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  • Writer's pictureErin

Ciabatta Bread

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This recipe is exactly the type of bread baking that makes you never want to buy store-bought ciabatta ever again.



Starter Prep Time: 10 min + Overnight Rising

Bread Prep Time: 115 min + 3.5 hrs Rising Time

Baking time: 20-25 min

Yield: 2 loaves or 8 buns





Ingredients

Bread Starter (Biga) - Make 24 hrs in advance to making dough (Yield : 2 cups Biga)

  • 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

  • 1 tsp granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup warm water

  • 1 cup water, room temperature

  • 2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

  • olive oil

Dough

  • 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

  • 3 tbsp warm milk

  • 3/4 cup water, room temperature

  • 2 tsp olive oil

  • 1 cup bread starter (Biga)

  • 2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 tsp sea salt


Directions

Bread Starter (Biga) - Make 24 hrs in advance to making dough

  1. Activate the 1/4 tsp dry yeast by combining the yeast, sugar and 1/4 cup warm water in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together and let rest for 5-10 min or until the yeast becomes frothy.

  2. Add the remaining water & flour. Mix until well combined, about 2 min.

  3. Transfer the starter to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a moist kitchen towel. Let rise for 6 to 24 hrs. The Biga should be tripled in volume and be wet and sticky. Now you are ready to make your dough.


Ciabatta Dough 

  1. Activate the 1/2 tsp dry yeast by combining the yeast with warm milk in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together and let rest for 5-10 min or until the yeast becomes frothy.

  2. Add the water, oil and Biga (bread starter) and stir together. Then add in the flour and salt and let the mixer knead the dough for 5 minutes. This is a sticky, wet dough.

  3. Wet your hands and transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with moist towel and let rise until doubled, about 1.5 hrs.

  4. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Rub a bit of olive oil on your counter top and your hands.

  5. Scrape the risen dough out of the bowl and onto the oiled counter top. Gently form the dough into two rectangular loaves or 8 smaller square buns. Place the formed loaves or buns on the parchment lined baking sheet.

  6. Cover the loaves with parchment paper and then a moist kitchen towel and let rise for 2hrs more.

  7. When ready for baking, pre-heat oven to 425F. Create a moist environment in your oven by adding a baking dish with 1 cup boiled water on the lower rack of your oven. Bake for 25 min (loaves) or 20 min (buns). Cool on a wire rack before serving.


Zhuzh it up!

  • The bread starter recipe makes about 2 cups and is enough for making two batches of ciabatta.

  • Add in 1/3 cup of fresh herbs, diced sundried tomatoes, olives or cheese to your dough to bump up that flavour.

  • If this sounds just a bit too involved for what you were thinking of making, check out the Focaccia Recipe instead - super delicious and requires less time!

  • Slice a whole loaf in half to create a delicious quick pizza for busy weeknights.

This amazing recipe was adapted from Italian Slipper Bread in A Cooks Tour of Italy by Joe Famularo

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