What is ciabatta bread? Ciabatta bread is an Italian bread with an open texture and a floury crust.
Before we get into the recipe details, let’s learn all about the history of ciabatta bread. This classic bread was created about 30 years ago and has become increasingly popular in recent years. In the Italian language, Ciabatta translates to “Slipper,” and the name comes from the bread’s shape. This delicious white bread originated in a Rovigo, Italy bakery in 1982.
At the time, French baguettes were hugely popular and the crusty bread took Europe by storm. The difference between a French baguette and Ciabatta bread has to do with the hydration levels. Ciabatta bread is higher in hydration.
We love ciabatta bread because it has the perfect crispy crust on the outside, but ciabatta bread is airy and soft inside.
Ciabatta bread, an Italian classic, has become increasingly popular worldwide for its distinctive taste and rustic appearance. Originating in the region of Liguria, its name translates to “slipper” in English, due to its elongated oval shape resembling a flat slipper. The rich, slightly sour flavor and airy pockets within the crumb of the loaf are the result of a slow fermentation process, giving this bread its unique characteristics. As a versatile option, ciabatta makes the perfect base for sandwiches or as an accompaniment to hearty soups and salads.
The secret to achieving the perfect ciabatta loaf lies in the use of a well-hydrated dough combined with appropriate folding techniques. The high water content helps to create the bread’s soft, airy texture while the specific folding technique aids in forming the open crumb structure that ciabatta is known for. The dough is then allowed to ferment for a specific amount of time, allowing the yeast to develop complex flavors.
This ciabatta bread recipe is so easy, too. The actual work that goes into this ciabatta bread recipe is only about 10 minutes with no kneading.
Oh, and have we mentioned that this ciabatta roll recipe calls for just four ingredients?
Let’s learn how to make ciabatta bread that will turn out perfectly every time.
What Ingredients Are in Homemade Ciabatta Bread?
Sometimes a ciabatta bread recipe will call for olive oil, but this recipe doesn’t call for olive oil. To make this ciabatta bun recipe, you need only four simple ingredients.
- All-purpose flour
- Instant dry yeast
You will need a baking sheet for baking the bread, and another baking pan that will be used for steaming your oven.
Other things you will need:
- Parchment paper for lining your baking sheet
- Small spray bottle for lightly misting your ciabatta rolls with water after you put them in the oven for baking
How to Make This Ciabatta Bread
Below are the steps for baking homemade artisan ciabatta bread.
Step 1: Dissolve the yeast
Dissolve the dry yeast in a cup with water that is lukewarm, then stir the instant yeast into the water until it’s mixed well.
Step 2: Prepare your dough
Add salt and flour to a large bowl. Pour the yeast mixture into the bowl and use a whisk to combine the flour mixture with the yeast mixture.
Step 3: Let the dough rise
Cover the large bowl with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to sit in the bowl for 1 hour at room temperature.
Every 30 minutes, you need to stretch and fold the ciabatta dough.
After about 1.5 hours, the dough will double in size as it rises.
Step 4: Divide the dough
Once the dough has risen, divide it into a log. Then, divide the log into 4-5 parts that are equal in size.
Allow the dough to rest for about 40 minutes.
Step 5: Bake the ciabatta bread
Now the ciabatta bread is ready for baking. Preheat your oven to 420 degrees Fahrenheit and add the other pan with water for steaming.
Line your baking sheet with parchment paper and transfer the ciabatta dough to the pan. When the oven is hot, put the baking sheet with the bread in the oven. Bake your ciabatta rolls for 20 minutes.
Tips and Tricks for Making Perfect Ciabatta Bread
While this ciabatta roll recipe is easy, there are some tips you can follow to make sure your rolls turn out perfectly.
1. Keep your instant dry yeast stored in a dry and cool area in its original and unopened package.
2. Use fresh yeast that has not expired. Instant yeast doesn’t have a long shelf life.
3. Watch the instant yeast carefully when you’re mixing it with the water. If you don’t see bubbles and smell a yeasty aroma, your yeast is expired.
4. Use the pan of water for steam in the oven. Don’t skip this step. The steam is the secret to getting the perfect crispy crust that we all love on ciabatta bread.
5. Make sure you have a bench scraper. Because ciabatta dough has 80% hydration (water to flour ratio), it is very sticky. The bench scraper will help you handle the dough and transfer it to the baking pan.
6. Use some flour when you’re transferring the dough. Ciabatta dough is sticky, and dusting it lightly with flour before you transfer it will help.
Serving Homemade Ciabatta Bread Rolls
What can you do with ciabatta bread? The sky’s the limit!
This crusty homemade bread is amazing for dipping in herb-infused extra virgin olive oil. Also, ciabatta bread is delicious when dipped in a bowl of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
You can also use ciabatta bread as sandwich bread for all types of sandwiches. Consider using ciabatta rolls to make delicious garlic bread.
Another way to enjoy ciabatta bread is to serve it warm with butter and a bowl of homemade jam.
Our BEST Ciabatta Bread Recipe
- All-purpose flour
- Instant dry yeast
- Follow the instructions below to make your ciabatta roll recipe turn out perfectly.
- Step 1. Dough preparation (rise time: 1 hour)
- Dissolve instant yeast in a small cup of lukewarm water and stir well. Make sure the mixture develops a yeasty aroma and begins to bubble.
- Add flour and salt to a large bowl.
- Pour the yeast mixture over the flour mixture and whisk well until it is completely combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula or wooden spoon to ensure there are no visible dry flour particles. The dough will be wet and very sticky.
- Cover bowl of dough with plastic wrap. Allow the covered dough to sit for 1 hour at room temperature.
- Step 2. Stretching and folding the dough (rise time: 1.5 hours)
- After the bread dough has gone through the first rise, put some water onto your hands and start to stretch and fold your dough in the bowl. Fold the edges of the dough into the center, doing one edge at a time. It will take you about a minute to fold all 4 sides. When you’re finished folding, re-cover the dough in the bowl with the plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
- Repeat the stretch and fold process, then recover the dough with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes again.
- Repeat that stretch and fold process one more time and allow the dough to rest covered for 30 more minutes.
- After the 3 stretch and fold steps, your bread dough should be about double in size.
- Step 3. Shaping the dough (rise time: 40 minutes)
- Transfer the wet dough to a surface (a large cutting board or pizza stone is perfect) that has been dusted with flour.
- Sprinkle the sticky dough with a bit of flour and shape it into a rectangle-shaped log. Pull the dough gently from underneath. Do not press the wet dough. If you do, air holes that are trapped inside the dough can get squeezed out and this will affect your bread.
- Press the edges of the dough log to seal it. Then, divide the log into 4-5 parts that are equal in size.
- Place dough pieces onto a work surface that has been dusted well with flour.
- Allow the dough pieces to rise for approximately 40 minutes (the final proofing).
This ciabatta recipe is not for sourdough ciabatta. To make sourdough bread, you will need to follow a slightly different recipe.
Do you need a visual? Watch the video below for step-by-step instructions.