Mixed Olive Ciabatta
about 3 ciabatta breads
two phases, over a period of two days
For the starter (Italian Biga):
1 tsp fast-acting dried yeast
100 g Italian type 00 white bread flour
For the dough:
400 g Italian type 00 white bread flour, plus extra to dust
1 1/4 tsp fast-action dried yeast
1 tsp fine salt
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
100 g black olives, stoned and halved
100 g green olives, stoned and halved
Make the starter. Mix the yeast with 80 ml tepid water in the bowl of a free-standing mixer, or if you’re making it by hand, in a large bowl. Leave for 5 minutes, or until it blooms and becomes frothy.
Stir in the flour to make a soft dough. Cover with a clean tea towel or clingfilm and leave to rest in a warm place for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight.
To make the dough, place the starter and the remaining flour in a bowl, along with the extra yeast, oil and 300 ml tepid water. Mix with the dough hook on a low speed for 5 minutes, or with your hands for about 10 minutes, to make a soft, wet dough.
Add 1 teaspoon of fine salt and the olives, mix for 5 minutes more, until smooth and elastic.
Cover with a clean tea towel or plastic wrap and leave to rise again for 1hour, or until doubled in size.
When your risen dough is ready, wet your hands, then take one side of the dough in the bowl, stretch it up and fold it over on the top of itself. Turn the bowl 90 degrees and repeat 7 more times. Re-cover and leave to rest and rise for 45 minutes, then repeat the 8 stretches and folds once more, followed by the 45 minutes rest and rise.
Line a large baking sheet with baking parchment or use a nonstick baking sheet. Generously dust the parchment or the baking sheet with flour to prevent the dough from sticking.
Gently plop the dough on to the parchment. Dust the top of the dough with flour; divide the dough into 3 rough rectangles (using a dough scraper or knife, separating the dough portions as best you can—it will be sticky). Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise again for 30min.
Preheat the oven to 220°C (200°C fan). Fill a small baking tray with water and put on the bottom shelf of the oven to create steam.
Bake the ciabatta on the baking sheet for 30min, or until golden brown and sounding hollow when base is tapped. Cool completely on a wire rack before serving.