Great British Bake Off: Ciabatta

Episode 3: Bread

Recipe (Technical Challenge): Ciabatta

The Technical Challenge for the Bread episode was ciabatta – the recipe being Paul Hollywood’s (seriously – what a name!):

It’s a very easy and basic dough but you can tell by the bakers that it wasn’t as straightforward as they expected. The dough is definitely very wet and my note to those who want to make it, mix the dough until you see “stringy” dough. That’s when you know the gluten is doing pretty well.

When I think of ciabatta, I think of two different forms: sandwiches and large loaves. Theses are somewhere in between – kinda the length of a submarine sandwich bun. But I welcome you to divide the dough as you see fit – I can easily see this dough being made into two large loaves or many smaller bun-like loaves. The directions for this recipe called for it to be divided into 4. The recipe is really simple and amazingly it is only 3 ingredients! But you do have to leave it to proof  for a while. I wanted some extreme fermentation so I really let it stew in a completely closed container.

Proofing Ciabatta

The dough did double and the texture was really interesting. Very gooey but malleable. You don’t want to work it very much because you want to keep all the air bubbles. Divide the dough quickly and as smoothly as you can, transfer it to a baking sheet. I would recommend a really long bench scraper! (I used a combination of a scraper and my arm!)

Ciabatta DoughKind of a gloopy mess…work quickly!


After you place your loaves on the sheets, shape it gently and let it proof again.Ciabatta DoughHard to get them all uniform…lots of flour thrown!

Then off to the ovens!

And if you’re lucky, you’ll get some beautiful loaves:

Ciabatta Dough IMG_2735Hello golden brown beauties!

CiabattaEven more lovely in natural light.

CiabattaNice and hole-y. Just the way I like ’em.

Overall: 9/10

I was really pleased with the results – as were my taste testers! This was a really easy bread to make – I will definitely consider whipping up a batch after the challenge.

Next up…the Showstopper Challenge!

Tags: , , ,

Categories: bread, Great British Bake Off


Communications specialist by day, baker/cook/triathlete/dog-owner by night. I blog about my adventures inside and outside my kitchen. Come take a look - no big whoop!


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