Ciabatta Bread

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!

Slices of homemade ciabatta bread next to a dish of oil and balsamic for dipping.


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!

Collage of steps involved in making homemade ciabatta bread.

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.

Sliced homemade ciabatta bread on a wooden surface next to a spreader with butter on it.

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.

Hand Dipping Homemade Ciabatta bread in oil and balsamic.


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5 from 13 votes

Homemade Ciabatta Bread

20 slices
Prep Time:
13 hrs
Cook Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
13 hrs
This crispy crusted ciabatta bread has a soft, warm center with little crannies that are perfect for dipping into butter, soups, dips, and more!
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
Ciabatta Dough:
  • 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:
  1. 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:
  1. 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.
  2. Use a hand mixer and mix the dough on low for 3 minutes, then let it sit for 10 minutes.
  3. Repeat, mixing for another 3 minutes and letting it sit for 10.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. 

  6. Take one end of the dough and fold it up into the middle. Take the other end, and fold that one into the middle.
  7. Sprinkle more flour on top of the dough and let it sit for 15 minutes.
  8. Repeat the two prior steps again, folding and letting it sit for another 15.
  9. Take the bread and create an 8x8 inch square.
  10. 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.
  11. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees while it sits.
  12. Gently lift the loaves onto a greased baking sheet, trying to touch them the least amount possible.
  13. Bake for 17-25 minutes, (mine was ready after 17 exactly so I’d keep an eye on it a little before that time.)
  14. Let it cool on a cooling rack and then slice it up and serve!
Nutrition Information
Calories: 69, Sodium: 175mg, Potassium: 21mg, Carbohydrates: 13g, Protein: 2g, Calcium: 3%, Iron: 0.2%
Author: Stephanie
Course: Bread
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: easy side dish recipe, homemade bread
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! | The Cozy Cook | #bread #ciabatta #homemade #baking #sidedish