Paul Hollywood's Ciabatta with Folds and Baker's Percentages

Hello Bakers,

My guess is that many of you are fans of the Great British Baking Show. I cannot get enough of this show.
I find it so inspiring. I want to do the challenges myself.
Now I love, love to bake and just, watching that show just wants me to bake more.
It goes further then that - my dream job would be to host or judge on that show. How much fun would that be?
There was a bread episode in Season Five that involved ciabatta. The contestants had to make Paul Hollywood's Ciabatta.
Now you can tell Paul is one of those bread guys - he loves bread and making bread and he has been doing it for ages. When he talks about baking bread in Greece and throughout Europe - I start to sweat and gentle reader, I never sweat.
Why do I sweat?  Because I imagine that baking bread in Greece and wherever else Paul traveled and baked was an amazing experience. That's kind of experience and learning that goes right into your bones and stays forever.
I never had the chance to bake like that in Europe but I did in the States and I can you it is heady stuff.
Back to earth and the kitchen.
Ciabatta is a bread that originally comes from the Lake Como region of Italy. There are regional breads in every area of Italy and it would take years to master them all.
Ciabatta is hydrated, really hydrated this recipe is 80% hydration which means hand shaping is next to impossible. It is coaxed more then shaped. It takes water, extra flour and a bowl scraper to get this dough were it needs to go and you have to be gentle.
The shape is that of a medieval slipper and that is also where the name comes from.
Ciabatta is another word for slipper - not modern slippers - more Merchant of Venice slippers - but Como not Venice.
The first time I made Paul Hollywood's Ciabatta, Daniel, my chef husband was not overly impressed.
The air bubbles, technically called "alevole" were not big enough and it was too flat.
Daniel is from that region of Italy and therefore takes a passionate view on Ciabatta.
Paul Hollywood's directions did not include folding the dough but I decided with the second batch to add three folds, thirty minutes apart. Since I was folding, I decreased the mixing time from 5-8 minutes to 3.
The results were amazing and Daniel pronounced it "very good". This is his highest praise.
When that is his comment about my baking or cooking, then I know I have done well.

I am putting this recipe baker's percentages. This will help you all with your baker's percentage practice.
There are also many versions of Paul Hollywood's ciabatta recipe on the internet. This is what happens when you are famous.But by having it baker's percentage you can make any size batch you like. It also employs the double hydration technique which is great for mixing a well hydrated dough.
I did added an additional 25g of water - just to get my crumb a little more open.
This recipe is authentic to modern day ciabatta.  In the early days when people were wearing medieval slippers, it probably had less salt since salt was heavily taxed at that time and a point of much contention.

For two good size ciabatta, I recommend you use 500g of flour. If you want one cut it in half, 250g.
Ciabatta freezes well and can be refreshed, once thawed, in a 350 degree oven for 5-7 minutes.
Happy Baking!

Ciabatta with Folds adapted from The Great British Baking Show and Paul Hollywood's original recipe.

Stand mixer or dough whisk
Plastic bowl scraper
Medium bowl or small rectangle shaped plastic bin (tub)
 - brushed with olive oil.
Half sheet tray lined with parchment paper and dusted with flour
Spray bottle with water


500g Unbleached all purpose flour (100%)
10g Instant yeast (2%)
300g Water (water 1#) (60%)
40g Olive Oil (20%)
10g Salt (2%)
125g Water (water #2 )(25%)

Additional flour for dusting the top of the ciabatta
Additional water - helps with dough sticking.

1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine the flour, yeast, water,
olive oil, salt mix on low speed for 45 seconds.
2. With the mixer running, add the second amount of water in a slow stream.
3. Increase the speed to medium (speed 4) and mix for 2 more minutes.

4. Using the bowl scraper, transfer the dough to the oiled bowl or a rectangle shaped plastic tub and cover. Set a timer for 30 minutes.

5 After 30 minutes uncover the dough and wet your finger (adding water is better then adding more flour) grasp the dough at the top of the bowl and stretch it out about six inches. and fold it over it self.
Rotate the bowl a quarter turn and stretch again. Continue with all four sides of the bowl. After the last fold, turn the dough over. The smooth side will be facing up. Cover.
By the way, there are some excellent plastic bowl covers made by Covermate. The plastic is BPA free and they can be reused. I find mine at BigLots but Amazon has them too.
Here is the link: They are great for yeast dough.

6. Set the timer for another 30 minutes. Repeat two more times.
7. After the last fold, cover the dough and let it sit for 20 minutes.
8. Using the bowl scraper, carefully loosen the sides of the dough and unmold the dough onto the prepared sheet tray.
9. If making the larger batch, dip the bowl scraper in flour and using a rocking motion cut the dough in two. Gently make space between the two pieces of dough. Dust each with flour.

10. Place the rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
11. Let the oven preheat for 15 minutes.
12. Spray the ciabatta with a light mist of water and put it into the oven.
13. At 25 minutes, check for color and double pan.
14. Reduce oven temperature to 375 and bake for 12-15 more minutes. The internal temperature should be at 210 - slightly higher is ok and when picked up (with oven mitts or dry towel) the ciabatta should feel very light. If it feels heavy put it back in the oven for an additional 5-7 minutes.
If it is getting too dark, reduce the oven temperature. One of the most challenging things about ciabatta is baking out the excess moisture.

Hi Everyone, there is a mistake in the percentages for the olive oil - it should read 8% not 20%. Thanks to Mike for pointing that out. Because this is an older post - it is more complicated to edit then a newer one. Happy Baking! Colette