Artisan Ciabatta Rolls

Ingredients

For Poolish:
2¼ cups (11.25 oz) unbleached bread flour
1½ cups (12 oz) water, at room temperature
¼ teaspoon instant yeast

For Ciabatta Rolls:
Poolish (from above)
3 (13.5 oz) cups unbleached bread flour
1¾ teaspoons salt
1½ teaspoons instant yeast
6 Tablespoons to ¾ cup water, lukewarm (about 90 – 100 degrees)

Directions

For Poolish:
Stir all ingredients for poolish together in a mixing bowl. Dough should be soft and sticky and look like a thick pancake batter. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 3-4 hours or until sponge is bubbly and foamy. Immediately refrigerate. It will keep up to 3 days in refrigerator.

For Ciabatta Rolls:
Remove poolish from the refrigerator 1 hour prior to making dough.

Stir together the flour, salt and yeast in a 4 quart mixing bow. Add the poolish and 6 tablespoons water. With a large spoon or (low speed with a mixer attached with paddle) mix until ingredients form a sticky ball. If there’s loose flour add additional water as needed and continue to mix.

If mixing by hand, dip one hand or metal spoon in cold water and use it like a dough hook, to work the dough quickly into a smooth mass.

Rotate the bowl with opposite hand while stirring to ensure all dough gets stirred equally. Stir for about 5-7 minutes or as long as needed to form a smooth, sticky dough. If using an electric mixer, mix on medium speed with paddle attachment for 5 to 7 minutes or as long as it takes to create a smooth, sticky dough. Switch to dough hook for final 2 minutes. Dough should clear sides of bowl but stick to bottom. You may need to add additional flour to firm up the dough enough.

Sprinkle flour on counter to make an 8 inch square. Transfer sticky dough to floured surface using a bowl scraper or spatula dipped in water. Dust dough with significant flour, and pat dough into a rectangle. Wait 2 minutes for dough to relax. Coat hands with flour and lift dough from each end stretching to twice it’s size. Fold dough over itself and return to a rectangle shape.

Mist dough with spray oil, and dust with flour. Cover loosely with plastic wrap.

Let rest for 30 minutes. Stretch and fold again. Mist with oil again dust with flour and cover. Let sit covered 1½ hours to 2 hours. It should swell but will not necessarily be doubled.

Using flour sack towel or other lint free towel sprinkle generously with flour.

Remove dough and place on floured surface. Be careful not to degas the dough by pressing all the air out. Separate into 8-10 equal pieces.

Sprinkle with additional flour. Use scraper to get under the dough and carefully lift each piece from counter and roll on both sides in loose flour to coat. Gently fold each piece to form approximately 3 inch square. Lay rolls on the cloth with generous separation between them. Bunch the cloth in between rolls to make a small wall. Mist dough with spray oil and dust with flour cover with a towel.
Let rest for 45 to 60 minutes at room temperature or until dough has noticeably swelled.

Prepare oven by placing empty steam pan (i.e. metal loaf pan) on bottom rack. Place baking stone on 2nd rack in center of oven. Preheat to 500 degrees. Heat about 1 cup water in teakettle or sauce pan until almost boiling.
Using a pizza peel or back of sheet pan dusted with cornmeal or semolina flour and very carefully transfer dough pieces to peel or pan.

Slide dough squares onto heated baking stone. I baked in 2 separate batches. Pour 1 cup hot water into the steam pan and close door. After 30 seconds open door and spray down walls with water. Close door. Repeat 2 more times in 30 second intervals. After final spray turn oven down to 450 degrees. Continue baking for 5-10 minutes or until dough reaches 205 degrees in center. It should be golden brown in color.

Rolls will feel quite hard but will soften with cooling. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool for 30 minutes before serving.