Ciabatta with Poolish

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Dough Yield: About


    loaves at 1 lb , 2 oz each

Appears in


By Jeffrey Hamelman

Published 2004

  • About

Although the Percentages in the Overall Formula section in this formula are virtually identical to the preceding one, there are some distinct differences between the two breads. In the present formula, 30 percent of the flour is pre-fermented, compared to 20 percent in the Ciabatta with Stiff Biga, and an increase in aroma may be noted. With the extra pre-fermented flour in the Ciabatta with Poolish, the slight reduction of yeast to 1.1 percent is appropriate. Because of the high level of protease activity in the poolish, the consistency of the present formula’s dough may seem just slightly looser, even though the overall water percentage is identical.

Pre-Fermented Flour: 30%


Overall Formula

U.S. Metric Home Baker’s %
Bread Flour 20 lb 10 kg 2 lb 100 %
Water 14.6 lb 7.3 kg 1 lb, 7.4 oz 73 %
Salt .4 lb .2 kg .6 oz 2 %
Yeast .22 lb, fresh .11 kg, fresh .13 oz, instant dry 1.1 %
Total Yield 35.22 lb 17.61 kg 3 lb, 8.2 oz 176.1 %


Bread Flour 6 lb 3 kg 9.6 oz ( cups) 100 %
Water 6 lb 3 kg 9.6 oz ( cups) 100 %
Yeast .012 lb, fresh .006 kg, fresh ( tsp, instant dry) .2%
Total 12.012 lb 6.006 kg 1 lb, 3.2 oz

Final Dough

Bread Flour 14 lb 7 kg 1 lb, 6.4 oz (5⅛ cups)
Water 8.6 lb 4.3 kg 13.8 oz ( cups)
Salt .4 lb .2 kg .6 oz (1 T)
Yeast .208 lb, fresh .104 kg, fresh .13 oz, instant dry ( tsp)
Poolish 12.012 lb 6.006 kg 1 lb, 3.2 oz (all of above)
Total 35.22 lb 17.61 kg 3 lb, 8.1 oz


  1. Poolish: Disperse the yeast in the water, add the flour, and mix until smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic and let stand for 12 to 16 hours at about 70°F.
  2. Mixing: Add all the ingredients to the mixing bowl, including the poolish. In a spiral mixer, mix on first speed for 3 minutes in order to incorporate the ingredients. If necessary, correct the hydration by adding water or flour in small amounts. Finish mixing on second speed for 4 to 5 minutes, until gluten development is evident. The dough will be rather loose and sticky, but when tugged on, some definite dough strength should be noted—there should be some “muscle” to the dough. The dough can also be mixed using the bassinage technique (see the sidebar). Desired dough temperature: 75°F.
  3. Bulk Fermentation: 3 hours.
  4. Folding: Fold the dough twice, after 1 hour of bulk fermentation and again after 2 hours. The folds will give a final strengthening to the dough.
  5. Dividing and Shaping: Flour the work surface copiously. Invert the dough onto the work surface and gently pat out the larger air bubbles—but remember that for the most part the fermentation gases and the associated interior holes and pockets in the dough should remain intact. Lightly flour the top surface of the dough. Have ready a sufficient number of bread boards that are thoroughly (but not too thickly) covered with sifted bread flour. Cut a narrow strip, about 4 inches wide, down the length of the dough. Then cut the strip into rectangles, each weighing 18 ounces. If the dough is too light, place the additional bits of dough needed to correct the weight onto the top of each dough piece. Place the dough pieces on the floured bread boards, with the scrap on top. If they are more square than rectangular, give a gentle stretch, but be careful not to tear the dough. When all the dough has been scaled, cover the boards with baker’s linen and then plastic.
  6. Final Fermentation: About 1½ hours at 75°F.
  7. Baking: With normal steam, 460°F for 34 to 38 minutes for a loaf scaled at 18 ounces. (Refer to step 7 in Ciabatta with Stiff Biga.) If the ciabatta is taking on too much color in the oven too soon, lower the oven temperature by 10° or 20°F. Be sure to bake fully.