Craig Ponsford Makes Ciabatta

(Click here for a home baker version of Craig’s pizza/ciabatta dough recipe, in case you want to try it and don’t have a large Hobart mixer or a LOT of friends to invite over! The dough produced with the technique below will be less firm and little tricker to shape than the home baker version, but equally delicious.)

This dough uses the poolish method and requires a LOT of water.  In the video above, master baker Craig Ponsford demonstrate the folding method mentioned & demonstrates how this dough takes on water over time.

The following version will make 30 ounces of dough (or 852 grams) or enough for three 10-ounce (284 grams) pizzas.  Recipe indicates both ounce and grams.

**If you would like to add olive oil (as Craig does in the video) reduce the water by 5% (or 1/3 cup) and add 5% (or 1/3 cup) olive oil.


Water #1(75 degrees)-  5 ounces – 142 grams

Hard Red Winter Wheat flour- 5 ounces- 142 grams

Instant yeast #1-  pinch

Dry Ingredients:

Hard Red Winter Wheat flour- 10 ounces- 279 grams

Pumpernickel-  .3 ounce- 9 grams

Sea Salt-      .45 ounce-  13 grams

To finish:

Water #2 (75 degrees)- 9.4 ounces- 266 grams

Instant yeast #2- 1/2 tsp- 1.4 grams

Check water temperature with thermometer.  Pour water into a bowl.  MIx in flour and yeast and mix with your hand working out any clumps with your fingers.  Set aside at room temperature for 7 hours.

Measure out dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

After 7 hours, scrape poolish into bowl of mixer.  Using water #2, pour into bowl that poolish was in and mix to include any residual poolish left in the bowl.  Pour into bowl along with yeast #2 and dry ingredients.  Mix on low for about a minute.  Then stop the machine and with a rubber spatula or dough scraper, scrape well along the sides and bottom of bowl.  Then mix on low for 3 minutes.  Increase to medium and mix for 3 minutes.

Scoop dough into a sprayed or lightly oiled rectangular or square container.  Fold dough from the bottom up one over one third of the dough.  Do the same with the other side, like an envelope.  Do this both horizontally and vertically.  Then flip over by putting hands under whole dough so folds are underneath.  Let rest, covered with a lid for an hour at room temperature.

Give another set of folds, let rest an hour, and give a final set of folds.

If you want to use right away, let rest for about 15-20 minutes before dividing into 10 ounce or 284 gram pieces.  Round pieces by tucking sides of dough under and let rest again before gently rolling out for pizza.

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13 Responses to Craig Ponsford Makes Ciabatta

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  3. Steve Craig says:

    I notice Craig used oil, but not in written recipe; what is the advantage of oil ingredient? Also, does this recipe work with HRWW that is not whole grain?

    Thanks for great video!

    • Olivia Marshall says:

      Hi Steve,
      thanks! Craig did use olive oil in the demo video, however he normally doesn’t. If you’d like to use oil, just reduce the amount of water by 1/3 cup (or about 5%) and add 1/3 cup olive oil. Adding the oil to the bread will help it stay moist longer (not dry out as quickly). In the video and in the recipe Craig uses Community Grains Hard Red Winter Wheat flour which is always 100% whole grain.

  4. Chilebrown says:

    I am excited to try your flour and make this recipe. What temperature is this bread baked at and for aprox how long. Should you use a baking stone. Thanks

    • Catherine Meng says:

      On the video it looks like Craig’s got his oven set to 462 degrees, using a stone would probably be a good idea…our test kitchen is suggesting 20-25 minutes bake time & then check how the crust is looking. Let us know how it turns out!

  5. C Klein says:

    Could you please explain the preference for utilizing the folding method instead of a longer mix time in the machine? In a large scale production facility, would you still use this method?

    Thank you

    • Catherine Meng says:

      Hi C.,
      Thanks for the question. I’m going to get in touch with Craig. I suspect it has something to do with the greater amount of water used and the gluten formation. But I’ll get an official answer from the master baker and let you know. Stay tuned.


    • Catherine Meng says:

      Hi C,

      Thanks for being patient. Craig’s response follows:

      “Mixing increased oxidation, bleaches the flour and take out flavonoids.

      It takes 20 to 25 min to mix a high hydrated dough. So it’s also very difficult to keep cool. And for long fermentation warm doughs are not a good thing.

      And yes folding dough in large production facilities is common.”

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  7. Randy Erickson says:

    Also looks like he used a Biga which is 50% hydration as his pre-ferment. Very different than Poolish.

    Would really like to see bakers percentages on this site. Use the BBGA style formulas.

  8. Roke Whitson says:

    Can you share the formula which is used in the video, using a biga instead of the poolish? Thanks!

  9. Joy Danzig says:

    I agree with Randy Erickson; baker’s percentages would be very helpful, and, yes, biga and poolish are not the same. Did he revise the formula after making the video?

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