Ciabatta Bread

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs much as it is true that one should not judge a book by its cover, you can safely go about life judging a good Ciabatta by the holes in its crumb! And this is one particular instance when size does matter: the bigger the holes, the better the loaf…The secret to a perfect Ciabatta is in the percentage of water in the dough, a dough that is sticky, wet and fun to manipulate. This is not your classic “knead for ten minutes” dough. In fact, you hardly have to knead it at all. So, where’s the catch? No, catch. Ciabatta, it turns out, is a home-baker’s new best friend.

INGREDIENTS , if using  dry yeast

450 gr (3 3/4 cups) of flour

350 ml (1 1/4 cup) water at room temperature

a tablespoon of olive oil

1 scant tablespoon of dry yeast

2 teaspoons of salt


1. In a large bowl, mix together flour, water oil and yeast. When the yeast is well incorporated, add the salt.

2. Mix vigorously with a spatula or with a standing mixer fitter with a paddle attachment for 5-10 minutes or until the dough is shiny and slightly elastic. It will be sticky and wet. Put in an oiled bowl to prove for 30 minutes, then stretch it with wet hands and fold it onto itself and leave to rest. At this stage you have two options: place the covered bowl in the fridge to slow prove overnight , or for a minimum of 10 hours, or prove at room temperature, in a warm spot, for a further 1 1/2-2 hours or until doubled in size. Slow proving will add flavour and will ensure you a moist soft crumb, but you will still have a worthy ciabatta if you skip that stage. Up to you and your own time management, really! Once the dough has proven, you will notice that lovely air bubbles will have formed. Don’t burst them, they hold the secret to the formation of those coveted holes. Tip the dough onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper, stretch it gently with floured hands and dimple the top lightly.


3. Place a metal bowl or a small skillet in the oven and bring the oven temperature to to 200 C (395 F)

4.  Insert the bread tray into the hot oven, pour a glass of cold water into the skillet to create steam, close the oven door and bake for 30-35 minutes or until risen, golden and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped. You may need to flip the bread upside down to ensure even baking according to your oven.  Cool at room temperature over a wire rack for at least 1 hour before slicing away to reveal that holey, moist crumb.


You can also make Ciabatta using an active sourdough starter. The flavour and longevity of your bread will be incomparably better.

Follow this link if you wish to make your sourdough starter

Sourdough ciabatta 

In a large non-metal bowl mix 230 gr (1 cup) of sourdough, 380 (3 cups) gr of plain flour and 260 ml (1 cup) of filtered water at room temperature and a tablespoon of olive oil. When the ingredients are well amalgamated, add 2 teaspoonsof salt and mix well with a wooden spoon. Cover your bowl with either a lid or oiled cling wrap and let it rest overnight. Be mindful not to leave your dough to prove in a drafty spot. In the morning your dough will have more than doubled its volume. Using a spatula, scrape it onto an oven tray lined with grease-proof paper, dust the top with a little flour and let it prove for an hour or two. The proceed as step 4. You will find that your ciabatta will not puff up much in the oven, it will stay quite flat, like a slipper, hence its name (ciabatta means slipper in Italian)

As hard as it will be, allow to cool down before you attempt to slice it…



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46 Comments Add yours

  1. That is one good looking loaf of bread. I would definitely enjoy eating this.

  2. Kim Forni says:

    What a gorgeous piece of work. Ciabatta is my all time favorite, saving this recipe, and thank you!!

    1. My pleasure , Kim!

  3. Joe says:

    Thanks from Joe in Ohio, USA, made this several times with the yeast recipe, loved it!

    1. Oh, thanks Jo, very happy to know this!

  4. vickie says:

    ciao e usando lievito fresco, quanto ce ne andrebbe?

    1. Ciao Vicky, un panetto da 23 gr!

      1. vickie says:

        grazie Silvia!

  5. Beautiful!! As a fellow Italian, I will definitely be making this!

  6. Vito Bagarella says:

    Ciao Silvia!!!! How good is this bread (ciabatta) with pasta? Frutti di mare to be exact.

    1. It is excellent to mop up the sauce at the bottom of the plate. My favorite thing ever!

  7. sanvitolocapo091 says:

    Ciao Silvia!!!! Would Ciabatta bread go good with Frutti Di Mare??

    1. OMG! YES! Save some for me please!

  8. Another great recipe – I tried the yeast version with feta, sundried tomato and chilli flakes – yummy!

    1. Oh, that sounds incredible!

  9. Valerie says:

    The equivalent of 350 mL of water is 1 1/2 cups. i found it needed that much water to become sticky. I tried this recipe, but it took about 10 minutes longer in my over, and could have stayed in for longer than that. I am looking forward to going at it again. I liked that it did not require a mixer.

    1. Dear Valerie,
      1 cup equals 250 ml, so 1-1/2 cups equals 375 ml. All flours vary slightly, as do ovens, so it is always better to adapt recipes to suit what you are cooking with, just like you did. Thanks for you feedback!

  10. Angie says:

    Just made this today to go with some beef stew and it was wonderful! Made the yeast version and though I had to add a little more water and let it bake about 10 min longer I always figure one has to adjust for a million variables. Most definitely a keeper! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thanks Angela! So glad it worked for you. I’m about to mix a loaf myself…

  11. Sally says:

    I just realised that I’ve never tried making ciabatta. Yours has inspired me to have a go.

    1. I’m sure you can only improve on my method!

  12. tinkodaat says:

    the 2nd ingredient reads:
    350 ml (1 1/4 cup)
    what does that mean? I am ready to make this recipe but I don’t get what that means.

    1. Fair enough, it looks like I forgot to type in a relevant piece of information! Water, that is. Thank you.

  13. ladybren says:

    Made this for dinner Sunday 3/24
    came out wonderful
    your recipe was so easy to follow!

    1. So happy to hear it!Would have loved to see a photo. Thank you for letting me know. Happy Easter!

  14. Anna says:

    I tried out this recipe for the first time, today. Well, it was a success! My boyfriend and I enjoyed it with our beautiful cheese….Yum. I love your recipes, especially your bread ones.

    1. Dear Anna, that is fantastic! Keep baking!

  15. Jan says:

    Hi Silvia,
    I’ve been loving your recipes!! I’ve been wanting to take the step and bake some bread and am going to try your Ciabatta, I’ve got it in the fridge, first steps done!! I was wondering if you would mind me putting your name and recipe on my new blog
    Thanks again for the beautiful blog.
    Warm regards

    1. Hi Jan! I am really curious to see how it turns out. Please let me know. Of course you can link my recipe on your lovely blog.
      All the best

      1. Jan says:

        Thanks for your reply Silvia!
        Here is the link to see how it all went
        Any thoughts on how to get it more ‘holy’?
        Thanks again,Jan

      2. Hi Jen,
        you’ve got some good holes in there! You should be proud, it’s not easy to get a holey crumb. perhaps next time, Take the bowl out of the fridge in the morning and rest it at room temp for 1 hour or so before you put it into the oven. The dough looked like it may have needed a little extra prooving time. But, other than that, it looks amazing!

  16. Linda says:

    I did the quick rise and it worked beautifully for a first attempt. Very easy method. Can’t wait to try again. Only problem is showing restraint. 2 adults and 2 small children polished it off for Sunday dinner!

    1. Hi Linda!
      Yes, that is what happens to my ciabatta bread too… I always make tow batches of dough and let one slow-prove in the fridge to bake the next day!
      All the best

  17. Enrique says:

    Silvia: We have to make you a monument for your loving contribution to our well being and marvelous eating.
    Thank you.

    1. Enrique says:

      Question: What’s the reason for the steam?

      1. Good question! The steam created the necessary humidity to encourage an even, crunchy crust and a fluffy, moist crumb.
        Thanks for visiting!

    2. Oh, bless you for saying that!

  18. Joanna says:

    Hi Silvia,I love made in Italy. A question I made the ciabatta yesterday but only used a quarter to half teaspoon of yeast as you showed in program,it hasn’t risen overnight in fridge. The recipe on this page shows a tablespoon of yeast, I’m confused as to which way to go.

  19. Kori Pressnell says:

    Thank you for this recipe – it’s a great hit at my house! I made the sourdough version into sandwich rolls. Delicious!

  20. Sandra says:

    Hi Silvia,
    Firstly, LOVE all of your recipes!
    Secondly, I’m going to make your ciabatta recipe using sourdough (I have a sourdough obsession), and I read both methods. When I rest overnight, do I rest the sourdough version in the fridge like the yeast version or leave it at room temperature?
    Thank you,

  21. Silvia mac says:

    I love making your cia attached, I am now a sourdough fan , and have converted most of my friends too

    1. I love to hear this!!

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