Homemade Ciabatta


Everything about my new favourite bread recipe is the best thing ever.

The aroma coming from the oven, the soft, delicate crust encasing large pockets and a perfect crumb, as well as the contented faces of everyone who tries it while still slightly warm from the oven.

As I often do, I have someone to thank for originally sending the recipe my way.  This time, I am beholden to Lori, an online friend and fellow chef who lives in Louisiana.  Lori and I chat for a few moments (or hours) everyday.  We’ve even been known to conduct simultaneous cross-continent baking experiments, sending each other pictures of our efforts to compare and contrast.

We made this bread together the first time too — for a little courage — but really, we needn’t have worried.  It’s wetter and stickier than any other dough I’ve ever worked with, but with a well-floured board and dough scraper, it’s workable.  Trust me.  While your first effort may be slightly ugly, your subsequent batches will have your family and friends asking where the new local artisanal bakery is.


: Homemade Ciabatta

: Giant bubbles and a golden crust. Adapted from The Fresh Loaf

 Variation 1

  • All-Purpose Flour – 500g
  • Instant Yeast – 10 ml (2 tsp)
  • Salt – 7 ml (1½ tsp)
  • Warm Water – 475g

Variation 2 (Semolina)

  • All-Purpose Flour – 350g
  • Semolina Flour – 150g
  • Instant Yeast – 10 ml (2 tsp)
  • Salt – 7 ml (1½ tsp)
  • Warm Water – 475g
  1. In a standing mixer, mix all ingredients on low speed with the paddle until just combined. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  2. With the paddle, beat the batter on medium-high speed. It will start out like pancake batter but in 10 to 30 minutes it will set up and work like a very sticky dough. If it starts climbing too soon, then switch to the hook. It’s done when it releases from the sides of the bowl, starts to climb up the hook/paddle, and just comes off the bottom of the bowl. (Mine took 28 minutes on medium speed, and 13 minutes on medium-high.)
  3. Place into a well oiled bowl, cover and let it triple! it must triple! (about 2.5 hours).
  4. Use well-floured dough scraper to empty the very wet dough onto a well-floured counter and cut into 3 or 4 even pieces. Spray with oil and dust with lots of flour. Proof for about 45-60 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 260°C/500°F while the dough proofs.
  6. After 45-60 minutes, when loaves are puffy and wobbly, it’s time to shape the loaves. In one fluid motion, pick up and stretch each loaf to an oblong rectangle about 10″ long and flip them upside down (this redistributes the bubbles, so you get even bubbles throughout), onto parchment or a heavily floured peel. Try to do it in one motion and be gentle. You may think you’ve ruined them completely, but the oven spring will set everything right.
  7. Bake in 2 batches until they are light golden and 96°C/205°F in the center, about 15-20 minutes, turning the pan halfway through. A spray of water on each side of the oven as you put the dough into the oven will steam the crusts a little for a more authentic crust.
  8. Cool at least 30 minutes before serving.

Preparation time: 4 hour(s)

Cooking time: 20 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 3 or 4 small loaves

Copyright © 2009-2012 Island Vittles/Theresa Carle-Sanders. Don’t Steal – Karma’s Real.


16 thoughts on “Homemade Ciabatta

  1. JZ

    I insist, demand, make, force, coerce, and require Lori to make this bread every few days. It is delicious. When I hear the slapping in the kitchen, my mouth starts watering like one of Pavlov’s dogs. It goes great with Saskatoon Jelly, too.

  2. Peter

    This looks great. I think I’ll have to give it a try this weekend as it looks like it would go very well with the pot of chili I’m planning on making; although, at a hydration rate of 95% it looks a bit daunting/messy too.
    Have you ever tried cold fermenting the dough for a few days before baking with it? I find that the added time in the fridge does wonders for improving the flavor of my pizza dough, so it might have some value here as well. (If you don’t know the process) substitute cold water for warm, mix in a cold bowl, and then wrap it up and let it sit in the fridge for 3-5 days. Take it out, let it rise, etc on the day you plan to bake but allow additional time for the dough to come to room temp and rise.

    1. Theresa Post author

      Hi Peter! It’s a little gloopy, but I promise you after the first batch you’ll be a bread artist. It already sounds like you’re quite the baker! I do cold ferment a lot of my doughs…including this one for the first time last week.

      The dough is delicious without the extra time, but there was a definite burst of flavour after 2 days spent in the fridge.

      1. Peter

        Yep, a bit gloopy but not unmanageable.

        I’ve made the bread twice now and it has come out consistently well each time. For the first attempt I simply followed the directions (something I usually have a hard time doing) and did it all in an afternoon (and served it with a rich cioppino). For the second attempt, I fermented the dough for 4 days. The fermented dough definitely had an improved flavor and the overall texture of the crust was darker and richer in appearance (as well as aroma). The only other deviation from your recipe is that I used 00 Italian pizza flour for the dough (requires approximately 100g-to-150g more flour to get a dough ball to form) and I baked it on one of these:

        In the end, a great recipe. Thanks for sharing it.

      2. Theresa Post author

        thanks for the review, Peter! I’m glad you liked it too. I have fermented in the fridge for a couple of days, and really enjoyed the extra flavour. I’ll watch for the darker crust next time. Thank you for sharing your experiences with this dough. Theresa

  3. Bev

    I am wondering if you know of a source of flour with less gluten. I am not looking for gluten free but after some research, found that European flour has less gluten than ours. (Love the baguette in France) Rogers Flour makes one but only sells it commercially to bakeries. It is for a health reason that I ask and also, gluten free doesn’t really cut it!

    1. Theresa Post author

      Bread flour, as well as Cake & Pastry flour, have less protein (aka gluten) than All-purpose flour…but other than that, I’m afraid I don’t know where you can find low-gluten flour. Best of luck in your hunt!

    1. Carol Mackey

      Hungarian flour (grown here in Colorado, though) has made it to King Soopers (aka Kroger, and others). Haven’t tried it yet, but I have heard that some European flours can work better for folks with a sensitivity to gluten.

  4. Pingback: Zuni Cafe Roasted Chicken with Bread Salad | little white apron

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *