- 280 g white bread or cake flour
- 224 ml water
- 1/2 t instant yeast
- 6 g salt
Mix the ingredients together in a bowl, transfer the mixture to a clean oiled surface and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
Oil your hands and stretch the dough out into a rectangular shape, pushing the dough out from top to bottom, and then out from the sides.
Fold the stretched dough by pulling the bottom edge two-thirds of the way up, and the top edge a third of the way down (as you would a letter). Roll up the dough from left to right, shape into a ball, cover and leave to rest for 20 minutes to 1 hour. 3
After it has rested, you’ll find the dough much more workable. Gently push it out to A4 size again. Hold the top of the dough firmly in place with one hand and, taking the bottom edge in your other hand, gradually pull the dough towards you, stretching it as far as it will go without tearing it.
Fold the dough, turn it 90 degrees, and stretch and fold it again. Shape it into a ball and leave to rest for 20 minutes to 1 hour.
Repeat the process twice more. You will stretch and fold the dough 4 times, and the whole process will take 80 minutes to 4 hours.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with clingwrap and chill overnight. Place the dough on a well-floured counter surface and stretch it into a smallish rectangular shape.
Fold as you would a letter once more, i.e. two-thirds up and one third down.
Place seam-side down on a well-floured kitchen towel supported on either side by a book. This is to ensure that the ciabatta keeps its shape.
Lightly flour the top of the dough, cover with a damp cloth, and leave for 1 to 2 hours, or until puffy and well risen.
Lift the dough carefully, stretch it a little more lengthways, and place on a floured tray or tile.
Bake at 220°C for about 30 minutes, or until nicely browned and hollow-sounding when tapped underneath.
Cook's note: TASTE readers learnt to make this ciabatta at the Glacier by Sanlam bread-making event. See pictures from the events in our Facebook/Tastyones albums.