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Melba's swap shop

Melba’s Swap Shop.
Published: March 5, 2014


Ciabata bread starter

is good fit

DEAR MELBA: Connie Firth asked for a recipe for making bread using a starter. This is a good recipe for Ciabatta bread starter that is made the night before.

Ciabatta bread is typically identified by its shape, which is that of a flattened slipper, thus the meaning of the word slipper is “ciabatta” in Italian.

The bread has a high liquid content that makes the dough difficult to manage, but this is necessary to achieve the correct results. Ciabatta bread is as common in Italian supermarkets as white sandwich bread is in the United States.

Since Connie already has her starter, she can skip those directions, but let’s share the starter recipe, because some folks will need it.


1/4 ounce fresh yeast

1/4 cup warm water (95 to 115 degrees)

3 cups flour

Water, approximately 3/4 cup

•Cream yeast and warm water. Set aside 7 to 8 minutes.

•Measure flour into large mixing bowl. Form a well in the center. Pour yeast mixture into the well. Push flour into the well, adding enough water to create dough that is firm, but not too dry.

•Transfer dough onto floured work surface. Knead several minutes to form a firm elastic ball of dough. Place in a bowl. Oil plastic wrap and cover bowl. Allow to rest in warm location 12 to 16 hours. This is the starter dough. After it has been allowed to rest for the required time, it will rise, then begin collapsing, indicating it is ready to use for making bread.

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