Wild Yeast Coccodrillo Ciabatta Bread

19 September 2009

ciabatta breadOn the Bread Bakers Apprentice Challenge Twitter stream, there was a discussion about ciabatta breads and how the one in Peter Reinhart’s book wasn’t very wet, which also meant it couldn’t achieve the truly large holes that most people look for in ciabatta bread.

@misterrios said:

@LMAshton @gaaarp The one I normally make is the Jason’s Cocodrillo from TFL: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/2984/jasons-quick-coccodrillo-ciabatta-bread which is 95% hydraation.

My response?

@misterrios Wow! I’ve seen ciabatta recipes as high as 80%, but 95%? It’s almost crazy, yet the pictures! Gotta give this a sourdough try.

So I’m giving Jason’s Quick Coccodrillo Ciabatta Bread a try. It’s already in grams – yahoooooo! – but I need to convert it to sourdough. Or wild yeast. Which is the same as sourdough, just a different name. And I halved it because – well, because there’s just me and Fahim and I gotta be realistic about the amount of bread that could possibly be consumed in this household.

And what’s the Coccodrillo bit about? No idea, other than it being French for crocodile. No matter – I’m making it anyway. πŸ˜€

Jason’s Quick Coccodrillo Ciabatta Bread

Variaton 1

  • 50 grams wild yeast starter (100% hydration)
  • 250 grams flour
  • 212.5 gramsΒ  water
  • 7.5 grams salt


  1. Mix all ingredients together (food processor or mixer if you have it) until roughly combined. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes (autolyse).
  2. Still in the mixer/food processor, beat the heck out of the batter. It’ll feel like pancake batter to start with, but in anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes of beating the heck out of it, it’ll form itself into a very sticky dough. If it starts climbing too soon, switch to the hook. (Mine took 5 minute sessions x 3 sessions for it to form in my cwappy little food processor.)
  3. You’ll know it’s done when it separates from the side of the bowl and starts to climb up your hook/paddle and just coming off the bottom of the bowl. It will definitely pass the windowpane test.
  4. Place into a well oiled container and let it triple. (And he ain’t kidding about the triple part.)
  5. Empty on to a floured counter (scrape if you must, however you gotta get the gloop out), cut into 3 or 4 pieces. Spray with oil and dust with lots o’ flour. Let them proof for about 45 minutes, which gives you enough time to crank that oven up to 500F.
  6. After 45 minutes or so, the loaves should be puffy and wobbly. Stretch into your final ciabatta shape (~10″ oblong rectangle) and flip them upside down (this redistributes the bubbles, so you get even bubbles throughout), then transfer onto parchment or a heavily floured peel. Try to do it in one motion and be gentle. It might look like you’ve ruined them completely, but the oven spring is immense on these things.
  7. Bake at 260C/500F until they are 96C/205F in the center (about 15-20 minutes), rotating 180 degrees half way through. Some people like to turn the oven down to 232C/450F after 10 minutes.

Please note: I used my cheapo cwappo sucky food processor and it worked just fine. Not broken yet or anything. Which is really unfortunate – I keep trying. πŸ˜‰

windowpane test, ciabatta bread

In the cheapo cwappo sucky food processor, I had to take breaks every five minutes to not burn out the motor. Yeah, I know, trying to break it, but still, I gotta be realistic, too, right? So I beat the dough for 5 minutes, took a break for 2 minutes, beat the dough for 5 minutes, took a break for two minutes, and then beat it for a final 5 minutes. At that point, the dough was visibly formed and climbing the, uh, centre thingie. Definitely formed. Defintely coming off the bottom. Definitely off the sides and clinging into a center mass vaguely resembling an amoeba-like ball.

And yeah, it had no problem passing the windowpane test. πŸ™‚

ciabatta bread

ciabatta bread, first rise, tripled in volume

ciabatta bread, tripled in volume

The tripling part, for my wild yeast dough, took about 3 1/2 hours. And it was definitely triple! And very, very fluffy and bubbly!

ciabatta bread, first shaping

I didn’t empty mine onto a floured surface. Instead, I emptied mine into a glass cake pan, 9×13″, that was lightly greased. I didn’t want to add more flour to it, especially flour that might not be completely absorbed into the dough and would leave flour streaks in the bread. Turns out that it worked perfectly fine. πŸ™‚

And, since I halved the recipe, I left it in one piece rather than cutting it. I could have cut it and had two narrow flat loaves instead of one huge flat loaf. Meh. Either way is fine, really. πŸ™‚

ciabatta bread, shaped

For shaping the loaves, I dumped it onto a floured cookie sheet. Next time, I’ll use a lightly oiled cookie sheet instead. I’m not a fan of the raw-flour-on-the-outside-of-the-loaf look. And, really, oiled surfaces work fine, too. It may be less traditional, but it works better for me. πŸ™‚

ciabatta bread

ciabatta bread, sliced

The result? This bread turned out exactly as advertised. Oh yeah, baby!

I should mention that I don’t get as much oven spring with this bread as other people do – my oven is broken, it doesn’t reach over 425F, blah blah blah. Still, we like it fine. πŸ™‚

My Ingredients Weights in Grams Flour Weights Water Weights Other Weights Ingredients Expressed As A Formula
sourdough starter, 100% hydration 50 25 25 20%
flour 250 250 100%
salt 7.5 7.5 3%
water 212.5 212.5 85%
Totals 275 237.5
Hydration (water/flour) 86.36%

I’m also submitting this post to Yeastspotting. Yeastspotting is a weekly showcase of truly drool-worthy breads. In addition to this being part of Sourdough Saturday here on my blog. πŸ˜€

Tags: ciabatta bread, high hydration dough. bread, wild yeast,

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4 Responses

  1. #1

    Nice holes!

  2. #2

    Gorgeous holes!

  3. I’ve heard lots of raves about this bread but never tried it. Very nice!
    .-= Susan/Wild Yeast´s last blog ..YeastSpotting 9.25.09 =-.

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I'm a Canadian expat currently living in Singapore. I'm married to a Sri Lankan and lived in Sri Lanka for nearly a decade. We also lived in New Zealand for half a year.

I cook Sri Lankan curries, sambols, and mallungs. I bake bread using wild yeast (sourdough that isn't sour). I bake on the stove. I experiment with Indian / Malaysian / Indonesian / Thai / whatever cuisines interest me. And I experiment wildly.

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