Ciabatta Bread

Homemade Ciabatta Bread

Delicious Homemade Ciabatta Bread is not nearly as hard to make at home as you may think!

If you’re anything like me, the weekends are when I really dig in to cooking and baking projects. The weekdays are just for getting through as quickly and easily as possible and usually not the time to I feel like wrestling with bread dough. So in that spirit, I thought I’d share a great recipe for making this delicious ciabatta bread recipe this weekend. It’s not nearly as hard to make as you might think.

I’m not going to lie though, this is probably not the bread that should be your first bread-baking experience. It’s somewhat unique in both it’s consistency and method. That’s not to say it’s hard – just different :)

This bread starts with a yeast “starter” dough. I like to mix up quickly before going to bed and letting it bubble away on the counter over-night. Then the next morning, I can just carry on with making the bread.

Homemade Ciabatta Bread

Once you mix the dough, you’re immediately going to notice that you have more of a batter than a dough. Resist the urge to add more flour at this point. The secret to those great holes it to have a really moist dough and the more flour you add, the more you’ll be defeating that. That said, you will need to add some flour along the way here. Purists will suggest flouring your hands (or even wetting them to deal with the dough). That’s great advice if you have lots of experience with wet dough. For the rest of us, a sprinkling of flour here and there is a sanity saver!

Even as you move along with this dough, it will resemble a jiggly mass that seems to be barely holding it’s shape. Again, just go with it as much as you can, adding only enough flour to remove the stickiness.

Cook’s Notes for Homemade Ciabatta Bread

I cannot recommend the use of a silicone bowl scraper enough when dealing with this dough. It’s worth picking one up for this bread for sure – it’s a sanity saver! A metal bench scraper sprayed with cooking oil will also work. If all else fails, a large silicon spatula would be my choice. All these tools will allow you to work this dough without actually touching it with your hands, which is a bonus when working with a sticky dough.

More bread recipes

Pear and Walnut Focaccia, Sesame Seed Millet Bread, Maple White Sandwich Bread or visit my Bread Recipe Board on Pinterest for more inspiration!

Homemade Ciabatta Bread

Ciabatta Bread

Homemade Ciabatta Bread

Course: Bread
Cuisine: American, Canadian
Keyword: homemade ciabatta bread recipe
Prep Time: 3 hours
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 2 loaves
Energy: 689 kcal
Author: Jennifer

This bread is very moist and loose, but only use as much additional flour as you need to be able to handle it without it sticking. Be sure to start your starter dough 8-12 hours ahead of when you want to make your bread. 

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Ingredients

Yeast Starter Dough: (Start 8-12 hours ahead - the night before works perfectly)

  • 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup water room temperature
  • 1 cup bread or all-purpose flour

Ciabatta Dough:

  • 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup water room temperature
  • All of the Yeast Starter Dough From Above plus the following:
  • 2 cups bread or all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. For the Yeast Starter Dough: Combine all ingredients in a 1-quart (4-cubowl and stir well. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit at room temperature for 8-12 hours (overnight works perfectly).
  2. For the Ciabatta Dough: In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, stir the yeast in to the water. Add all of the Yeast Starter Dough that you made earlier and has been sitting. Mix briefly. Add the flour and salt and mix to combine. Beat on medium-low for 3 minutes. Stop the mixer and let dough rest for 10 minutes. Beat again on medium-low for 3 minutes. Stop again and let dough rest for 10 minutes.

  3. Remove dough to a lightly oiled bowl large enough to hold double the amount of dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest until it starts to puff up, about 30-45 minutes.
  4. Using a silicone bowl scraper or spatula, scrape the dough on to a well-floured work surface. Have a cup of flour handy to use. Sprinkle the top of the dough with some flour. Using your silicone bowl scraper, scoop up one edge of the dough and fold it over the top of the dough to reach the middle. Scoop up the opposite edge and scoop it up to cover the fold you just made. Add some more flour to your board and the top of the dough (just enough to control stickiness). Let dough rest for 15 minutes and then repeat this same folding. Let rest another 15 minutes. Flour board and top of dough and roughly shape in to an 8x8-inch square. Using a sharp knife, cut your dough into two 4x8-inch rectangles. Flour the top of the dough then cover with a tea towel and allow to rise until puffy, about 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 475° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or grease well). When dough is risen, using a bench scraper or silicon spatula and your hand, gently lift the loaves to the prepared baking sheet, being careful not to deflate.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until deep golden brown and the internal temperature is over 200° Transfer to a cooling rack to cool.

Recipe Notes

Be sure to read the "Cook's Notes" in the original post, for more tips, options, substitutions and variations for this recipe!

 

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37 Comments



  • Wonderful recipe! I have been trying to make a fluffy sourdough bread and this did the trick. I used my sourdough started for the yeast starter dough. I placed the dough on parchment paper on a baking sheet for the final rise, so I would not have to move it after the final rise. I also added a pan of hot water for steam in the oven. Thanks!

  • When I mix bread dough, is it best to use a glass bowl,or stainless,or does it make any difference? When I watched the food channel it looks like they always have a glass or ceramic bowl. Amateur bread maker, Pete!

    • Hi Peter, I always use my stainless steel stand mixer bowl to mix the dough and my large, glass measuring cups to rise it in (only because it allows me to easily see when dough has doubled). As far as I know, it makes no difference at all. I suspect they may use glass on tv so the viewer can see the process more clearly.

  • I have a sourdough starter always on hand. Could I use that as the starter for this bread or do you think it would give too much of a sour flavor? Your site looks amazing and I have tagged a number of recipes to try :)

    • Hi Michelle and thanks very much :) I think the taste would be fine with a sourdough starter. To make sure the bread is active enough to develop the large holes, I’d maybe still add a little extra yeast to it. Let me know how it works out if you try it!

    • Hi Norma. Salt’s only role in bread is for flavouring, so you could omit it all together if you wanted. That said I’d try using half as much next time and see how that tastes to you.

  • i love making my own bread at home. Nothing comes close to freshly baked at home loaf of bread. I haven’t made ciabatta before, but I do not know why not after seeing how simple it really is! I need to get myself a bench scraper first, of course!

    • Same here, Amanda. Even with all the bread I’ve baked over the years, the smell and taste of homemade bread is still intoxicating! Look for a silicone bench scraper (or bowl scraper). You’ll find you’ll use it a lot for other things, too :)

  • I’ve been admiring this bread for a couple of days now and I need to tell you that it looks perfect! I plan to be up to my shoulders in bread dough tomorrow and this one will fit right on in with the group. Luckily it is designed to wait until the following day for baking. :)

    • This dough reminds me so much of that silly putty stuff my kids used to play with. It’s definitely jiggly. And I know jiggly ;)

  • How did you know? Ciabatta is my favorite bread, I’m so glad you posted this recipe. I’ve gotten the bread baking bug lately, too, but I’m going in the opposite direction from this beautiful loaf — I made bread in the crock pot yesterday! I was dealing with a very wet dough, too, and I like your suggestions for handling it.

    • A silicone scraper is the only way to go with this dough, Sue. My goal is to never have to touch the dough with my hands, because that’s when things go south ;)

    • Thanks Amanda. This bread was delicious. It didn’t last long here. Was great just out of hand with a smear of butter :)

I love hearing from you, so if you have a question or something isn't quite clear, I'm happy to help. If you made this recipe, I'd love to know how you liked it ~ Jennifer

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