How to start talking about all these breads? Am I preparing for the opening of my Italian bakery in Stockholm? Well, unfortunately, not. Still no big project like this on the way. But I did have a lot of ripe starter and I decided to use it all. Actually I liked this solution so much that it is becoming my standard way of baking. Time costraints dictated by a life divided between a family and a job make us squeeze passions in between chores. So when I happen to have some bubbly starter ready to go, better to do the best out of it right away, because I don’t know if I will be able to bake again some time soon.
This dough was made with a 25% of organic sprouted whole spelt and quite a good percentage of sourdough, what I consider a healthy bread. You can of course use regular whole wheat or going 100% white flour, the result would be just as beautiful. The main idea behind this method is to leave your dough in a bowl or container (bulk fermentation) for quite a long while after kneading and then quickly form and bake pieces of dough in a very hot oven. Some of them can be filled, some may be not.
For the filling I used baby sweet peppers and taleggio or green olives and taleggio, always sealing the “package” with a stick of gruyere. I admit I spent a whole, long, half hour thinking about a tasty way to seal the filling of these ciabattas and, well, I am pleased about this invention, so pleased I may have to ask for a patent (wish I could!!). This said, I still had enough dough to make some plain ciabattas, some twisted ciabattas, and why not, a twisted baguette. There is no end to the shapes that bread can (quite effortless I tell you) take. Just try it.
ASSORTED SOURDOUGH CIABATTAS
500 g mature white wheat starter
850 g water
300 g whole-grain spelt
500 g high protein wheat flour
400 g stone-ground medium-strong wheat flour
4 teaspoon salt
200 g taleggio
200 g gruyere
a few handfuls green olives
a few baby sweet peppers
1. Combine the starter with the water. Add the flours and work for 8-10 minutes.
2. Let rest the dough, covered, for about 1 h.
3. Add the salt and work the dough for a further 8-10 minutes.
4. Let rest in a large bowl or air-tight container for 3 hours, folding every 1 h for the first 2 h.
5. Transfer the dough on a slightly floured clean surface and fold on itself once more. Cover with a large bowl to create a vacuum, or with kitchen towels.
6. Preheat the oven to 250 C/480 F with the stone in (if you have it).
7. While the oven warms up, fold again the dough on itself, gently.
8. When the oven is ready start shaping your ciabattasa as you like. For the filled one I used either chopped olived and chopped taleggio, or a baby pepper filled with taleggio and wrapped the dough over them sealing it with a gruyere stick (make sure to cut ahead a few sticks from the gruyere)
9. For the twisted baguette, just cut a long piece of dough and twist it on itself a couple of times before baking, for the straight ciabattas, just cut rectagular pieces of dough and bake them as they are, and if you care for interesting shapes you can even twist some ciabattas on themselves.
10. Bake for 20-30 minutes depending on the size of your ciabattas, creating steam in the beginning by throwing a few ice-cubes in the lower rack.