I tend to make a starter for my bread, typically a poolish. Sometimes I make ciabatta without a starter. I tend to see the same results either way. I give the starter 10-12 hours, then rise the dough to double(4-8hrs), then form the loaf, then proof to double(30min-2hrs) it before baking at 475F with a few ice cubes in the bottom of the oven.
A few things I suspect:
- The flour I use
- The temperature of my kitchen(though I always rise to double, not by time)
- Not using enough yeast(~1/4tsp in starter + 1/8tsp in dough)
- Over proofing
- Under proofing
- I need to adjust my level of hydration(I noticed my loafs tend to rise out more than up)
- Living at high altitude(9,000ft), though I hear this is supposed to increase speed of the rise.
- Too little gluten
What would cause my bread to always have a fine crumb? With my ciabatta I feel like its not really ciabatta because its crumb isn't coarse enough. Its more like a dense american style bread with a ciabatta crust. My french bread has the same exact crumb. Its very consistent through out the whole loaf, and I rarely(almost never) find any large holes in the bread.
My bread recipes:
Note: I measure to consistency, so any measurements are going to be crude.
- 4c flour
- 2c water
- 1/4tsp yeast
Mix warm water (~175-180F), yeast, and a dash of sugar to feed the yeast. Sit for 15min(until water froths). Mix remaining ingredients together. Wet knead dough in bowl till consistent and gluteny. Rise overnight(10-12hrs). Punch down, pour dough out and shape by pulling to a crude oval shape. Proof till doubled(~1-2hrs), rises out not up due to high moisture and no added surface tension. Bake at 500F drop to 475F. Bake until bottom produces a hallow knock.
- 1 1/3C flour
- 1/4tsp yeast
- 1C water
- 3C flour
- 1/8tsp yeast
- pinch of salt(1/8tsp)
starter: Mix warm water(175-180F), yeast, and dash of sugar. Sit for 15min(until water froths). Add remaining ingredients. Let stand for 10min to hydrate completely. Mix until smooth. Let sit overnight(10-12hrs).
dough: Mix flour, yeast, and salt. Add poolish. Mix until consistent. Adjust hydration if to wet/dry(add flour or water). Knead until consistent, firm, and gluteny.
The french bread is a much less hydrated dough. It's not firm like pasta dough, but it can hold its shape unlike the ciabatta. The ciabatta just spreads out on its own, but holds together enough to be picked up(carefully).