Ciabatta - An Italian Classic - Simple, Elegant, and Easy to Bake!

Making Ciabatta:
  Note: For this recipe we will use cups and teaspoons vs. gram
     weight for the recipes to follow. This is the simplest and eaiest to make and is a good place to start.

  This Ciabatta is made using a starter called a "biga". You prepare
  it on day one and then mix the dough and bake on day two. Mixing
  up the biga takes only a few minutes. Dough prep about 20 min-
  utes plus proofing (rising) time.

  The Biga:   1 cup of all-purpose or bread flour
                   1 cup of water
                   1  tsp. of Instant Yeast
  Mix all 3 together thoroughly and cover tightly. refrigerate

  The Dough: The Biga
                   2 cups of flour
                   2/3 cups of water
                   1 tsp. sea salt  (DO NOT ADD SALT AT FIRST!)

  Place water, flour, and Biga into the mixing bowl of your stand
  mixer.  Using the paddle attachment mix on medium speed for 4
  minutes. Now let the dough rest for 25-30 minutes. Toss in the
  salt and knead with the dough hook for 10 miutes on medium speed.
  Scrape dough into a covered container that has been sprayed with
  kitchen spray. Cover and let rise until it's bubbly. It will be
  about 4 times it's original size (about 1 -2 hours)

  Pre-heat your oven at 425f. for at
  least 30 minutes so that your baking
  stone gets well saturated with even
  heat. While the oven is heating pour
  and scrape the dough onto a very well
  floured surface. Using a spatula or
  scraper fold the dough over onto itself
  several times. Place it into a banneton
  or onto a piece of parchment paper. If
  you are using parchment place a rolled
  up dish towel under two sides to
  support the dough as it rises. Five
  minutes before baking pour a cup of
  hot water into the steam pan. When
  the  oven is ready turn out the dough
  from the banneton onto a piece of
  parchment. Spray the top with a mist
  of water. Using a peel or a flat sheet
  pan slide the dough onto the stone.
  Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden
  brown. Remove from oven and cool on a
  wire rack for 1 hour. Mangia!