Ciabatta bread #4

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I have a long history of failing to make this bread: #3, #2 and #1. I got a tip to try out this recipe from Food Wishes, with a helpful video. Well it looks really simple from the video, and it is! And it worked!

There's now a version #5 which is a slightly tweaked version of this recipe that worked even better.

3 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp instant ("bread machine") yeast
2 cups warm water
1 1/2 tsp salt

That is a basic no-knead recipe, though I did mix it in the Kitchen Aid mixer because it's easier than doing it by hand. The dough is very sticky!

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The video says let it rise for 18 hours in a cool place, covered with foil. It's summer, and while I have air conditioning, I like it hot, so it's usually 80°F here. It's about 70°F in my basement, so that will have to do. Fortunately it worked great!

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Oil a half sheet pan with olive oil and dust with cornmeal. I suspect that semolina flour is more authentic, but I did use cornmeal. I could have used a little more than this, as the bread stuck a little, but not badly.

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The dough is extremely sticky! I used the technique of dampening your cutting board and covering it with plastic wrap, which worked great. I lightly floured the surface, but it's best to put the flour in a separate little bowl rather than a pile on the plastic wrap, as I did, for reasons that will become obvious two steps from now.

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Formed into a nice loaf shape and floured on top.

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Thanks to the plastic wrap, you can just pick up the whole loaf and flip it over onto the sheet pan. This works well for such a large, sticky loaf. And why you don't want a pile of excess flour on top of the plastic wrap.

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Left rise for 2 hours. The video says to cover with a towel but it's so sticky I used loose plastic wrap. The video also mentions that the loaf will grow more horizontally than vertically, and he's not kidding!

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Into a preheated 425°F oven for 35 to 45 minutes. Mine looked done at 35 minutes. Holy moley, that's a huge loaf of bread. It's the right shape and it has a nice crust, though.

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It was delicious, too!

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