We like Cibatta bread. It has texture and it is chewy. I have not bought a sandwich loaf of bread on purpose for about 2 years. HEB (our local grocery chain) has a wonderful bakery where you can purchase different types of artisan breads. But with the addition of the KitchenAid Stand Mixer to our arsenal we have been making all our own bread. As I flipped through our new copy of The Stand Mixer Bible, Second Edition, Meredith Deeds and Carla Snyder, Robert Rose, Inc., 2008, I found a recipe for Cibatta! WOW!!! Just had to try it.
The first mistake we made was putting the yeast and warm water into the COLD mixer bowl. The cold metal bowl dropped the temperature of the water too low for the yeast. We started over by warming the metal mixer bowl with warm water prior to adding the yeast and 1/2 cup of water.
The second mistake I made was I used 1 cup of water instead of 1/2 cup of water. After adding the 6 cups of flour and mixing the dough I had batter. I realized what I had done and added 1 cup of flour. Still too much like batter. I added a 2nd cup. In hind sight I should have added one more. After our bread rose in loaf form it was still flatter than what it should have been. But it still taste great!
We don't have oven tiles so we used a Pampered Chef pizza stone and a Pampered Chef stone jellyroll pan.
We have a built in microwave over the range. When we turn the light on underneath it and tape the door just open so the interior light stays on it makes the perfect draft free warm place to rise our bread dough.
Cibatta dough is the stickiest dough ever, but don't let that scare you. Just use lots of flour when handling it. The results are definitely worth it.
2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (100 degrees F)
6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tbsp salt
2 1/2 cups cool water
1. In the mixer bowl, stir together yeast and water. Let stand until yeast begins to form, about 5 minutes. Add flour, salt and cold water. Attach the flat beater and mixer bowl to the mixer. Set to Stir and mix until a dough forms.
2. Remove the flat beater and attach the dough hook. Set to Speed 2 and knead until dough is stretchy, about 8 minutes. Remove the mixer bowl and cover with a plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a war, draft free place until tripled in bulk, about 4 hours.
3. Turn dough out onto a generously floured work surface. Using a pastry knife or a metal dough knife, fold dough into thirds, much as you would fold a business letter. Flour the top and pat down down. Cover with a towel and let stand for about 20 minutes. (This process tightens the dough so the loaves will have a nice shape.) Dip the metal pastry scraper into cool water and cut dough crosswise into 4 loaves.
4. Cut 4 sheets of parchment paper into pieces 3 inches larger on all sides than the loaves. Liberally flour dough, place on parchment paper and cover with towels. Let rise until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours. Meanwhile, place oven rack in the middle position, line with clay oven tiles and preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
5. Carefully slide 2 of the loaves, with parchment paper, onto baking sheet. Place baking sheet on the hot tiles and remove it much as a magician would pull a tablecloth from a set table, leaving the parchment paper and loaves on the tiles. Make sure the loaves do not touch and have enough room to expand. Spray loaves and the inside of the oven with water. Shut the door quickly. Spray again 3 times, at 2 minute intervals. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until loaves reach an internal temperature of 200 degrees F. Let cool completely on wire racks. Repeat with the remaining loaves.