The literal translation of ciabatta is “slipper bread,” reflecting the unique shape of this airy, slightly sour rustic Italian bread that has a hearty crust. With the Beer Butter, this bread is a perfect accompaniment to your Thanksgiving feast.
Makes: 3 Loaves
This is the starter that gives the ciabatta its airiness. In Italy, flour is classified by how finely ground it is and how much of the bran and wheat germ have been removed. Doppio zero (00) flour is the most highly refined and is powder soft. If you can’t find it, substitute all-purpose flour.
2¼ lb (1.13 kg) 00 flour
½ lb (227 g) bread flour
2½ gram active dry yeast
1½ qt (48 fl oz/1.42 l) water
In a medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix for 4 minutes. Let sit at room temperature for 2 hours.
4¼ lb (2.4 kg) Biga (see above)
2¼ lb (1.2 kg) bread flour plus more for proofing
¾ lb (340 g) 00 flour
2½ oz (71 g) kosher salt
½ oz (2 packets) active dry yeast
5½ cup (44 fl oz/1.3 l) water
2 cup spent grain
Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C).
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, combine all the ingredients and mix on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes.
Place the dough on a floured work surface and portion into 3 loaves. Shape each loaf into a “slipper,” cover with a thin layer of flour, and let rise until doubled in size.
Bake until dark and golden, about 20 minutes.
Remove to a wire rack and cool. Serve or wrap in plastic for later use.
1 lb (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
6 Tbs (3 fl oz/89 ml) American amber
1 Tbs sea salt
Combine all ingredients in a mixer or food processor and mix until the butter has absorbed the beer.
Remove and chill until ready to serve.
Beer suggestions: For the beer butter, use a quality craft amber such as Bell’s Amber.