To prepare sponge, lightly spoon 1 cup flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine 1 cup flour and next 4 ingredients (1 cup flour through 1 package of yeast) in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Cover; chill 12 hours.
To prepare dough, let sponge stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Lightly spoon 3 1/2 cups bread flour and 1/2 cup semolina flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Add 3 cups bread flour, 1/2 cup semolina flour, 3/4 cup warm water, 1/2 cup warm milk, salt, and 1 package yeast to sponge, and stir well to form a soft dough. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes), and add enough of remaining bread flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands. Divide dough in half.
Working with 1 portion at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent drying), roll each into a 13 x 5-inch oval. Place, 3 inches apart, on a large baking sheet sprinkled with 2 tablespoons semolina flour. Taper ends of dough to form a "slipper." Sprinkle 1 tablespoon semolina flour over dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 425º.
Uncover dough. Bake at 425º for 18 minutes or until the loaves are lightly browned and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from pan, and cool on a wire rack.
This was my first attempt at making bread from scratch. I found it easy to do and the taste was great. I did not get the hard crust that I am used to with store bought Ciabatta so I'm not sure if it was something I did wrong. I will make it again. I love to use it for French Toast.
Easy enough to make and taste good. I had a little trouble with my loaves touching after the second rising. I ended up with one unattractive loaf. My plastic also stuck in a few areas and deflated the dough when I pulled it off. I guess it wasn't my day to make bread, but I pressed on figuring I could get the general idea and decide if it would be worth trying again. I made as instructed. I would recommend baking each on its own sheet. I used a pretty big baking sheet and it was still too small. I probably won't make again. I'll stick to buying the occasional loaf of Ciabatta.
Excellent flavor. I couldn't find semolina flour anywhere, so just used bread flour. The result is probably a bit softer than it would have been otherwise, but my family liked it just the same. My son commented that it tastes like a baguette. I didn't bother trying for the slipper thing, which seems a bit frou-frou. The loaf was still pleasantly rustic and irregular in shape, and quite tasty. The 12-hour sponge process really does make a difference.
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