Times for Dom's Pane Francese

Bill44's picture

Hi Dom,
I must have got hold of a fast starter, due to overproofing problems with one of my newish ( 4 weeks old) starters I cut the time from "mix and leave as a ragged mess" to "form the loaf" down from 4 hours to 3 hours, that is I formed the loaf straight after the last "stretch and fold".
Then I cut the final proof time to 3 hours. Bingo, good oven rise and very nice holes.
This also means I can make a loaf "from getting the bits out of the cupboard" to "taking it out of the oven" in under 7 hours.

This refers to your original recipe using the biga. I found with the biga that if you extend its ferment time to about 18 hours (instead of 12 hours overnight) you get a stronger sour taste. The actual hydration of that starter is 63.64% so it should be good for even longer than 18 hours, and still be active enough to use.

6 users have voted.


SourDom 2006 March 15


you have experimented with this recipe more than I have.

Dan Lepard has a nifty technique for assessing how long to leave dough for the first prove. He slashes the dough - looking for a network of small bubbles below the surface. Using this method means that the individual nature of the dough (and starter and room temperature) will determine the length of time that you leave the dough - rather than strictly (and blindly) following a recipe.
I confess that I don't always stick to this. My baking has to fit around too many other things, and sometimes I need to put the dough in the fridge so that I can go out or go to bed.
The second prove is very dependent upon room temperature, and I try now to underprove rather than overprove. So, like you I would probably err on the shorter side in terms of timing. I still find it hard to pick when a dough is right to bake, but am slowly getting a better feel for it.

When I have some head space I would like to go back to Carol Field and have another go at her Ciabatta and try to make a sourdough version. I have not had great joy with either a yeasted or sourdough ciabatta yet. Anyone have any suggestions?


Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 March 16

With rising time I read a little test somewhere. I mixed up a 150gm batch of dough and put it in a glass jar and timed how long it took to double in size. I just adjust rising time for the temperature of the day.
I did a loaf the other day that had about 2 tablespoons of starter @ 140% hydration in an 800gm dough. It was supposed to take 12 -15 hours to proof but it was ready in 8. By this time there was a roast in the oven so by the time the oven was free it was 10 1/2 hours and I ended up with a brick. Will try again.

Anonymous 2006 March 22

Sourdough Ciabatta

2 days to make

Lean, rustic sourdough

Yield 2 large Ciabatta.


50 gm sourdough culture, refreshed and active - I keep mine at 150% hydration so 50 gm is an easy quantity for calculating flour and water weights. I use Ed Wood's San Francisco Sourdough Culture.
25 gm Rye flour
205 gm white, 12% protein white flour
370 gm water at 45C (can be lower, not much higher though.)

Whisk all the ingredients to a thick batter, in your mixer bowl and leave, loosely covered, in a warm place, overnight.

These quantities in my kitchen, give a batter temperature of about 27C which is cooled rapidly, by the stainless steel bowl I use, to 25C. By the next day, the starter should be frothy, very bubbly, and sour-smelling. (A polite way of putting it. Actually, it smells like the Black Lagooon<g>)


The starter
50 gm wholewheat "bread" flour.
200 gm white flour as above
10 gm salt

Mix all the ingredients, with the hook, on low to combine and then turn the mixer up to medium , Kenwood 3, and mix until the dough clears the bottom of the bowl, this sourdough version does that a LOT quicker than the commercial yeast version I make. 5 - 10minutes should be enough. Dough temperature was 20C.

Tip out onto a well floured counter and give the dough 6 Stretch 'n' Fold cycles at 10 minute intervals, using flour as necessary leave to double, cut into 2 strips and stretch and fold into rough squares. Proof to about 1 1/2times or 2 if you're feeling confident, seam up, on a heavily floured surface. Invert, stretch to Ciabatta shape and bake immediately, no recovery, at max turned down straight away to 220C. 15-20 minutes, internal temp at least 95C. Stones, no steam.

First rise took 2 hours, second rise just under 3 but times will, I suspect, vary.

The hydration is high but the dough is extremely elastic after the stretch and fold cycles and is surprisingly resistant to deflation



bethesdabakers's picture
bethesdabakers 2006 March 22

Hail King of Glop,

Good to know you're still cruising cyberspace in search of an argument.

At the time you posted this on breadbakers.net a couple of years ago I seem to recall baking this with an overnight rise straight from the fridge with some success. Must give it another go.

Best wishes,


SourDom 2006 March 22


thanks for this. I look forward to giving it a try.

This weekend I have plans to try Mick's sourdough hot cross buns


Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 March 23

Yes, I'm keen to get the buns under way too, I usually stock the freezer with them, they thaw realy quick as you toast them.
At the moment I'm in the process of bringing back to life a starter that was sent to me this week from the US. It does have a very interesting smell, I hope it carries through to the taste. Full report in a few days.

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