This ciabatta recipe is featured as the technical challenge in the "Bread" episode of The Great British Baking Show.
- 500g (1 lb, 2oz) strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 10g (⅓ oz) salt
- 10g (⅓ oz) instant yeast
- fine semolina, for dusting
- Put the flour, salt and yeast with 330ml (11 fl oz) cold water into a freestanding mixer fitted with a dough hook (don’t put the salt directly on top of the yeast). Begin mixing on a slow speed.
- As the dough starts to come together, with the motor running, slowly add another 110ml (3⅓ fl oz) of cold water, drip by drip. Mix for a further 5-8 minutes on a medium speed until the dough is smooth and stretchy.
- Lightly oil a 3 litre (5 ¼ pint) square plastic container with a lid. (It’s important to use a square tub as it helps shape the dough).
- Tip the dough into the oiled container and seal with the lid. Leave for 1½ to 1¾ hours at room temperature, or until at least doubled, even trebled in size (it's important the dough proves slowly, otherwise it will collapse and your loaves will be flat).
- Dust two large baking trays with flour and semolina.
- Dust your work surface heavily with flour and semolina and carefully tip out the dough (it will be very wet) - trying to retain a rough square shape.
- Rather than knocking it back, handle it gently so you can keep as much air in the dough as possible. Coat the top of the dough with more flour and/or semolina.
- Cut the dough lengthways, dividing into four equally-sized loaves. Stretch each piece of dough lengthways a little and place on the prepared baking trays. Leave the ciabatta to rest for a further 30-45 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 8 (200C fan) and bake for 25 minutes, or until the loaves are golden-brown and sound hollow when tapped on the base. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack before serving.