Hoping that each and everyone of you are staying at home, safe and with abundance of positive vibes in this challenging time. And now that everybody seems to have plenty of time in their hands, here comes this crystal bread or some people say that it's the Spanish style ciabatta.
So if you're into making your own bread, you have got to try this super easy (yes, no fancy techniques involved) crystal bread.
Let's start, shall we?
What Is Crystal Bread?
Crystal bread was developed and born in Barcelona, more specifically by the baker Jordi Nomen from Concept Pa Bakery, around 10 years ago. It has lots of similarities to the traditional ciabatta bread, which came from Italy.
So if you've been to Barcelona, you might have eaten this crystal bread. And actually that's how I get to know about it.
We had to go to Barcelona by the end of January and had to stay there for more than 10 days. We had breakfast almost every single day at this amazing small coffee shop and there they served this crystal bread (amongst other delicious things). The girl at the counter told us the name of the bread (maybe because we were so fascinated by it?) and from that moment I've been looking on how in the world do I make this amazing crystal bread at home. Haha!
I'm happy that I get to make it now, under these circumstances, and share it with you.
Ok, but what makes it a crystal bread and not ciabatta bread?
This bread has a finer translucent crust, thus its name, crystal bread.
It's also with high hydration percentage, which can go up to 90%. With this recipe I'm making it until almost that, which is 89% hydration.
This crystal bread is known for having very light crumbs with large air pockets. You can see it yourself in the photos. Aren't they fascinating to watch? Or it is just me?
For its high hydration characteristic, this bread is made using high protein flour (or bread flour) to help with the absorption of the large amount of liquid.
Although you can enjoy this bread with whatever you like (of course!), this crystal bread is said to be specifically developed to enjoy with a splash of extra virgin olive oil, grated fresh tomato and a sprinkle of salt. Yum!
It's Easier Than You Think
I know lots of us are very intimidated to make our own bread, more with this artisan type of bread. Well you know what? Don't.
This is one of the easiest artisan breads that I've tried making. I even managed to got it right on the first try.
This recipe uses super basic ingredients. Bread flour, salt, yeast, water and olive oil. That's all folks! All that it needs is time (we have plenty of that now, right?).
Just watch the video below and make it. It's super satisfying, seriously. Let me know what you think.
And yes, don't forget to tag me in your Instagram photos if you've made it. These days I've been receiving many photos, tags from all of you that are making these:
- No-knead focaccia bread
- Healthy banana oat muffins
- Fast no-knead multi seed bread
- Whole wheat English muffins
- Chocolate sour cream bundt cake
- Devil's food cake
Keep them coming! If you follow me in Instagram, I also share my quarantine cookings. Haha! Tag me to yours also!
This crystal bread is:
- a Spanish style ciabatta
- easier to make than you think
- perfect for breakfast, well or anytime!
- uses only few basic ingredients
- very satisfying to make
- of course, DELICIOUS! I mean, hello?
Crystal Bread (Spanish style ciabatta bread)
- 10 oz bread flour (280 g)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup water (250 ml), room temperature
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast (3 g)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Add flour and salt into your standing mixing bowl with a hook attachment. Start the machine on low speed and pour the water bit by bit. You will get a very liquid mixture that's not properly mixed. Don't worry.
- Use medium speed and continue kneading until everything is well combined and you have a smooth mixture. Lower the speed and add in instant yeast. Use medium speed again to mix well.
- Finally lower the speed and add in olive oil. Give it one last mix on medium speed.
- Pour dough into a generously greased container, use a spatula to help scrape everything out. Cover the container tightly with a cling film. Leave at room temperature for 1 hour.
- Fold the dough into an envelope (refer to the video above). Wet both hands to handle it better. Cover again with cling film and leave it for 45 minutes. Then do the folding for the second time. Finally spray some oil on dough and cover the container with a greased cling film. We don't want the dough sticking to it. Place in the fridge for 12 hours.
- Take out dough from the fridge and leave for 15 minutes to bring it to room temperature. Meanwhile preheat oven at 480ºF (250ºC), use bottom heat, place an empty tray at the bottom of the oven. Also bring a small pot of water to a boil.
- Flip the dough on top of a generously floured baking sheet on a baking tray. Sprinkle more flour on top. Now using a dough cutter/scrapper, gently cut into 3 loaves. Try not to deflate the dough. Gently separate those loaves apart from each other.
- Pour boiling water into the empty hot tray in the oven to create steam. Immediately place the baking tray with loaves on the lowest rack and bake for 10 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 390ºF (200ºC) and continue baking for another 12 minutes or until golden brown and the loaves sound hallow when tapped.
- Remove from the oven and cool completely on a rack before slicing. This crystal bread is perfect as toast for breakfast. Enjoy!
Absolutely perfect, and the overnight proof in the fridge makes timings so much easier.
First experience of pan de cristal was in Tast restaurant in Manchester and thanks to you I can now recreate for guests at home.
True, overnight proof makes everything easier! I'm happy to hear that you're enjoying it, thank you for your feedback, Elaine! If you love this, perhaps you'd also love our focaccia ;).
I love this bread. I haven't been to Barcelona, but did spend some time in other southern Spain cities. This was always as breakfasts. Should it be baked in a regular oven and not a convection oven (with a fan)?
Yea? That's awesome. We're based in south Spain also 😁. And yes, bake it with conventional mode, without the fan. Hope it helps and enjoy!
Omg!!!!! The bread came out so good. Just like the one I ate in Barcelona. The outside is crispy and crunchy and inside is soft and airy.
I already ate one whole loaf out of 3 with fresh tomatoes garlic and olive oil. Will def make it again. So delicious 🤤
Awesome, happy to hear that! Yes, that's the traditional combo here, my husband's breakfast everyday 😂. If you liked this then perhaps you'd also like my artisan focaccia. Thanks Joanne!
S. Kim says
How do I use sourdough starter in place of the yeast?
I haven't tried it with sourdough, sorry though!
I do not have a stand mixer. How do I make this by hand?
Hi! You can do it by hand by mixing/kneading until you get the textures mentioned in the recipe above (regardless the minutes). Hope it helps!
John Fox says
I am an avid Baker of ciabbata so can't wait to bake this bread and try it on my Spanish friends at work. They keep asking me to make it so I will surprise them. Thanks for sharing the recipe.
I hope everybody loves this as much as we do. Since you've made ciabbata so I'm sure this will come out super easy for you. Thank you John!
Girish Fatnani says
This sounds great, cant wait to make it this weekend
That's great! Have fun and hope you'll like it!
great I'm going to try this recipe soon.
Do try, Lynsey! Everybody who've tried it just loved it 🙌😍!
After a huge success with your no knead focaccia I decided to try this. I'm glad that I did because the bread was amazing. Huge thanks!!
I'm happy to hear that. Thank you Reid!
Delicious. I loved the feel of the dough while making it. I converted it to sourdough.
Glad you liked it, thank you Alan!