That’s it! I have become a complete bread baking addict (no surprise there). Dan Leader’s Four Hour Baguette recipe really boosted my confidence into trying more and more challenging bread recipes and I’ll tell ya what, I have been cranking out some really delicious breads! I haven’t purchased store-made bread in weeks now and in fact I have another loaf rising on my counter as I type!
After baking baguettes for a few weeks, I moved onto a boule shaped loaf that turned out crusty and delicious and perfect for sandwiches. This time I wanted to try the ciabatta shaped loaf. Ciabatta is one of my favorite bread styles being super crusty on the outside with a nice, fluffy interior. It’s the best of both worlds. It’s great for croutons, sandwich bread, dipping into soup and is sublime simply sliced, toasted and slathered with butter. For this ciabatta, I decided to add some flavor in the form of fresh rosemary and fresh grated Parmigiano-reggiano cheese. Sweet, piney rosemary and salty, nutty parmesan really ascended this loaf to the next level!
Rosemary-Parmigiano Ciabatta Loaf
This recipe is, of course, adapted from Michael Ruhlman’s Bread Dough ratio
- 20 ounces bread flour
- 12 ounces warm water
- 2 teaspoons salt, plus some for sprinkling over top
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary (depending on how much you like rosemary) or any herb of your choice
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup ice cubes
In a large mixing bowl or bowl of your stand mixer, add the 12 ounces of water. I like to turn on my faucet until it just gets hot, that should be plenty warm enough for the yeast. Sprinkle the yeast over the top of the water and allow to sit 10 minutes to let the yeast dissolve. Add the flour, salt, rosemary and parmesan to the bowl. If preparing bread by hand, stir ingredients together with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead ten minutes. If preparing bread using a stand mixer, start with your paddle attachment and combine ingredients on low until a shaggy dough forms. Switch to the dough hook and knead for 10 minutes.
When dough has been kneaded, transfer to a lightly oiled bowl covered with a dish towel and place into a cold oven or microwave to rise for 1-1 1/2 hours. The dough should be doubled in size at the end of the rise. Punch the dough down and knead slightly to redistribute the yeast. Place back into the bowl, recover with the towel and let sit another 10-15 minutes.
To shape into a ciabatta, stretch the dough lengthwise until it is about a foot long and an inch thick. Place the shaped loaf onto a sheet of parchment paper and once again cover with the dish towel. Allow to proof on the counter for another 1-1 1/2 hours. If you’re not planning on baking the dough that day, you can cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate until an hour and a half, allowing the bread to proof at room temperature, before you plan on baking it.
Preheat the oven to 450 F and place a baking sheet upside down on the middle rack and a cast iron skillet on the bottom rack. When ready to bake your ciabatta, stipple the dough with your fingers all over the loaf. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse kosher salt. Slide the loaf, on the parchment paper, onto the baking sheet and place the ice cubes into the cast iron skillet. Bake for 10 minutes, before lowering the heat to 375. Continue baking for another 30 minutes.
Slice and enjoy!!