February 06, 2014

Ciabatta Bread

I like ciabatta bread and  was glad to find this recipe from Ana Olson. The recipe reminded  me of the way bread used to be made back in my country in the olden days,  using a starter. It was a longer and more time consuming  process...This is a much faster and very easy to follow recipe, and the bread tastes wonderful. We all enjoyed it so much, in fact, our daughter (who  happened to be at our place just as I was making some), suggested I’d share the recipe.

This is a rustic bread with airy holes in it. It’s meant to be a wet, sloppy dough, so don’t worry if it looks a little crooked-looking by the time it ends up going into the oven.

For starter (biga)
1/4 tsp instant dry yeast
1 cup water, at body temperature
1 1/4cups all-purpose flour

For bread:
1 tsp. instant dry yeast
3 Tbsp. 2% milk, at room temperature
2/3 cup water, at body temperature
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup starter
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp. sea salt
cornmeal, for baking tray

For starter, mix yeast and water to dissolve. Mix in flour by hand and stir just until blended (no lumps). ( I used a whisk to blended together). Mixture will be very wet and sticky. Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.

For bread dough, stir yeast and milk and mix in the bottom of the bowl of a stand-up mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add yeast, water, oil, starter and mix with the paddle until blended (or dough can be mixed by hand in a bowl with a wooden spoon). Switch to the dough hook and add flour and salt in, kneading on low speed for 2 minutes, then increasing to next speed up, kneading for 3 minutes. Slap the dough with your hand in the bowl, until it feels stretchy and springs back (it will be too sticky to knead on a work surface). Place dough into an oiled bowl, cover bowl with plastic and set in a draft-free, warm area to rise for about 90 minutes. The dough should have lots of big air bubbles visible when ready.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll up into a cylinder (like you would for a loaf or bread), but then stretch and pull the flexible dough into a rectangle about 20 inches by 8 inches. Cut dough in half ( I folded rectangle lengthwise in three first, then cut in two so that each piece is about 10-inches long by 4-inches wide) and place loaves on 2 parchment-lined baking trays sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover loaves gently with a slightly damp tea towel and let rise another 90 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 °F and place a baking tray upside down in oven to heat. Remove hot tray from oven, and slide parchment with bread onto hot tray and return to oven quickly. Spray tops of loaves with a little water, close oven quickly and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, spraying again with water after 10 minutes. Remove bread from tray to cool before tearing or slicing.

Makes: 2 loaves


Happy Baking!

Leia’s Culinary Treasures


  1. These sound great. I was wondering if you would recommend baking them as buns.

    1. This dough is softer and therefore harder to handle but you could most certainly give it try making buns or maybe smaller loaves. To make buns I would recomend my recipe for Dinner Potato Rolls that makes wondeful buns.
      Hope this helps. Thank your for your interest.

    2. Thank you for your help. I was to timid to try them as buns but I did make your rolls!

    3. You're welcome, George! I'd love to hear how the rolls turned out for you.


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