This Italian style bread needs no kneading and has only 1 teaspoon of yeast. A tasty bread that I make every weekend. The Spelt Ciabatta is a good companion with your (Italian Style) meal or Antipasti. It takes no more then 5 minutes to prepare the dough, which you then leave overnight to prove, developing its beautiful taste.
The family knows the weekend started when they come home on a Friday afternoon, smelling this beautiful bread, just out of the oven.
History: Ciabatta was first produced in 1982 by Arnaldo Cavallari, who called the bread ciabatta polesana after Polesine, the area he lived in. Cavallari and other bakers in Italy were concerned by the popularity of sandwiches made from baguettes imported from France, which were endangering their businesses and so set about trying to create an Italian alternative with which to make sandwiches. The recipe for ciabatta came about after several weeks trying variations of traditional bread recipes and consists of a soft, wet dough made with high gluten flour.
Many Italian regions have their own variety. Originally Ciabatta is made from white flour and the bread develops large air pockets making it very light. In this version I used wholemeal Spelt Flour. Not only is wholemeal flour better for you, I personally find it tastier. Wholemeal flour will not develop the characteristic air pockets as much as white flour, but nothing beats fresh bread anyway.
Who connected us?! This recipe is from Silvia Colloca from her series “Made in Italy”. I am a fan of this recipe because it is so easy to make and uses only a little bit of yeast.
Makes enough for 1 loaf.
Preperation time: 5-10 minutes, prove for at least 8 hours, baking and resting time 1,5 hours.
- 350g wholemeal spelt flour
- 200g strong bread flour, white
- 1 teaspoon dried yeast (7 gram)
- 425ml water
- 3 tsp table salt (15 gram)
- 1 tbs olive oil
- large flat baking tin
- baking paper
- large bowl (3x size of all flour combined)
Making the dough:
- In a large bowl, mix flour and yeast with a wooden spoon.
- Gradually pour in the water and work with a wooden spoon to incorporated into the flour.
- Add olive oil and salt and keep mixing until all ingredients are combined.
- This is a sticky dough and does not require kneading.
- Drizzle some olive oil over the dough and cover the bowl with cling wrap.
- Proving: quickest option is to leave the dough in a warm spot for 6-8 hours. To develop more taste leave the dough to prove even longer. I always make the dough in the evening and leave the dough to prove overnight in the fridge and for another half day outside the fridge. After proving the dough should have doubled in size and show air pockets.
Baking the bread:
- Line a large flat baking tray with baking paper. Using a spatula or dough scraper, tip the risen dough onto the baking tray.
- You can spread out the dough a bit, but I usually leave it the way it shapes itself into the tin.
- The dough feels a little wet, but do not add any flour. Dust some flour over the dough and cover with a towel. Leave for 30 minutes.
- Pre-heat the oven at 220c (200c fan-forced). Put a empty metal bowl or skillet at the bottom of the oven to heat up.
- Place the baking tray in the oven. Put about 1/2 litre cold water in the skillet to create steam. Immediately close the oven. (Some ovens do have a steam function which you can use instead).
- Bake for 30-35 minutes (5 minutes longer when you did not spread the dough) or until golden and crispy.
- To test, tap on the bottom of the bread with your fingers. If it sounds hollow the bread is cooked trough. If not, bake for a few more minutes. You can flip it upside down to encourage the bottom to crunch up.
- Let the bread rest on a wired rack at room temperature for 30-60 minutes before cutting. This allows the crust to dry slightly.
- Nuts! Create something special by adding some walnuts and sliced dried figs trough the dough. Makes a perfect bread to have with some cheeses.
- Flour. Don’t be tempted to use all purpose flour. All purpose flour is ok for cakes but has little nutricional value and does not develop a nice, tasty bread. White Spelt flour instead of wholemeal is perfect.
- Olive oil; The better the olive oil, the better the taste it adds to the bread. light olive oil has little to no taste, nice for cooking but does not add much flavour to your bread.
- No Sugar! this dough does not need sugar to start the yeast to do it’s job.
- No warm water! The water does not need to be warm to start the yeast either.
- No kneading! Yes, this dough does not need any kneading.
- Salt; 3 teaspoons of salt looks like a lot, but you definitely need it otherwise the bread taste bland. We put in the salt after the yeast mixture is combined with the flour, otherwise the salt might kill the yeast and your bread will not rise.
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