The Ultimate Guide to Making Homemade Ciabatta Bread

Ciabatta bread is known for its rustic crust, airy interior, and open crumb structure. Making homemade ciabatta can be a rewarding experience, but it requires a bit of time and attention to detail. Here’s your ultimate guide to crafting delicious ciabatta bread:



  • 3 ½ cups bread flour
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 ½ cups water (room temperature)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


Mix the Dough:

In a large mixing bowl, combine the bread flour and salt. In a separate bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the yeast mixture and olive oil to the flour mixture.

Knead the Dough:

Mix the ingredients until a shaggy dough forms. Then, knead the dough for about 10-15 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. You can use a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment or knead by hand.

First Rise:

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover it with plastic wrap or a damp cloth, and let it rise at room temperature for 1-2 hours or until it doubles in size.

Shape the Dough:

Gently turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Divide it into two portions. Gently stretch and fold each portion of dough into a rectangular shape. This folding technique helps develop the structure of the ciabatta.

Second Rise:

Place the folded dough portions onto parchment paper on a baking sheet. Dust the tops lightly with flour, cover with a cloth, and let them rise for about 1-2 hours until puffy. They won’t double in size, but they should show some expansion.

Preheat the Oven:

Preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C). Place an empty baking pan on the bottom rack to create steam during baking.

Bake with Steam:

Transfer the risen dough, still on the parchment paper, onto a preheated baking stone or baking sheet in the oven. Pour a cup of hot water into the empty baking pan to create steam. This steam helps develop a crisp crust.

Bake and Cool:

Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the ciabatta is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Cool the bread on a wire rack before slicing.

Tips for Making Ciabatta Bread:

  • The dough will be sticky; avoid adding too much flour during kneading.
  • Handle the dough gently to preserve its airy structure.
  • Use a baking stone or preheated baking sheet for even heat distribution.
  • Steam in the oven helps create a crispy crust, so don’t skip this step.
  • You can customize your ciabatta by adding herbs, olives, or roasted garlic during the folding process.

Homemade ciabatta bread is a labor of love that yields a flavorful and impressive loaf. With practice, you’ll develop your technique and create beautiful loaves to enjoy as sandwiches, alongside soups, or dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

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