Week 98: Cheater’s Ciabatta

Here is a method for making crispy, airy individual sandwich buns in just a little over one hour. I kid you not! I discovered this by accident because I forgot to do the whole “stretch & fold, then rest 30 minutes” routine that you’re meant to do over a period of 2 hours. All I managed to do was mix the dough, let it rest an hour, then shape the rolls and bake. That’s it, and they came out great.

They are similar to ciabatta, but (obviously) not nearly as airy or flavorful, but they are delicious all the same. It is a wet dough, so a little tricky to work with, but if you keep your countertop and fingers well-floured, you’ll be fine. I made four, but you could cut into 8 pieces and serve as individual dinner rolls. If you want the crust to stay crisp, cool them in the turned off oven with the door ajar.

  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 300 g all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 240 g water, warmed to 90 degrees

Step 1: Make dough

  1. Measure dry ingredients into a bowl and whisk to combine.
  2. Add water, then stir with the handle of a wooden spoon until well combined and there are not bits of dry flour lingering about.
  3. Clean sides of bowl with a dough scraper so all the dough is together.
  4. Cover and let rest in a warm place for 1 hour.

Step 2: Shape

  1. Gently scrape dough out onto a generously floured countertop.
  2. Dust the dough with a little flour
  3. Slip well floured fingers under an edge of the dough and gently pull out a bit.Go around the sides , to shape the dough into a rectangle, roughly 9″ x 12″. Don’t press it into a rectange, you don’t want to flatten the air bubbles.
  4. With floured fingers, gently roll the dough, from top to bottom, starting at the top of a long side. If it’s sticking a bit in places, use your dough scraper to push some flour at the sticky part, and then push it away from the countertop.
  5. With a bench scraper, divide into four pieces.
  6. With floured finger, gently lifteach roll onto the baking sheet.
  7. Cover and let reset for about 30-40 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450°. Adjust racks so one is in the middle and one at the lowest.
  9. Fill two loaf pans with boiling water and place on the bottom rack.

Step 4: Bake

  1. Bake for 20 minutes at 425° (turn oven down).
  2. When ready, remove from oven and let cool on wire rack before slicing.

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