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Stale bread

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Is there anything I can add while making ciabatta that will stop it from going stale so fast?
post #2 of 11

I'm a big fan of the no knead stuff.
<really long story omitted......>
try some ascorbic acid - vitamin C - "Fresh Fruit" type labels in the canning supplies section.

I use 1/8 teaspoon in 430 gm flour batch - it helps my "artisan loaves" in "non-staling" but I can't tell you why or how . . . . yeah, not "much" for the effect - what,, a fractional gram in 400+?

vit C is one of those "recognized" dough conditioners that exists in urban bakery legend with no one really knowing the hows/whys/wherefores thereofs. oh, must add,,,, that I can find.....
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks! I'll try adding some to my next batch of bread.
post #4 of 11

Lee, how much water is in the recipe? (can you express it in weight against the weight of the flour or bakers percentage?). A more "wet" dough will stale much more slowly. I do a 95% hydration ciabatta.

Other tips: Don't put bread in the fridge, this speeds staling.

Are you doing an autolyse, which is a fancy term for let the flour and the water sit a bit to fully soak in before proceeding with the rest of the ingredients and process.

BTW, Vitamin C is a dough condititioner (fast acting oxidizer) that has other effects, its use is usually NOT to reduce staling. It does other things like reinforcing the gluten structure, balancing elasticity with extensibility. There are other dough conditioners for reducing staling, such as enzymes.

I don't use any anti-staling agents, I use "clean" formulas and get an anti-staling effect from baking higher hydration doughs, using natural yeasts, and quite a few other aspects of technique.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
I use the recipes in the Bread Baker's Apprentice:
The Poolish is 11.25 ounces (by weight) bread flour to 12 ounces (by weight) of water.

The dough is 13.5 ounces (by weight) bread flour to 3-6 ounces (by weight) of water plus 22.75 ounces (by weight) of poolish.

In order to get the right consistency I have to add at least 1 more ounce of water as my flour seems very dry. If I don't add additional water the poolish and the dough are unworkable.

I've also made the whole wheat bread and the three versions of white bread in this book. All came out great but they go stale so very quickly - they come out of the oven at dinner time and taste stale by next day' lunch.

I don't keep them in the refrigerator. In plastic bags - one loaf to eat, one into the freezer for later.

Any help will be greatly appreciated.
post #6 of 11
so the total formula assuming you use the max water is about 18 oz water / 24.75 flour if I calculated correctly, that's 72.7% hydration. So compared with my 95% water, that's a dry ciabatt. Lots of people use the 70-85% range range for ciabatta, if you want it to keep longer, use higher water IMO, I like to get close to 100% but just under. This will take some getting used to in terms of handling such a wet dough, and also in terms of making happy gluten, folding or whatever.

Here is a link for you for a good recipe to start from for a ciabatta that wet. Now I do more to get more flavor in terms of the ferment. I would suggest you make it exactly as the recipe says the first time, there are very detailed instructions for you. (I'd try the semolina variation first, it will have a little more oven spring for you).

Then if you want more flavor you can use the same formula but do a preferment or sourdough or whatever. If you use natural yeast sourdough (which you can still supplement with a small amount of commercial yeast in the final dough), you will also get an even longer keeping quality if that's important to you. But the increased water will help a great deal.

Jason's Quick Coccodrillo Ciabatta Bread | The Fresh Loaf
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the information and the site. I'll try the semolina version tomorrow.
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
I used the recipe for the semolina ciabatta and it tastes great. Didn't get as much oven spring as i expected but will try again. Thanks for all you help!
post #9 of 11
stir it up, obviously has a good handle on what's going on. I've never heard of using vitamin C to retard staling either, although it does help prevent mold and bacterial growth. It also adds a bit of tang -- not so much on its own but by helping less yeast do more work. The standard measure is 1/8 tsp per pound of flour.

There are several regional variations to ciabatta. Sourness, crust-crackle, size of the holes in the crumb, all vary. The American version, very crusty and big holes in the crumb, isn't all that common. I'd forgotten that Reinhart used a poolish for his, I'd remembered a biga.

I'll post a recipe today for an Italian style olive bread which isn't really a ciabatta recipe, but the loaves are probably best shaped that way. You may want to try it. You can read a little about how the recipe was developed here:

Good luck,
post #10 of 11
apparently I've left the impression that ascorbic acid is used to retard staling.

unintentional / oversight / bit of a long story....

in my quest to produce a really echtes broetchen I tripped across this site:
Rezepte mit Brötchen + Foto + Info
which and whereupon the poster apparently copied down all the "schufft" in a commercial broetchen flour mix at some unspecified german bakery.

examining the list of "additives" I got fixated on vitamin C - secondarily because it is cited in technical baking resources as a "dough conditioner" and primarily because I'm prone to not eating a lot of better living through chemistry.

so I gave the vit C a go - got better loft and softer interior crumb.

the "does not stale so fast" is strictly an observed side effect.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the clarification. I'll try adding some vitamin c in my next test batch.
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