This crispy crusted homemade ciabatta bread has a soft, warm center with little crannies that are perfect for dipping into seasoned oil, butter, soups, dips, and more!
Hi, my name is Stephanie. And I am not, a baker. So it’s just amazing that I’ve been able to make this recipe for years and never mess it up. I mean, some days the holes are larger, some days the dough rises up higher, but ultimately, it’s always been delicious. There are so many different methods to making this bread, some recipes have literally have about 6,000 steps. I like to keep things as simple as possible, and at the end of the day, the bread comes out just as good. So let’s get into it.
What is Ciabatta Bread?
Ciabatta bread is an Italian bread with a crispy crusted outside, and a soft and airy inside. The crannies on the inside are a perfect way to absorb seasoned oil, sauces, and dips. Ciabatta bread also makes a great sandwich bread.
What is a Starter Dough?
A starter dough (or “sponge”) is a simple mixture of yeast, water, and flour that sits for an extended period of time to allow it to ferment. It is then added to dough and acts as a leavening agent, perhaps with the addition of more yeast. This helps create the best tasting bread.
👉The top left image is what the starter dough will look like when its finished, nice and porous!
Storing Ciabatta Bread
Before storing, ensure that the bread has cooled completely. Then wrap it tightly in foil or in an airtight plastic bag. Leave it at room temperature, do not refrigerate as that will cause it to dry out. It will remain good at room temperature for 2-3 days.
Can You Freeze Ciabatta Bread?
Yes! To freeze Ciabatta bread, wrap it in aluminum foil or freezer plastic wrap and place it into an airtight freezer bag. It will be at its freshest if used within 3 months, however it’s still safe beyond that time-frame.
Ways to Use Leftover Ciabatta Bread
–Homemade Croutons are a perfect way to use up leftover Ciabatta bread.
-French Toast is also a delicious way to make use of bread that’s a few days old.
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Homemade Ciabatta Bread
Yeast Starter Dough: (Needs to sit for 8-12 hours. Overnight works well too)
- 1/2 tsp. rapid rise yeast
- 3/4 cup room temperature water
- 1 cup bread flour or all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon rapid rise yeast
- 3/4 cup room temperature water
- Yeast Starter Dough, from above
- 2 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Phase One: Starter Dough:
- Combine the ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well. Cover with Saran Wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 8-12 hours, or overnight. This dough doesn't rise so you won't need excess room in the bowl.
Phase Two: Ciabatta Dough:
- In a large bowl, combine the yeast and the water. Add the starter dough and mix gently. Add the flour and salt and mix until combined.
- Use a hand mixer and mix the dough on low for 3 minutes, then let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Repeat, mixing for another 3 minutes and letting it sit for 10.
- Remove the dough with a silicone spatula and drop into a large oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for 45 minutes.
- Use the same silicone spatula and drop the dough onto a floured surface. Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour. The dough will be extremely sticky.
- Take one end of the dough and fold it up into the middle. Take the other end, and fold that one into the middle.
- Sprinkle more flour on top of the dough and let it sit for 15 minutes.
- Repeat the two prior steps again, folding and letting it sit for another 15.
- Take the bread and create an 8x8 inch square.
- Use a sharp knife and cut the square in half. Cover each of the loaves with a light dish towel and let it sit for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 475 degrees while it sits.
- Gently lift the loaves onto a greased baking sheet, trying to touch them the least amount possible.
- Bake for 17-25 minutes, (mine was ready after 17 exactly so I’d keep an eye on it a little before that time.)
- Let it cool on a cooling rack and then slice it up and serve!
I wanna make this recipe, but do I have to use Rapid Rise Yeast? I only have regular yeast. And what’s the difference? Have you made this recipe with regular yeast?
Hi John, by regular yeast do you mean active dry yeast? Here is an article that explains the difference and unfortunately I haven’t tried this with anything but rapid rise. I think you could make the substitution but you’d have to check with the yeast experts on how that’s done!
Thanks! Yes, I have active dry yeast. I will try your recipe with active dry yeast and let you know how it turns out. I’m Italian and I love bread, especially any kind of Italian baked bread. I’ve gotten quite good at baking bread during this pandemic, but I haven’t tried to make ciabatta bread yet. ~ John
Hi John! Sounds good! I hope you love it!! I would still look at what adjustment you’d have to make to substitute active dry yeast because I think the quantity will be different, there are ways to convert it! I would try to look it up but I’m elbow deep in fried chicken at the moment! 😉 lol (go figure!)
Hi Stephanie, I ended up buying some rapid rise yeast and made this bread last week. It was awesome! It tasted just like the Ciabatta bread I had at an Italian restaurant. Thanks for the recipe. By the way, if I was gonna use my active dry yeast I would have to add 25% more yeast to substitute for the rapid rise yeast.
All My Best, John
I am SO happy to hear that John!!! I love that!!! And thank you for passing along the info for the yeast substitution as well, you’re the best! Thank you for circling back and letting me know how it came out! -Stephanie
Have you tried this recipe in a bread cloche? Curious as to how it would come out. I got one for Christmas and want to use it more.
hi Joe, unfortunately I have not! 🙁
Delicious! Turned out perfectly on the first attempt.
Hi Michael! That is great news, I am so happy to hear that. I have always been successful at this recipe and I am definitely not a baker! I am happy that it worked out for you too! Thank you for taking the time to let me know.
I am so excited to try this recipe, I just made the starter for tomorrow. Fingers crossed that it ends up looking like your pic! My boyfriend is Croatian and Cibatta is his absolute FAVORITE! I am new to bread making but your instructions are what made me feel brave enough to try to accomplish this bread (and I have looked at a lot of recipes)!
One question though well more like a request… I will be doing this by hand (old school) so when mixing the dough, can you explain how long or what to look for? Not sure but I know it will take longer and with a wet dough I don’t know when I have it ready to rest.
Will let you know how it turns out and I plan to check out your site for more recipes. Love to cook casually too and always striving for those elegant results!
Love and thanks from Seattle, WA
Stephanie, you are FANTASTIC and so is this BREAD! Thank you so MUCH for your response, I kneaded by hand and had great results! Still can not believe that “I” …”ME”made Cibatta bread! Granted I made one mistake, I floured instead of “sprinkled” flour on the bread. Oops and it showed. However the bread still came out fantastically and I am making this again tonight lol AND tomorrow as my boyfriend consumed it all! Can not THANK YOU ENOUGH for this recipe and the way you explained it. So joyful that I stumbled across your site. Additionally thanks for your email of your most popular recipes. I am so cooking and baking up a storm this week via your site! I was so scared and overwhelmed by every other Cibatta recipe I found until yours! HUGE THANKS and LOVE being sent your way to you and yours from Seattle, WA! Please keep doing what you are doing and I am so sharing you with my daughter!
Hey Gwen!! HAHA you are my favorite!! I can hear your voice in my head and we’ve never even met, I love it! I was THINKING about you and really hoping that this would turn out well for you and I am so super happy that it did! You are officially a bread maker! You totally, 100% made my day with your positive energy, thank you for taking the time to let me know how it worked out. You’re the best. Have a wonderful week, and keep enjoying that bread! 🙂 -Stephanie
Hello love your recipes. On the Ciabatta dough , do you add all the starter into the recipe? Thank you Diane
Thank you Diane! Yes you add all of it! Enjoy!
What is the name of the dip in the picture where you are dipping the bread!
Hi Victoria! That was TOTALLY my bad for not giving any recipe info of that on Instagram! Here’s the recipe, it’s SO good! https://thecozycook.com/hot-caramelized-onion-dip-with-bacon-and-gruyere/
I can’t believe how easy and wonderful this was. My granddaughter and I made this for Papa and you would have thought we handed him the winning lottery ticket! He was so impressed, her self esteem went through the roof, and I am one thrilled grammie! Thank you so much for this recipe. It was an act of healing to this family. Thank you so very much.
This might be the best message I’ve ever received about one of my recipes. I had to read it a few times, it melted my heart and I truly appreciate you sharing that with me. I’m SO happy this bread turned out well for you and your family!