For me, Ciabatta always awakens holiday feelings. And with the right recipe, the Italian white bread tastes just like it does in Italy! If you want to make your own homemade Ciabatta Bread, you only need a few ingredients. No extensive baking experience - just a little time. The reward for resting on the dough is a super fluffy bread with coarse pores and a delicious crust!
Today we're bringing back some of the holiday feelings to our kitchens. We are making a traditional Ciabatta Bread with an original Italian recipe. It is not very complicated - you just have to let the dough rise long enough. And it is a nice experience to see how this bread works with much less yeast.
Are you excited? Then lets get started!
About this recipe
We live close to the southern German border, and Italy has been a regular holiday destination for decades (as probably for many German families). So you kind of grow up with original Italian Pizza, Pasta, and Ciabatta bread. So similar like Pizza, we started to make our own homemade Ciabatta Bread and love it!
Even though Ciabatta Bread may look like a regular white bread in a longish shape, it is still unique. Sure, there are also quick ciabatta recipes that work with a lot of yeast. But you will only get an original ciabatta like from Italy if you have more patience.
Besides the addition of olive oil, it differs from conventional white bread recipes. The dough is relatively moist. It is left to rise overnight at room temperature.
It must not be kneaded before baking. Then you get the coarse structure and the typical uneven pores in the finished bread. Just like you know it from your holidays.
I've been talking a lot about yeast. It is (almost) irrelevant, eventually whether you bake this Ciabatta with dry yeast or fresh yeast. I always prefer fresh yeast. You can find tips for converting this in my basic yeast dough recipe.
How to make Ciabatta
When you decide to make Ciabatta bread, you should plan this, as you need to factor in the long resting time. Here is how it works for me:
On the evening before baking the bread, start making the pre-dough. To do this, dissolve the yeast in lukewarm water. Then, mix it with flour and knead briefly. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rise for about 16 hours.
On the next morning, dissolve the yeast in water. Mix your pre-dough with sugar, flour, oil, salt, and pre-dough. Let knead for 5-10 minutes.
The mixture is somewhat moist. Cover the bowl again with foil or similar and let it rise at room temperature for another 1-2 hours.
Now your dough is ready. Cut the dough in half. Form two elongated small loaves on a strongly floured work surface or rather carefully "push together." The dough should not be kneaded anymore.
Put it on a baking sheet covered with baking paper. Leave to rise for another 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 230 degrees top and bottom heat. Bake the Ciabatta for 20-25 minutes.
The perfect Ciabatta is then ready for lunch. What a pleasure! Whether with salad or soup, as a basis for bruschetta and easy pure with some butter or good oil.
When you form the ciabatta bread, you don't knead the dough anymore. Since it is quite moist, it is best to "push" it together on a floured work surface to form two longish loaves. The flour also results in the rustic look of the finished bread. At high temperature, the bread is placed in the oven for a good 20 minutes.
Homemade Italian Ciabatta Bread
For the pre-dough
- 5 grams (0.2 oz) yeast, fresh
- 125 ml (0.5 cups) water, lukewarm
- 220 grams (1.8 cups) all-purpose flour
For the main dough
- 10 grams (0.4 oz) yeast, fresh
- 220 ml (15 tablespoon) water, lukewarm
- 280 grams (2.2 cups) all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons salt, or more to taste
- 1 pinch sugar
- For the pre-dough, dissolve the yeast in lukewarm water. Mix with flour and knead briefly. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rise for about 16 hours, e.g. overnight.
- For the main dough, dissolve the yeast in water. Mix with sugar, flour, oil, salt and pre-dough. Let knead for 5-10 minutes. The dough is rather moist. Cover the bowl again with foil or similar and let it rise at room temperature for another 1-2 hours.
- Cut the dough in half. Form two elongated small loaves on a strongly floured work surface or rather carefully "push together". The dough should not be kneaded anymore. Put it on a baking sheet covered with baking paper. Leave to rise for another 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 450°F / 230°C. Bake the ciabatta for 20-25 minutes.
- Schedule: I usually put the pre-dough on in the evening (about 5-6 pm). The next morning I prepare the main dough. In the late morning, I shape the breads and bake them to match the lunch.
- Alternatives: If you like, you can refine the ciabatta with finely chopped olives, walnuts, dried tomatoes, spices, or similar.
- Storage: the bread tastes best fresh, but can also be frozen.
The basic recipe for Ciabatta can be modified at will. How about Ciabatta with olives or Ciabatta with tomatoes? Walnuts, fresh herbs, or an Italian spice mixture also make an edible dough.
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