Ciabatta is one of my favorite breads to make as we head towards spring and summer because it is a little lighter and goes so well with all of the fresh flavors coming our way. This is not to say it can’t handle sopping up a hearty tomato sauce or bean chili because let me tell you all that chewy airiness can do that juuuust fine.
It is also on the easier side of the actual bread making process as there is no fancy shaping technique – it is more of a lift and blob scenario. And because it has no defined shape if things go a bit sideways, no one will be any the wiser. I’ve had ones shaped like tennis rackets, ones that puffed up like soccer balls and others that look more like cricket bats. They were all eaten happily.
Below the recipe you will notice that there is a video, back when I had more time on my hands and fancied myself a budding videographer I Attempted one of me making ciabatta. I apologize for the weird music (mute is always an option) but hope it helps you along in your bread making. Pay particular attention to the shaping (or lift and blob) part and how they rise before going in the oven as i think that is the trickiest bit of this recipe.
I also recommend having a pizza stone for this as a nice hot surface for it to cook on is ideal but a baking sheet will work too in a pinch.
- 200g sourdough starter or 1 packet yeast*
- 575g / 2½ cups warm water
- 540g / 4½ cups all purpose flour
- 120g / 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 15g kosher salt
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the starter if using or the yeast to the warm water and stir or whisk to combine.
- Add the remaining ingredients.
- Using the dough hook, mix on low speed until it starts to form a dough. Increase the speed to med-hi and mix for about 10 minutes. By the end of kneading, the dough will look smooth and creamy with a glossy shine.
- Cover and let rise at room temperature for 2-3 hours.
- Dust your work surface heavily with flour. Set two sheets of parchment near your work surface and dust them with flour.
- Scrape the dough out of the bowl onto the flour, taking care not to deflate it too much. Dust the top of the dough with more flour. Using a pastry scraper or pizza wheel, cut the dough in two pieces.
- Use your bench scraper to gently fold the edges in and in one swift motion flip the dough over, putting it down on the parchment. Repeat with the second piece and flour the tops of the loaves generously.
- Let rise, uncovered for 30-40 minutes while you preheat the oven to 500˚F with the pizza stone or a baking sheet, making sure it is on the lower rack with plenty of room above.
- When ready to bake, slide the loaves, still on the parchment, onto a pizza peel or baking sheet. Transfer them to the oven to cook, sliding the loaves one at a time onto the stone or baking sheet. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until puffed and golden brown. Slip the parchment out from under the loaves and cool completely before eating.