Finishing up the Ciabatta

Even after going to sleep past 1:00AM, I somehow woke up at 7:30. First thing I did? Check on the ciabatta. It was huge, and looked overproofed. Considering I was still exhausted, rather than try to bake it, I decided to flip it upside down onto a more floured part of the canvas. I figured this would degas it slightly, and allow it to proof back into a nicer shape while I slept. Not sure if this was better than simply letting it proof a few more hours, but I was a bit delirious, and it seemed like a good idea.

I got back up at 10:30, and right away turned on the oven. The ciabatta was looking fine, but even bigger than before. Considering it proofed for about 12 hours, it managed to hold together quite well. I think this is due to the Power Flour’s strong gluten. I baked the ciabatta at 550 with 3/4 cup of water in my cast iron steamer. After 6 minutes I flipped it around, and it was already starting to nicely brown and firm up. I kept the oven at 550, but debated turning it down to 500. I decided that the color was nice enough and it didn’t really seem to be burning, so it could still tolerate the higher heats.

After another 6 minutes, I checked on it again and saw that the color was a nice caramel brown, but when tapping on the bottom, felt that it wasn’t yet hollow. Considering the outside was almost done, but the inside needed a bit more time, I then turned the oven down to 500. It also made me consider that I possibly should have turned it down after the first 6 minute mark. The other thing I realized was that I should have had my thermometer handy, as although I would guess it needed only 3 more minutes, I had no clue what the internal temp was.

3 minutes later I took it out again. The crust was definitely done, and even possibly slightly over done in spots. It was hollow sounding in some parts, but it had turned into such a big loaf, and there were parts that I wasn’t convinced were fully cooked. Even though my thermometer read 206, I decided to put it back in for a final 2 minutes.

So after a a total of 17 minutes, the ciabatta came out and actually looked pretty nice. The crust was crispy and well colored, and the loaf felt fairly light.

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