Cheat’s Ciabatta: Keepers


2 tsp instant yeast
4 cups high-grade flour, plus extra for kneading
2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
2 cups lukewarm water
2 tsp olive oil


  1. Mix the yeast, flour and sugar in a stand mixer. Pour in the water and mix with the dough hook for 10–12 minutes. The mixture is quite a bit wetter than a normal bread dough and it’s quite sticky.
  2. Pour the dough out onto a floured surface. If you would prefer two smaller loaves, separate the dough into 2 at this point, before you start making air pockets. Using floured hands, you want to knead, pull, stretch and slap the dough for another 4–5 minutes. By pulling at parts of the dough, stretching it up and then slapping it back down onto the rest of the dough, you create the beautiful air pockets we want to see, so spend a bit of time and add more flour as needed to keep the dough as one. Flour an oven tray, and as you move the dough or doughs onto this, gently prod it/them into loaf shape/s.
  3. Drizzle with oil and cover with plastic wrap. Leave in the hot-water cupboard or somewhere warm for 2–3 hours.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
  5. Cook for 35–40 minutes if baking 1 loaf, or 25 minutes if baking 2 loaves. When it’s ready it should be starting to look golden and sound hollow when tapped.
  6. Let the ciabatta cool for around 20 minutes before slicing.

Extracted from Keepers by Cherie Metcalfe. Published by Allen & Unwin NZ.
RRP: $45.00. Out now.

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