• Paul Foreman

Sourdough.....it's time!

I've officially had enough of sourdough. Don't get me wrong, it's a great bread, but it's time to move on, good bye, fuck off!

There are so many great breads out there that have been sitting in the background waiting for the 'king' to fall. That day has come.

Ciabatta, is the new king and reign it must!

I was introduced to this recipe (or at least a version of this recipe) by great chef and friend, Alistair Wise.

Waaaay back in the Marque IV days, Alistair did a stint with us while waiting to head up the pastry department in Gordon Ramsey's New York hotel. What started out as a 2 month stint, extended to 8 months, as the hotel's renovations fell behind. Not so great for Alistair, but great for us!

This recipe is super easy, but requires patience.


Makes approx. 10 - 12 loaves


Stage One

Poolish - this is the 'wet dough/starter' made 24 hours prior to the base dough.

500g Bakers flour or plain flour

500ml warm water

5g fresh yeast.

Stage Two

Primary dough

2kg Bakers flour or plain flour

1.2 litres warm water

15g fresh yeast

15g sea salt

30g caster sugar


Stage One

  1. Add yeast to warm water and combine well.

  2. Sift flour, add yeast water and roughly mix until a wet dough is formed.

  3. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 24 hours. You can extend this time for a richer, yeastier bread.

N/B The dough will double in size, so make sure to store in a large container.

Stage Two

  1. Add the yeast to the warm water and combine well. Let sit for 20 minutes or until the liquid begins to foam.

  2. Sift flour, add sea salt and sugar into a large bowl or bench area. Combine well.

  3. Add approx. half of the yeast water and roughly mix. At this point add the Poolish.

  4. Combine well and add remaining yeast water. The dough should be relatively wet but still malleable and hold it's form. This is the stage that extra flavours can be added. For example: roast garlic; black garlic; herbs; fennel seeds etc.

  5. Knead the dough for 5-6 minutes.

  6. Once the dough has formed, cover with a damp cloth or cling film and store in a warm area for 60 minutes. To stop the dough sticking to the cloth or cling film, lightly cover the dough with olive oil.

  7. After 60 minutes, you will need to knock back and fold the dough. This will strengthen the gluten and help to form those sexy bubbles in the bread and create a beautiful 'crumb'.

  8. Repeat this process 3-4 times over a 3 hour period.

  9. Lightly flour your work bench and evenly portion the dough into 400g lots

  10. Hand roll out each portion into the shape of a sausage, then fold each end into the centre and roll out again. This will be the end result, so make it sexy!

  11. Place each portion onto a lightly floured baking tray, dust with more flour (or semolina for a coarser finish) N/B make sure to leave enough room for the ciabatta to rise. approx. 10cm.

  12. Proof/Prove the ciabatta for approx. 20 minutes in a warm area.

  13. Place the Ciabatta into a hot oven (280 degrees C) for 20 - 25 minutes until well coloured and hollow when knocked.

  14. Set aside to cool on a large cake rack.

N/B This recipe makes a substantial amount of ciabatta, so freeze what you wont use.

To regenerate the ciabatta, pull out of the freezer, quickly run under cold water and place into a hot oven for 8-10 minutes.

All Hail to the King!!

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A memory that will forever stay with me... Check out these recipes. https://chefsandtheteamaker.dilmahtea.com/group/chefs/paul-foreman/ Cheers, Paul x