Ciabatta with Olive Oil and Wheat Germ

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Dough Yield: About 31 loaves at

    1 lb


Appears in


By Jeffrey Hamelman

Published 2004

  • About

What Might Seem to be an Insignificant Addition of olive oil and wheat germ here results in a distinct change of flavor. The oil lends a smooth but almost slightly bitter quality to the bread, and the presence of the toasted wheat germ adds a subtle nutty note to the flavor. Combined, this bread stands apart from the two preceding ciabattas. There is a slight improvement in keeping quality, albeit at the slight expense of crust vigor, due to the olive oil in the dough.

Pre-Fermented Flour: 30%


Overall Formula

U.S. Metric Home Baker’s %
Bread Flour 19 lb 9.5 kg 1 lb, 14.4 oz 95 %
Wheat Germ, Toasted 1 lb .5 kg 1.6 oz 5 %
Water 14.4 lb 7.2 kg 1 lb, 7 oz 72 %
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil .6 lb .3 kg 1 oz 3 %
Salt .4 lb .2 kg .6 oz 2 %
Yeast .24 lb, fresh .12 kg, fresh .13 oz, instant dry 1.2 %
Total Yield 35.63 lb 17.82 kg 3 lb, 7 oz 178.2 %


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 13 lb 6.5 kg 1 lb, 4.8 oz ( cups)
Wheat Germ, Toasted 1 lb .5 kg 1.6 oz ( cup)
Water 8.4 lb 4.2 kg 13.4 oz (1⅝ cups)
Salt .4 lb .2 kg .6 oz (1 T)
Yeast .228 lb, fresh .114 kg, fresh .13 oz, instant dry ( tsp)
Poolish 12.012 lb 6.006 kg 1 lb, 3.2 oz (all of above)
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil .6 lb .3 kg 1 oz (2 T)
Total 35.64 lb 17.82 kg 3 lb, 7 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 and the toasted wheat germ, but not the olive oil. 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. Turn the mixer to second speed and begin to add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Mix 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. Notice the nice flecks of wheat germ spread throughout 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. 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 on top of the dough pieces. Place each dough piece on a floured bread board, 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: Approximately 1½ hours at 75°F.
  7. Baking: For a loaf scaled at 18 ounces, with normal steam, 460°F for 20 minutes, then, because of the olive oil in the dough, lower the oven temperature to 440°F and bake 16 to 20 minutes longer. This prevents the loaves from getting too dark. (Refer to step 7 in Ciabatta with Stiff Biga.)