Why make your own Ciabatta Bread?

Cheap to make, stores well & incredibly tasty!

Ciabatta Bread is named after Ciabatta meaning 'slipper' in Italian, and refers to the shape of the  bread loaves.  The wet dough tends to slump and gives the characteristic low profile.   On trying this tender, almost salty traditional Italian Bread, with it's thin crispy chewy crust, you will be converted to always making your own. 

The storage longevity of this bread is excellent and impresses us time and again.  The Ciabatta bread is still more tender and fresh after 48 hours than most fresh store-bought Ciabatta Bread.  The ingredients are not expensive, and it is truly a gourmet bread when baked.

A chewy slice of fresh Ciabatta Bread is amazing wThe Best Freshly Baked Delicious Ciabatta Bread - Ready to EatCredit: Skeffling Lavender Farmith a little butter, or excellent for mopping up a tasty home-made marinara pasta sauce. 

The Ciabatta bread makes the most amazing grilled Panini-type sandwiches by Day 3. 

When it finally seems like the Ciabatta bread may be getting stale, cut the Ciabatta Bread into slices, brush with olive oil (infused with garlic and herbs) and quickly grill on the barbecue and sprinkle with sea salt.  It's heaven dipped in a melted brie!

Ciabatta Bread Making Ingredients

Makes 4 loaves (that will get eaten before they can go stale!)

Poolish (starter – gives a bit of a sour taste)

  • ½ tsp fresh compress yeast (I use 1.5 tsp dry active yeast)
  • 1 ½ cups water, at room temp
  • 12 oz (340g) bread flour (I use unbleached all-purpose flour)


  • 1 tsp fresh compressed yeast (I use 2 tsp dry active yeast)
  • 1 pint (480 ml) water, at room temp
  • 1 tbs + 2 tsp salt
  • 8 oz (225g) cake flour (I have used all-purpose or spelt flour)
  • 1 lb (455g) bread flour (I use unbleached all-purpose flour)
  • Coarsely ground corn meal

Ciabatta Bread Making Process

This is a two-part recipe for Ciabatta Bread and is a bit of a time commitment.  This Ciabatta dough will be wet and sticky throughout the process.  I have adapted the Ciabatta Bread recipe from 'The Pastry Chef' by Bo Fribergfor a household and given a few tips to get the best textured Ciabatta loaves.

Start with the Ciabatta Bread Poolish ingredients

In a large bowl, big enough to hold all the ingredients (I use a large mixing bowl – 12 inches across) dissolve the yeast in the water and then slowly mix in the flour by hand.  It will be very wet.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand for 12-14 hours.

To make the dough next day,

  1. Dissolve the yeast in water.  Add the dissolved yeast to the poolish in the bowl.  Mix by hand until combined.  Mix in salt.  Gradually add the cake flour and bread flour and continue mixing by hand until the flour is well incorporated.  The dough will be very wet and sticky.  Do not work the dough, just mix until blended. 
  2. Let the Ciabatta dough proof in bowl at room temperature for about 1 hour.  It should double in size.
  3. With the dough still in the bowl, flour your hands and pick up the dough from the bottom, fold the two opposite side in toward the center.  Repeat this time folding the other two sides.  Cover and proof for 30 minutes.   
  4. Turn the Ciabatta dough out onto a heavily floured surface.  Fold the four sides similar to step 4.  Clean the bowl and grease well. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover and proof for 30 minutes.
  5. Prepare two bread boards or sheet pans by cutting baking paper to make 4 pieces 16x6 inches (approx).  Place papers on the sheets/boards, two to a sheet, and dust heavily with flour.
  6. Turn the dough back out onto floured surface.  Stretch the dough into a rectangle approx 8x16 inches.  Be careful not to release the air bubbles as you shape the dough. 
  7. Using a pastry cutter or knife dipped in water, cut the dough into 4 equal pieces lengthways (8x4 inches).  Flour your hands and lift the pieces, one at a time, and place on well floured baking paper (stretch to fit as necessary to make an oblong shape). 
  8. Cover with towels and let proof until double in size – approx 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 425F.
  9. Preheat the surface you are going to cook the Ciabatta Bread on.  If you are using a stone or baking sheet, place them in the over for at least 15 minutes prior to when you are going to bake the Ciabatta Bread. 
  10. After the cooking surface is pre-heated, remove the pan, sprinkle liberally with cornmeal.  Carefully pick up each baking sheet and invert onto the baking surface.  Peel off the paper and place into the oven.  I normally use normal baking sheets as my cooking surface and place two Ciabatta Bread loaves per sheet.
  11. Turn on steam injectors and leave them on for 15 seconds with the damper closed.  Bake with the steam for 15 minutes.  Open the damper to remove the steam and bake for another 20 minutes.  If you do not have steam injectors (like me) you can place a pan with water on the bottom rack or spray the interior of the oven with water when you put the loaves in.  If you are using the pans, remove them after 15 minutes.  The steam will help give a nice firm crispy crust on the Ciabatta Bread. 
  12. Remove the Ciabatta Bread and place on cooling racks (after the 35 minutes total).  The bread is best eaten within 24 hours but after 48 hours it will still be better than the Ciabatta bread in the store. 

Try making your own Ciabatta Bread Today!

The Ciabtatta Bread is so delicious, this will be a favorite recipe!

This is delectable Ciabatta Bread!  Well worth the A cross-section of  delicious Ciabatta Bread - ready to eat, shows the traditional air holesCredit: Skeffling Lavender Farmeffort and the Ciabatta Bread recipe is adapted from this wonderful cookbook, The Professional Pastry Chef 

The recipes can be large as it is a recipe book for professional pastry chefs, but recipes are amazing.