Good Morning everyone,
A cold rise bread is a great way to help make bread when you just don't think you have time. It's not that complicated. If you have a mixer or a food processor, it does all the work for you. The hardest part is done. We do not like to wait for anything these days. Here the longer you wait the better the result. So be patient. A cold rise dough extends the life of the fermentation. The acid content in the bread dough is increased. It helps to add wonderful texture as well as great flavor to your end result. The longer it's refrigerated, the more flavor it will have. If you like your bread a bit more sour, leave it to rise a longer time. It's best to leave it to rise for one long rise in the refrigerator. It can stay refrigerated for up to 3 days.
For this recipe, I used white flour. You can substitute bread flour, or use equal amounts of both. The bread flour will give your bread more elasticity due to the higher gluten content.
It's all about the texture. Bread can be made in all kinds of ways. The way you decide to rise your dough effects texture, taste and flavor. If you prefer your bread doughy and dense, yet light and fluffy, then this method is for you.
You will need one food processor for combining your ingredients. It can be combined by hand. To mix by hand, you will need to add your flour to the water mixture a little at a time and mix until combined completely. Try to use a food processor or mixer with a dough hook. Makes the job much easier and will have you making bread all the time.
3 cups of unbleached flour (Or any combination of bread/ white flour. Remember bread flour will give your bread a more elastic end result, which is very good. Just takes a little practice).
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup plus approx. 1/2 warm water (warm to touch)
1 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons of Cornmeal
Cooking time: One hour
Combine yeast and 1/2 cup warm water in bottom of food processor bowl and pulse to combine. Bubbles will form.. Let stand 5 minutes.
Add another 1/2 cup water, salt, flour and begin mixing. add your remaining water. Add your flour and Mix. You will see that within 30 seconds your flour will begin to come away from the sides of your mixing bowl and sticky ball will form. If it still looks dry, add your remaining water a drop at a time. If you are unsure, remove the lid and press the dough.. it should be somewhat sticky. It should look rather elastic. Do not worry if a complete ball is not formed. Place flour on your hands and remove from bowl onto a floured surface. Fold over 2 to 3 times into a ball. You should see a sticky and smooth consistency. Do not worry if its sticky.
Place in a bowl large enough for the dough to double in size~On a paper towel add some olive oil and brush or gently rub your bowl with it. Place your dough in the bowl. Brush the remaining oil over your bread dough.
Cover with plastic wrap tightly. Place in the refrigerator overnight and up to 12 hours. You can even leave it longer up to 18 hours.
When you are ready, remove it from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature. You will need about an hour.
On a floured surface, remove your flour from the bowl. Fold over the ends back into the ball. Place back in the bowl for one hour, covered in plastic wrap loosely. After the hour of rest, place on a floured surface and with your hands, shape into a log shape or circle. Ciabatta is rustic, so anything goes. It's traditionally made into a loaf type shape.
Heat your oven to 450 degrees bake. If you are using convection, make appropriate adjustments.
Carefully place your Ciabatta loaf onto the sheet and loosely cover again. Wait for an hour or two. When you return, it is ready to place in the oven.
Remove the plastic and cut two lines over the top. Don't cut to deep, this is just for presentation. You do not have to do this if you do want to. The bread will rise and create a pretty effect across the top.
The interesting thing about this method is that the bread continues to rise each time. Don't panic if it looks kind of flat. It will grow in the oven.
On a cornmeal lined baking sheet place in the oven for one hour. After the first 30 minutes take a peek inside by turning the light on. Do not open the oven.
Check back in 15 more minutes and make sure things are looking crispy and not burned. If you need to get a small piece of foil and loosely cover the top quickly. Leave it in the oven for a total time of one hour. Let rest 30 minutes before slicing. You will notice it cracking as it cools. This is normal and the sign of a terrific Ciabatta bread. Enjoy!