Walnut Raisin Ciabatta

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Dough Yield: About


    loaves at 1 lb , 2 oz each

Appears in


By Jeffrey Hamelman

Published 2004

  • About

This Bread Came About as the result of some interesting experimentation I did some years ago at the King Arthur Flour Bakery. It’s a good example of how the baker can make a small change in process and significantly alter the final flavor. Normally, as we know, ciabatta is leavened using commercial yeast, yielding gentle aromatic overtones in the finished bread. The present formula uses liquid levain along with some commercial yeast, resulting in a subtle yet distinct tang. That mild tang, combined with three other elements—toasted wheat germ, raisins, and toasted walnuts, fills the mouth with abundant sensations. Omitting the bakers’ yeast and increasing bulk fermentation to 2½ hours alters the final flavor of the dough even more perceptibly, resulting in bread with a more forward acidity and slightly reduced volume.

Pre-Fermented Flour: 10%


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 15 lb 7.5 kg 1 lb, 8 oz 75 %
Salt .4 lb .2 kg .6 oz 2 %
Yeast .16 lb, fresh .08 kg, fresh .1 oz, instant dry .8%
Walnuts, Toasted 3.6 lb 1.8 kg 5.8 oz 18 %
Raisins 3.6 lb 1.8 kg 5.8 oz 18 %
Total Yield 42.76 lb 21.38 kg 4 lb, 4.3 oz 213.8 %

Liquid-Levain Build

Bread Flour 2 lb 1 kg 3.2 oz (¾ cup) 100 %
Water 2.5 lb 1.25 kg 4 oz (½ cup) 125 %
Mature Culture (Liquid) .4 lb .2 kg .6 oz (1 T, 1 tsp) 20 %
Total 4.9 lb 2.45 kg 7.8 oz

Final Dough

Bread Flour 17 lb 8.5 kg 1 lb, 11.2 oz (6⅛ cups)
Wheat Germ, Toasted 1 lb .5 kg 1.6 oz (½ cup)
Water 12.5 lb 6.25 kg 1 lb, 4 oz ( cups)
Salt .4 lb .2 kg .6 oz (1 T)
Yeast .16 lb, fresh .08 kg, fresh .1 oz, instant dry (1 tsp)
Liquid Levain 4.5 lb 2.25 kg 7.2 oz (all less 1 T, 1 tsp)
Walnuts, Toasted 3.6 lb 1.8 kg 5.8 oz ( cups)
Raisins 3.6 lb 1.8 kg 5.8 oz (1⅛ cups)
Total 42.76 lb 21.38 kg 4 lb, 4.3 oz


  1. Liquid Levain: Make the levain build approximately 12 hours before the final mix, and let stand in a covered container at about 70°F.
  2. Mixing: Add all the ingredients to the bowl except the walnuts and raisins. 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, to moderate gluten development. Add the walnuts and raisins to the dough. Mix on first speed only until they are evenly incorporated. This dough can also be mxed using the bassinage technique (see the sidebar). Desired dough temperature: 75°F.
  3. Bulk Fermentation: 2 hours.
  4. Folding: Fold the dough halfway through the bulk fermentation.
  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 air 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 (or place in a covered speed rack).
  6. Final Fermentation: About 1½ hours at 75°F.
  7. Baking: With normal steam, 460°F for 34 to 38 minutes for a loaf weighing 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 due to the raisins, lower the oven temperature by 10° or 20°F. Be sure to bake fully.