compacted, aka a brick aka no real crumb structure, just large steam bubbles which is not the same thing.

    I put the burnt thin stuff on my Farmer’s Market table as ” Sicilian Bandit Flatbread ” (yes, I did explain this was a joke) and it sold fast mainly because it was cheap. Actually the taste was fine, although not all that interesting since I used a white starter instead of my usual rye starter. I’ll try again with lower hydration (the norm when working with sourdoughs versus single-strain commercial yeast leaveners), more like 75%, shorten the fermentation time or lower the temp more, and a rye starter, and at some point I’ll get it right.

    My emphasis is on whole grain flours right now otherwise I could zero in on this more.

    Anyway, it was fun. Thanks for giving me the idea.

    • I used to keep my sourdough starter at 100% hydration, and I think if you used a good proportion of that in a no-knead mix with a final hydration of 89% and let it ferment at room temperature for 18 hours with no mixing or kneading beforehand, you might end up with a pretty good structure. Now you have ME thinking!

  3. Ash said:

    Now I look more closely at your pic, your structure was better outside the bubbles whereas mine was really dense. So I take back my comments about yours!

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