i love ciabatta bread. i like to buy the bags of ciabatta rolls at trader joe’s and keep them in my freezer, then defrost them whenever i want something to dip in soup, use for a sandwich, or just eat as a snack. so it’s kind of surprising that it never occurred to me that ciabatta bread might be something that you can make from scratch. that is, until i saw a recipe for it on brown eyed baker. the recipe does require some planning ahead, because there is significant waiting time between steps. but aside from the planning and getting the timing right, the recipe is actually pretty simple. and the final product is a beautiful loaf that tastes exactly like the ciabatta you know and love. it is soft and chewy on the inside, full of holes, and with a very thin and slightly crisp crust on the outside. i made one big loaf and a few small rolls, and i definitely don’t see the point in buying it at the store anymore. it’s so good. i can’t get enough.
soft, light, and slightly chewy ciabatta bread.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ⅛ teaspoon active dry yeast
- ½ cup lukewarm water
- another 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- another ½ teaspoon active dry yeast
- another cup of lukewarm water
- combine the 1 cup of flour, ⅛ teaspoon of yeast, and ½ cup of water in a small bowl. cover the bowl tightly and let it sit at room temperature for at least 8 hours.
- put the flour-yeast mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer with the rest of the ingredients. using the paddle attachment, beat the mixture on medium-low speed for a few minutes, until it comes together in a uniform mass of dough and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- switch to the dough hook and knead the dough on medium speed for about 10 minutes, until it is smooth and shiny (it will be very sticky).
- transfer the dough to a large bowl and cover it tightly with plastic wrap. let the dough rise at room temperature until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.
- spray a rubber spatula or dough scraper with cooking spray. use the spatula to gently fold the dough over on itself from one side. turn the bowl 90° and repeat - keep doing this for a total of 8 folds (for pictures of how this is done, click here. cover the bowl again and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- repeat step 5. cover the bowl and let it sit for another 30 minutes.
- preheat the oven to 450°f. if you are using a pizza stone, preheat it in the oven. otherwise, put a baking sheet upside down in the oven to preheat, and line another baking sheet with parchment paper and dust it with flour.
- gently turn the dough out onto a floured surface. divide it in half. gently press each half of the dough into a large rectangle, then fold it into thirds as if you were folding a letter. if you want to make small rolls, cut each rectangle into three equal pieces.
- put the loaves, seam side down, onto the prepared baking sheet (or just a floured sheet of parchment paper, if using a pizza stone). dust the loaves with flour on top, then cover them with plastic wrap and let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- brush the loaves with water and put them in the oven - if using a pizza stone, just slide the parchment onto the stone. if not, put your baking sheet with the loaves on top of the upside down baking sheet in the oven. bake, brushing again with water at least once in the first five minutes of baking, for 22 to 27 minutes, until the loaves are golden brown.
- let the loaves cool for at least an hour before slicing.