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Flaxseed Ciabatta – for World Baking Day 2012

Flaxseed Ciabatta

For World Bread Day today, I decided to bake up some Ciabatta. I had completely forgotten it was WBD until I saw postings on FaceBook and I thought I had better do something quick. Well, quick doesn’t work too well for sourdough…but I had a vigorous fed starter and some motherdough which was two days old… so I thought some Flaxseed Ciabatta with a tiny pinch of commercial yeast would do the trick. I am not one to use commercial yeast often, but in the spirit of WBD, I thought I would make an exception this time.


Flaxseed Ciabatta  – 3 lbs 2 oz at 83.2 %

Prepare Flaxseed mixture:

Take 3 oz of golden flaxseed and toast lightly in a medium sized heavy bottomed skillet. When the flaxseeds start jumping, add 3 oz of water, remove from heat, stir and allow the mixture to cool down a bit (can be warm).


  • 100% hydration levain – 5 oz/141g
  • 60% motherdough aged two days – 10 oz/283g
  • Warm(105F- 110F) filtered water – 13 oz/368g  ( reserve 2 of the ounces/56g to add after autolyse)
  • Commercial yeast – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Oil – .5 oz/14g
  • Bread flour 8 oz/226g
  • All Purpose  flour 8 oz/226g (reserve 4 oz/113g to add to the dough after autolyse)
  • Sea salt – .5 oz/14g

In a mixing container add your 100% starter and your 60% motherdough. Then add 11 oz/311g of the warm water and commercial yeast. Stir gently just to wet the yeast.

Add starter, motherdough and water first

Add all of the flour except 4 oz. Incorporate and allow the dough to set for one hour. Then add the reserved flour, reserved water, oil, salt and flaxseed mixture.

Dough after mixing

Incorporate with your hands until your dough is well mixed. Cover the dough and fold it at least four times during bulk fermentation, but leave it alone the last hour of fermentation. Bulk ferment five hours.

Dough after bulk ferment

Heat oven to 450F for one hour. Heat your roasting lid before placing it over your dough. After bulk ferment, turn out  your dough and do not fold it or press out the bubbles.

Turn dough upside down, cut into four pieces

Cut the dough into four pieces and place in heavily floured couche. Proof dough one hour as your oven is heating.

Proof one hour

I was able to bake two loaves under my large roaster pan. I baked them at 450F for 10 minutes and then removed the roaster lid. I then baked the loaves for another 15 minutes. You don’t need to spray these loaves with water, just cover them with a lid for the first 10 minutes of baking time.

Sometimes bakers tug on the dough lengthwise before flipping it onto the hot stone, sometimes they don’t. So I tried both ways and here was the result:

No tugging:

No tugging on dough before baking


Tugging or pulling lengthwise before baking

The pulling of the dough before baking sure seems to open up the crumb and result in larger holes to me. Anyway, I had a lot of fun. The dough was wonderful and felt silky smooth, like all of the Flax seed dough I have worked with.

Dang I have missed baking at home. I don’t have as much time anymore. However, with the bakery where I work cutting back on hours and soon to be shutting for the winter, I should be back baking in my own kitchen. I will miss the commercial oven though… I am spoiled now.. 🙂

World Bread Day 2012 - 7th edition! Bake loaf of bread on October 16 and blog about it!

To find out more about World Bread Day 2012 see here: World Bread Day 2012


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    May 25, 2013    

    where did the levain come from — i have the mother dough but do not understand about the levain —,is this made ahead of time and how far —??? — confused — help —THANKS AS ALWAYS FOR YOUR HELP —


    • northwestsourdoughnorthwestsourdough
      May 26, 2013    

      Hi Tony, Levain is just another word for sourdough starter or a build of your formula.

  2. ChristyChristy
    January 28, 2013    

    Thank you Teresa! I made the Flaxseed Ciabatta today and it turned out so good. I was worried because I was going to make it the other day and just got to busy. My mother dough was 4 days old instead of 2, but the flavor was incredible! The family ate the first two loafs in like 15 minutes! It does have a very silky texture 🙂 I do have a question, so for how long can the mother dough be stored?

    • northwestsourdoughnorthwestsourdough
      January 29, 2013    

      Hi Christy, the lower hydration motherdough’s can be used for a long time. I have a 60% motherdough that I am going to use tomorrow and I made it up Jan 14. As long as it still has good gluten quality and is not like glue, you can use it.

      However, the older it gets, the more you need to use it as a flavor and texture addition and not use it as leaven. I often will use a young vigorous starter @ 100% hydration along with an older motherdough @ 60% hydration.

  3. PaulPaul
    January 16, 2013    

    Your recipe calls for 60% motherdough aged two days. I’m not sure I know what this is so I can’t try this one.

    • northwestsourdoughnorthwestsourdough
      January 16, 2013    

      oops, sorry. To make a pound of motherdough, mix 4 oz of vigorous starter at 100% hydration, 4 oz water and 8 oz of flour. Mix all together into a dough ball and refrigerate covered, for two to three days or more. Then you have a pound of ripe motherdough.

    • northwestsourdoughnorthwestsourdough
      January 16, 2013    

      oops, sorry. To make a pound of 60 % motherdough, mix 4 oz of vigorous starter at 100% hydration, 4 oz water and 8 oz of flour. Mix all together into a dough ball and refrigerate covered, for two to three days or more. Then you have a pound of ripe motherdough.

  4. October 26, 2012    

    I would like to be able bake such perfect Ciabatta “on the go”, like you did. I mean, it sounds and looks so easy. 😉 Well done! Thank you for baking for Word Bread Day . Hope you will join us next year again!

  5. October 18, 2012    

    Wow, Teresa! Only you could pull that trick! Start baking right on WBD and come up with such a gorgeous bread. Congratulations! The ciabatta is magnificent and that crumb! To die for…

    • northwestsourdoughnorthwestsourdough
      October 18, 2012    

      Thank you MC. I almost missed WBD! It seems so easy to get a great crumb when using flax seeds. It also helps to have a hydration calculator to come up with new formulas quickly. 😉

  6. breadsongbreadsong
    October 16, 2012    

    Hi Teresa,
    What absolutely beautiful flaxseed ciabatta, for World Bread Day!
    Looks like you had a lovely, sunny day for baking…
    :^) breadsong

    • northwestsourdoughnorthwestsourdough
      October 17, 2012    

      Thanks Breadsong, it was a sunny day, I lucked out!

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