Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman (for more, click photo to go to her blog)

Do we need a recipe for Chipotle-Corn Ciabatta?  I’m in the process of developing bread recipes, all kinds, working with sourdough, whole grain, the powerfully flavored rye, but I began with some basic flavored breads. This is one of my favorites because I am crazy for chipotles, and am devoted to corn, which goes great with chipotles.  Cilantro on top of that?  Good for color but optional if cilantro tastes like soap to you but I love it.

This is just the basic 5:3 bread ratio with flavors I love.  (For more on basic bread ratio, or any of my ratios, you can of course read this book.)  But really, you can flavor it any way you want to.  I like the ciabatta shape, Italian for slipper, a name marketed in Italy in the 1980s.  Cleveland’s own Orlando Bakery brought it stateside, according to Wikipedia.  I like the dough because of all the surface area; you get a lot of delicious crust.  It’s also a great starter bread because it’s a no brainer and very delicious.  (Frankly, you can simply make this without the corn or chipotles, just brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and bake, it’s delicious. This would also be a wonderful bread to grill.

Chipotle-Corn Ciabatta

20 ounces (4 cups) flour

12 ounces water

1 teaspoon active dry yeast

2 teaspoons salt

2 or 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, seeded and minced

2 tablespoons adobo sauce

1 cup corn (best if fresh)

olive oil

cilantro (optional)

—Combine the flour, water, yeast and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix on medium till the dough is smooth and elastic, 7 or 8 minutes.  Add the chipotles and adobo and continue to mix till it’s well incorporated.  The dough will become somewhat wet, just keep mixing or add a tablespoon of flour to give the dough some traction.  Add the corn and mix just till evenly distributed.

—Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and let it rise till doubled in size, 2 to 4 hours depending on the temperature of your kitchen.

—Knead the dough by hand to redistribute the yeast and release some of the gas.  Flatten into into a disc, cover it with a towel and let it rest, shhhh, for 10 minutes or so.  Then pull and stretch it into the shape of giant slipper or basic oval shape.  Cover it with a towel and let it proof for 45 minutes to an hour.

—Preheat your oven to 450 degrees (it had better be clean or it will smoke).

—Before baking it, stipple it all over, aggressively, with your fingers.  Rub it with olive oil and sprinkle it with some more kosher salt.  Bake on a sheet pan or baking stone till done, 30 to 40 minutes.

—Brush with more olive oil and sprinkle it with the cilantro.  I like to eat this while it’s still warm.


41 Wonderful responses to “Chipotle-Corn Ciabatta”

  • Elliott N Papineau

    4 Cups! I don’t even know how to compute that measurement. I think I need the Ratio App.

  • Paul C

    That looks really good … but I’d be tempted to call that something closer to a foccacia than a ciabatta. To me ( and I guess this is pretty subjective ) a ciabatta should be puffed up a bit more and have nice large air pockets in the crumb, plus a good dusting of flour ( traditionally it’s a wetter dough and the extra flour helps stop it sticking to the peel etc )…

    I make a sourdough ciabatta that I make with roughly the same 5/3 ratio, sometimes a 3/2 ratio if I want it a bit wetter, 12g salt ( per 500g flour), and a good dollop of sourdough starter. I mix the flour/water briefly and leave it for about an our, then I knead in the salt and sourdough. The initial rest really gives the gluten development a boost.

    I’ll let the sourdough double and a bit in size in an oiled glass mixing bowl ( 4 to 6 hours depending on conditions ) and then upturn it onto a heavily floured surface gently. I cut it in four with a bench scraper ( which works well as it seals the dough where it cuts it and helps stop let too much air out ). I then gently stretch out the dough a bit and flip it upside down.

    I put the oven on full blast with a pan of water in the bottom and a pizza stone, giving it about 30 minutes to get to heat. I then flip the dough over once more onto a peel and slide it on top of the stone.

    A quick spritz with a spray bottle of water and close it up. 20 minutes later it comes out perfectly cooked, puffed up nicely with a really wide open crumb…

    Sometimes there’s a bit too much flour on them, you just whack them a few times to get rid of the excess….

    can i post images tags in a comment? probably not….

  • Tinky

    This looks and sounds completely fabulous. I too adore both chipotle and corn. Corn JUST went by here so I will have to decide whether to wait until next year to try it or to use frozen. Thank you!

  • Marlene

    Gregg, I think you’ll be surprised at just how open the crumb is on this. Adding the chipotle really turns this into a characteristic wet cibatta dough, and surprisingly, the stippling doesn’t deflate it.

    Tinky, I wouldn’t wait. Fresh is certainly best, but it works quite well with frozen corn too!

  • Susan

    I make a pre ferment for all my breads now. It’s so easy, I make it just before I go to bed! I use a cup of the flour (sometimes sub in a 1/4 cup of rye flour) and a portion of the water and 1/4 tsp of yeast from the bread recipe and let it sit overnight before mixing it in with the rest of the yeast in the recipe the next afternoon. It really does give it a flavor boost. Your pic does look more like a focaccia, but maybe it’s the angle of the shot. How thick is it?

  • Rhonda

    Hilarious timing, Ruhlman.

    1. Because I was just discussing F. Scott Fitzgerald with a friend and FS always reminds me of you.

    2. Because I have been playing around with cornbread today and only have a couple of days to come up with something I like and haven’t eaten 10 million times before.

  • Laura

    Gee it really looks like ciabatta to me. The Foccacia I usually see looks soft with a less dry crust than this ciabatta. It looks great regardless.
    Please do a post on your sourdough experiments. I am 10 days in to a 20 day sourdough starter experiment. Started with organic grapes fermented for 3 days. Then it’s been flour and water twice a day ever since. I’m using it in a no knead sourdough recipe I found online. Even after only 10 days it rose strongly and I can’t wait to see how it bakes up after a day in the fridge.

    • Cecil

      Laura, It’s ready – bake something. Sourdough starter can be made from scratch in 3 to 5 days. 10 or 20 days is just a hand me down ritual — there is a lot of unnecessary mythology about sourdough that I’d like to eliminate. Learning how your starter works when fermenting bread and keeping the starter alive are the skills to develop.

      A yeast biga/poolish overnight as the above recipe instructs is not sourdough. For some breads the differences would be minor. I’ve used both methods. For pizza. I don’t find a lot of difference in taste. Focassia? Yes. Ciabatta? Yes. Worth the effort for sourdough? Maybe.

      • Laura

        Thanks for the new cooking terms to look up. My starter is not a biga because I had not made dough from it yet. It can be called a poolish, and since I do live in San Francisco I could call it a sourdough, but for now I will just call it my wild yeast starter and define it less in words and more in bread. So far the bread has a mild sour flavor and a very elastic crumb. The biscuits I made though had a much milder and sweeter flavor due in part to the additions of butter and milk and a little sugar in the recipe. I like both. I think I’m going to keep feeding one of them for the full 20 days and store one in the fridge since I can’t bake everyday. I also added Teff flour to one and will see if I can make a credible Ethiopian injera from it.

  • Carri

    It also looks delicious, I’m going to make this when I make ciabatta at work next week. will be a hit.

  • luis

    The thing about this bread I like is that it encourages me to add stuff to the dough and make something out of it other than ordinary bread.
    The next thing I commend you on is that you stuck to one herb.
    I have come to the conclusion that until I can tell herbs with my eyes closed I will refrain from using herb blends. You say chipotle and I may do roasted finelly chopped poblano?.
    On the bread book…. write and I will buy it!. All your bread tips work out fine for me.
    And the quick brine for the chicken turned out great as well….
    This recipe you posted got me thinking about arepas again which I do with the masa but essentiall the rest of your ingredients. I wonder how or if yeast would make a fluffier arepa? or if I need to add the proper ratio of flour to the masa?? Damm the kitchen is the most fun Lab I have ever worked in.

  • twoshoes

    well, this looks just wonderfully delicious and I will be giving it a try.
    I’ve been kinda queered on baking since failing twice w/ the dough for breadsticks from ad hoc. but I’ll try this one and maybe regain my confidence.

    mostly though I’m glad that I finally discovered donna’s photo tips. exactly the kind of thing I’ve been looking for. a tip of the hat (and drink) to her. thank you both.

  • Theresa

    Are you using bread flour or all purpose? This looks delicious, I will make it when I get back to the states and can find chipotle peppers again.

  • JB in San Diego

    Interesting discussion in the comments. I have a new question: Is the corn pre-cooked? chopped? Or do you just shave it off the cobb raw and throw it in?

    • luis

      That is a very interesting point.. when I chop it fresh off the cob I normally put the corn in a special microwave hinged receptacle to make eggs and I zap it with butter and salt for one or two minutes. But I wonder what Michael and others do with their veggies when using this layered approach.

  • Natalie Sztern

    You know the adage ‘be careful what you wish for’. Well, it happened; my son got a job in a large Polish bakery where the breads are made Artisan style. Of course he is not the baker, but the administrator and accountant; however he has now, on a few occasions, told me how he never knew how ‘sensuous’ baking really is. The kneading, he tells me, is totally therapeutic.

    I am, of course, ecstatic.

  • Skip

    A Mexican focaccia! We had it with chili rubbed flank steak last night and it was great! Thanks for the recipe.

  • ruhlman

    Ciabatta is the shape. Focaccia is usually rectangular, no? Also, it’s thicker and has a softer crumb (in my limited experience). I use milk in my focaccia for that reason. but I’m not an expert in italian breads. nor are italians as far as i’m concerned!

    • Carri

      It’s true that the term ciabatta refers to the shape of the loaves which is said to resemble a slipper, however it also refers to a specific type of dough. Ciabatta is a very wet dough that is ‘turned’ rather than kneaded and is usually made with a starter or a piece of leftover dough from the day before. The term focaccia is generally used for italian flat bread and can be made with any type of dough, though generally a spongy one. Whatever you call this, I have my ciabatta starter waiting and am making it at work today.

  • Dewey Decimal

    4 cups?? Arrrggghhhh!! I love and appreciate the recipes Micheal, but it’s high time that folks start using recipes based on WEIGHT (especially in baking) AND with METRIC SYSTEM units. Then again, I’m sure you’d get a lot more complaints if you did. Sigh… (pulling out conversion calculator…)

    • luis

      Dewey by NO means I want to say that weight in baking is not essential. Everyone says it is and therefore it must be.
      But as a home cook… I tell you I have done my limited thing both ways and some days I weigh and some days I don’t….just use my feel and other faculties.
      For what it’s worth this is something that goes along with the cook’s personality in the kitchen. One thing I will tell you. Ultimatelly the RATIO will be OBSERVED one way or the other if youi want to make something worth the making and eating. Just how closely… it is still an open question iin my mind.

  • Maven

    I am going to try this as it looks amazing. Thanks for another great and informational blog!
    ps… I brined my chicken using your method and it was fabulous. I will never roast chicken without it again.

  • Shelly

    Sounds very tasty! I wish there were an alternate recipe for those of us who do not own a stand mixer with dough hook.

  • Roberta Schwartz Wennik

    Michael, I loved your book, Ratio. What you do with that book is akin to the Chinese proverb, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” If more people understood the basis of cooking, they could be more adventuresome – more willing to try things on their own instead of always relying on a cookbook. “Free-to-be-me” cooking is so much more fun and I think people would find they would actually enjoy cooking if they read your book, Ratio.


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