Homemade Ciabatta Bread. Delicious homemade ciabatta bread is easier than you might think! All you need for your ciabatta bread is a few basic ingredients, and a little time. I added a lot of pictures to this recipe to make it more easy to follow, because ciabatta bread is not a recipe I would usually recommend for a beginner bread maker.
January 2022 update, I have created a version of this ciabatta bread for the dutch oven! I'm happy to say that the texture is so perfect in this version. I included a video with directions on how to make dutch oven ciabatta. And, separate directions in the recipe card.
My Homemade Ciabatta Bread Recipe is:
- Crispy on the outside
- Chewy on the inside
- No dutch oven needed
So I just got a standing mixer (an AMAZING gift from my husband) and I am BEYOND excited! I feel like a real chef now! I have always dreamed of having a standing mixer in my kitchen and I finally do! So, I have been making soo many bread recipes. I literally made 3 different kinds of dough in the first day I had it. 🙂 Can you see I'm excited! One of those was a homemade ciabatta bread recipe that I found online from the brown eyed baker. And to my delight, it came out ABSOLUTELY PERFECT the first time! So I have to give her a lot of credit for an amazing recipe and clear directions.
A few things I changed though: I used bread flour instead of all-purpose flour and I used plain yogurt instead of milk.
HOMEMADE CIABATTA BREAD INGREDIENTS
- All purpose flour
- Instant yeast
- Bread flour
- Pink sea salt
- Plain yogurt
- Olive oil
EQUIPMENT NEEDED TO MAKE HOMEMADE CIABATTA BREAD
- Standing mixer
- Baking tray
- Parchment paper
- Spray bottle
While you can absolutely make ciabatta bread by hand, a standing mixer saves you a ton of time and muscle power! 🙂
TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST EVER CIABATTA BREAD RECIPE
MAKE THE SPONGE RIGHT IN THE BOWL OF YOUR STANDING MIXER. Once your sponge has doubled in size, you can add the rest of your ingredients right to it.
COVER YOUR SPONGE TIGHTLY WITH PLASTIC WRAP OR OTHER AIRTIGHT COVER. This helps to create a warm environment for your sponge to rise.
RISE YOUR DOUGH WRAPPED IN A TOWEL IN YOUR OVEN. Keep your oven turned off, but if you have a drafty house, this extra insulation will help a lot with rising ciabatta properly.
DON'T SKIP STRETCH AND FOLD. Stretching and folding bread dough redistributes the yeast and helps to strengthen the dough.
SPRAY YOUR DOUGH WITH WATER. This is important to create a crispy ciabatta bread without a dutch oven. The spray bottle of water introduces moisture, which creates that signature bread shell.
What makes ciabatta bread different?
Unlike other Italian bread recipes, ciabatta bread is made with a pre-ferment (called a sponge). This extra fermentation time helps to give you that delicious ciabatta bread taste with big airy holes.
What is the difference between all-purpose flour & bread flour?
Bread flour has a higher percentage of protein than all-purpose flour has. This means that you will get more of a rise with bread flour. And because of the higher protein content you will get that iconic chewy ciabatta bread texture.
How do you get big holes in ciabatta?
If you want big holes in your ciabatta bread, you have to stretch and fold the dough every 60 minutes during the first rise of the ciabatta bread. The first rise time may vary depending on the temperature of your kitchen and if it is summer time or winter time.
Next, you have to be very gentle when you are shaping the loaf during the second rise so that you don't pop any of the holes.
Can you leave your ciabatta dough overnight?
While you need to leave your sponge a good 8-24 hours to ferment, I wouldn't recommend leaving your actual ciabatta dough overnight. If your bread sits too long, the gluten can actually weaken and you will not get a nice rise and texture after baking. Over-proofed bread often has a gummy and crumbly texture because the gluten was over developed.
However, some people will leave their dough in the fridge overnight so they can bake it fresh in the morning. Putting your dough in the fridge will slow down the gluten development.
But, I still prefer the bread when it is made fresh and not stored in the fridge!
Does ciabatta need steam?
Yes! Ciabatta bread needs steam while baking. Similar to cooking your sourdough bread in a dutch oven in the first part of baking, spraying ciabatta bread during the first couple of minutes help to create that signature crispy shell.
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE CIABATTA BREAD WITH A DUTCH OVEN
Watch my new video for a new ciabatta bread technique for a delicious crispy crust and chewy center. I updated couple things in this technique, so if you are going to make ciabatta bread in the dutch oven, follow the steps in the video.
If you want to make ciabatta bread without a dutch oven, follow the steps in my video below! Or, read the bottom of the recipe card, where I have included updated instructions for the dutch oven version.
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE CIABATTA BREAD WITHOUT A DUTCH OVEN
Homemade ciabatta bread takes a bit of time, but it is well worth it! The first stage is the pre-ferment. You will be mixing flour with water and yeast and letting it sit up to 24 hours, so plan accordingly.
STEP 1: Make the Pre-ferment (Sponge):
A sponge is kind of like a sour dough.. except you only ferment it for ~8-24 hours. It gets those yeast activated for a lot of bubbles and rise in your final product. And since it is not fermented as long as sour dough, you won't have that "sour" dough taste. I love sour dough, but some people don't ! So this is perfect if you want the texture without the sour!
HOW TO MAKE A CIABATTA BREAD SPONGE
Mix the ingredients for your sponge together in a large bowl.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ⅛ tsp instant yeast
- ½ cup water at room temperature
I like to mix them right in the bowl of my standing mixer so I can add the other ingredients the next day.
Mix with a wooden spoon until a ball comes together.
Next, cover your sponge TIGHTLY with either plastic wrap or a beeswax wrap (environmentally friendly plastic wrap alternative). You don't want any air sneaking in while it ferments.
Let it sit out at room temperature for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours (shorter for warmer kitchens, longer for colder kitchens).
The best way to do it is to make it in the evening before you want to make your ciabatta bread.
This is what mine looked like after ~10 hours:
STEP 2: Make the Dough:
Fit your standing mixer with a paddle.
If you are mixing your dough by hand, skip this section and read below.
Add all your other ingredients for the dough:
- 2 cups bread flour
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp instant yeast
- ¾ cup water at room temperature
- ¼ cup plain yogurt
Set your mixer to a LOW speed and mix for ~1 minute. You can turn it off and scrape it as you need.
Increase the speed to medium low and mix for ~4-6 minutes, or until the the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and forms a uniform mass.
It should look like this:
Your dough will be pretty thin looking! I know it's tempting, but don't add more flour. It will come together the longer you knead!
Next, change your attachment to the hook.
Set the speed to medium low and let it mix for about 10 minutes.
You will see the dough staying together even better and it should look shiny.
It will still be pretty thin/sticky but it should be very strong! You can test the dough strength by pulling the hook up and seeing if your dough stays together.
It should look like this:
Gently transfer your dough into a clean bowl.
If you are mixing your dough by hand: mix your dough with lightly floured hands in the bowl until it is shiny and elastic. You can do the "stretch test" to see if it is done by pulling the dough and if it does not break in half easily, it is strong enough and you can quit kneading.
STEP 3: Rise and Fold the Dough
Cover the bowl tightly and let it sit somewhere warm for 1 hour.
Before 1 hour:
After 1 hour it will double in size:
Drizzle the dough with a 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Rub the oil all over the surface of the dough.
Next, stretch and fold the dough 6-8 times (stretch up and towards the center, pulling the dough away from the sides). Make sure to be VERY GENTLE with your dough so none of those bubbles are deflated.
Cover the bowl and let it rise again for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Repeat the stretch and fold process again 1 more time with another tablespoon of olive oil & rise again for 30 minutes, covered tightly.
Finally, turn your dough onto the floured surface of a clean counter.
Cut the dough in half with a floured knife.
Flouring a knife helps it to prevent from sticking to your delicate dough!
Gently press each half into the shape of a 12 x 6 rectangle.
TRY NOT TO DEFLATE ANY BUBBLES!
Fold each piece up like a letter: turning the two shorter ends into the middle.
Place your folded dough on a parchment paper lined tray (seam side down) and let it rise by the warm stove for ~30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, flour your fingers. Gently poke the entire surface of each loaf to form a 10 x 6 rectangle.
**TRY NOT TO DEFLATE THE BUBBLES
Finally your ciabatta bread is ready for baking!
How to bake Ciabatta Bread:
Spray your ciabatta bread loaf with water before putting it in the oven.
During the first 5 minutes of baking spray it again 3 times. This is about every 1.5 minutes. Make sure to rotate the pan as you spray it so that all sides of the loaf get wet. Spraying is important and creates steam in the oven to get a nice crispy crust.
After spraying it a final third time, bake for an additional 22 minutes or until it is golden brown.
Allow your bread to cool on a wire rack.
This homemade ciabatta bread is my new favorite recipe!!
It is soooo spongy you can squeeze it and it bounces right back into shape!!
Non-dutch oven ciabatta:
Dutch oven ciabatta:
How to use up your ciabatta bread:
More bread recipes you might like:
If you make this recipe, please be sure to tag your photo #thehintofrosemary on Instagram and leave me a rating in the recipe card!
Homemade Ciabatta Bread (dutch oven and no dutch oven versions)
For the sponge:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (unbleached unenriched) sub white wheat flour
- ⅛ teaspoon instant yeast
- ½ cup water at room temperature
For the dough
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- ½-1 cup all-purpose flour or white wheat flour
How to make the ciabatta sponge (aka pre ferment):
- In a bowl add the 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, ⅛ teaspoon instant yeast, and ½ cup of room temperature water.
- Mix until it forms a ball.
- Cover your bowl tightly with plastic wrap (or a beeswax wrap like I use to be eco friendly). A thick towel also works.
- Let your sponge sit at room temperature for 8-24 hours or until it looks very bubbly and has tripled in size.(the warmer your kitchen, the faster it will ferment & form air bubbles)
How to make the ciabatta bread dough:
- In the bowl of a standing mixer, add 2 cups of bread flour, 1 ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon instant yeast, ¾ cup room temperature water, ¼ cup plain yogurt, and the sponge.
- Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for ~1 minute. Turn the mixer off and scrape the bowl as needed.
- Increase the speed to medium low and mix for ~4-6 minutes, or until the the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and forms a uniform mass.
- Change to a hook attachment.
- Mix on medium low speed for ~10 minutes or until the dough becomes shiny and comes together more.
- The dough will be very sticky.
- Carefully transfer the dough to a clean bowl. Cover it with a towel and let it rise somewhere warm for ~1 hour.
- Drizzle the top of the dough with ~1 tablespoon olive oil (or just wet your hand). Rub the oil over the dough. Stretch & fold the dough 6-8 times in the bowl. Cover the dough again and let it rise ~30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, repeat the step above one more time.
- **SKIP TO BOTTOM NOW IF YOU ARE MAKING DUTCH OVEN CIABATTA**After the second 30 minutes, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F and line 2 trays with parchment paper. Sprinkle flour across a clean counter top.
- Transfer the dough to the floured surface. Cut the dough in half with a floured knife (this helps prevent the dough from sticking to the knife).
- ***BE VERY GENTLE WITH YOUR DOUGH. TRY TO KEEP ALL THE AIR BUBBLES INTACT.
- Stretch each of the halves into a rough 12x6 inch rectangle. **TRY NOT TO DEFLATE THE BUBBLES.
- Fold the rectangle like you would a letter (in thirds): the first short side towards the middle, then the last side on top of the middle.
- Transfer your dough to the parchment paper lined trays (seam side down) and let them rise ~30 minutes. I like to let them rise on top of or near the stove where it's warm.
- After 30 minutes, flour your fingers. Gently poke the entire surface to form a 10x6 rectangle. **TRY NOT TO DEFLATE THE BUBBLESNow it is time to bake your ciabatta bread.
How to bake your ciabatta bread:
- Place on the center rack of the oven. Use a spray bottle to spray the dough with water 3x during the first 4-5 minutes of baking (this is about every minute and a half). This creates steam for a crispy ciabatta shell.Make sure to rotate the pan so all sides are sprayed.
- After you finished spraying the ciabatta bread for the third time, bake an additional 22 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
- Remove your bread from the oven and allow it to cool on a wire rack.
- Store ciabatta bread covered tightly at room temperature for up to 1-2 days, it goes stale very quickly! Store in the freezer for up to a month!
HOW TO MAKE CIABATTA BREAD IN YOUR DUTCH OVEN.
- If you want to make ciabatta in your dutch oven, follow all of the above steps up until the second stretch and fold + 30 minutes of resting is complete. Remove the bowl from the oven.
- Place 2 dutch ovens in your oven with the lid on with the rack adjusted to center position. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.
- Sprinkle flour across your countertop. Carefully remove the dough from the bowl onto the floured counter.
- Use a pastry cutter or knife to cut your dough in half.
- Stretch each half into approximately the size of a letter (12 x 6 inches).
- Fold each 12 x 6 piece of dough towards itself in thirds (like you would with a letter).
- Sprinkle medium-coarse cornmeal across countertop. Carefully flip each loaf onto the cornmeal so that it is seam side down. Cover the loaves with your towel and let them rest about 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, take the hot dutch ovens from your oven. Remove the lids. Carefully put one ciabatta loaf into each dutch oven, seam side down. Place the lid back on the dutch oven.
- Bake at 450F for 15 minutes, covered.Remove the lids and bake an additional 10 minutes at 450F.
- Once the tops of your ciabatta loaves are golden brown, remove the dutch ovens. Transfer the ciabatta loaves to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Slice and enjoy!
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