This approach inspired by Jeffrey Hammelman brought out a wonderfully sweet wheaty flavour from the flour. The ciabatta had a nice open texture too. Handling this very wet, puffy, fragile dough is tricky in the final stages just before it goes in the oven. A very delicate touch is needed.
1kg bread flour
2tsp fine salt
1tsp dried yeast
1. Whisk the dried yeast with about 150g of the water and a tablespoon of the flour. Leave for 10-15 minutes until the yeast has properly hydrated.
2. Mix the ingredients together: in a bowl use a dough scraper to scoop and lift the ingredients from the bottom of the bowl to the top of the mix. Keeping scooping and lifting, turning the bowl a little each time to incorporate all the ingredients into a shaggy mess.
3. Cover the bowl, leaving to rise for 3 hours. Every half hour, mix the dough again as in step 2. After the first half hour the dough should be very stretchy and elastic – as if it had already been kneaded.
4.Turn the dough out on to a well floured work top. Gently pat and stretch out the dough into a rectangle about an inch thick. Keep your hands and the dough well floured as it is really sticky stuff. Cut the rectangle into strips about 3-4 inches thick using a dough scraper, and then chop those strips into ciabbata shapes. Leave the ciabbatas on a well floured work top with room to expand, cover with a heavy dusting of flour, a tea towel and clingfilm.
5. After another 90 minutes, carefully pick up the fragile ciabatta carefully on a dough scraper or by scooping your fingers under the dough. Place onto a hot baking sheet and bake at 240C for 35 minutes.