Ciabatta Bread Recipe is so versatile. This homemade Italian bread is soft and tender but strong enough to hold the heartiest of ingredients. There are so many things you can do with this one simple yeast bread recipe and I’ll show you a couple!
I know baking bread isn’t for everyone. I’m sure many people wonder why you would bother when there are so many places that you can pick up a loaf right? My first answer would be homemade Italian bread right from the oven. Can you smell that bread baking yet? Just the thought has me gearing up to bake some more homemade bread rolls!
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Not long ago I posted a Baked Chicken Parmesan Meatball recipe. The beautiful roll that those delicious meatballs were nestled in was
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There are so many homemade bread recipes. How do you know which one will work for whatever you’re using it for? Let me tell you a little bit about these Ciabatta rolls.
Ciabatta is an Italian white bread created by the baker, Arnaldo Cavallari in Verona Italy in 1982 according to my friend, Wikipedia. Ciabatta literally means “slipper”. It’s said that Cavallari and other bakers were concerned by the popularity of sandwiches being made using the French baguette. They worried that it would endanger their businesses.
Ciabatta rolls make amazing sandwich bread. I would much rather eat a sandwich on a Ciabatta roll than a baguette. To me, the baguette is all about that crispy outer texture that just begs for butter. Where on the other hand, Ciabatta is soft and tender without being weak or dense. The word butter comes to my mind.
Ciabatta bread dough can be made into several shapes including:
- Sandwich bread recipe
- Ciabatta rolls *(Fendu or pillow-shaped)
- Artisan bread loaf
How are Ciabatta rolls made?
Ciabatta is a yeast bread recipe but don’t let that scare you. This is a much quicker bread to make than most yeast
- The day before you bake you will mix up a “pre-ferment” called a “Poolish”. I think of it as a starter. The next day it will be bubbly.
- Remove the Poolish and let it sit at room temperature for an hour or more. Mix up the dough. Unlike other bread dough, this dough is very sticky.
- Stretch and fold dough and rest for 30 minutes.
- Shape the dough and rest 45-60 minutes.
4 Soft Bread Rolls
The above photo is called a *Fendu shape. You don’t have to roll the 4 pieces at all for a rectangular pillow shape.
What is Hearth Baking?
Hearth Baking is preparing your oven to recreate the environment of bread baked directly on a hearth. The purpose is to radiate heat directly into the bread as quickly as possible in order to create oven spring and a crisp crust. This preparation replicates a professional hearth oven in your home.
How To Prepare the Oven for Hearth Baking
- Place a baking stone in the center of the oven.
- Put a steam pan (cast iron or a heavy duty pan will not buckle under the heat) in the upper 1/4 of the oven.
- Preheat the oven to 500°F.
- Fill a clean spray bottle with room temperature water.
- Put the bread dough on the baking stone.
- Put 1 cup of water in the steam pan.
- Using the spray bottle, mist the sides and back of the oven. (don’t get any water on the glass door! It can cause it to crack $$$. You can put a towel over the door or just be careful!
- Repeat the misting every 30 seconds for 3 intervals.
Tips for getting this Bread recipe into the oven
- There are 3 ways that make it easier to get the bread dough shapes into your oven.
- 1. I used a pair of tongs and just slide the dough onto the baking stone.
- 2. You can flour or add cornmeal to a pizza peel and slide the bread onto the stone.
- 3. Put a piece of parchment paper on the back of a baking sheet. Put the bread on the parchment paper and slide it right onto the stone or bake it right on the pan instead of the stone.
You may need
- Baking Stone – I’ve owned this stone for 4 years. It is 12 lbs and so I just leave it in my oven for my hearth baking or pizza. It withstands temperatures of oven 500°F so there is less chance of it cracking.
- The Bread Baker’s Apprentice – This book is one of my constant companions when I’m looking for a recipe to try or have a question that needs answering.
- 2-Qt Container – you can use anything to make your Poolish but I love this container so I can see the progression. It’s a quality plastic that will last a long time. I have several in different sizes for my bread making.
- Couche – This stiff linen allows your bread to retain its shape while it rests. You don’t need this unless you like baking toys like me!
If you liked this Ciabatta Bread Recipe, I think you’ll also like these Yeast Bread recipes
- Cuban Medianoche Bread
- Homemade Crusty Bread recipe
- Soft Buttermilk Sandwich Bread
- Soft and Buttery Brioche Rolls
- Overnight Sourdough Bread Recipe – Perfect For Beginners
Ciabatta Bread Recipe
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
- 1 1/2 cups water I use filtered
- 1/4 tsp instant yeast
- 3 cups unbleached bread flour
- 1 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 9 tbsp water *add one tablespoon at a time
- Stir ingredients together in a mixing bowl until flour is hydrated. The dough will be soft and sticky. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature 3 to 4 hours. Then refrigerate it until your ready to use it (up to 3 days).
- Remove the poolish from the refrigerator 1 hour before making the dough.
- Add the flour, salt, olive oil, yeast, and *6 tablespoons of water into the bowl of an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Add the poolish. Turn the mixer on low mix until the ingredients form a sticky ball. If there is still loose flour add another tablespoon of water and continue mixing (see notes).
- Continue mixing for 5 to 7 minutes or as long as it takes to create a smooth, sticky ball. Switch to the dough hook for the final 2 minutes of mixing. The dough should stick to the bottom but clear the sides. You may need to add a little more flour to firm up the dough but it will still be soft and sticky.
- Sprinkle the counter with flour in an 8-inch square. Using a dough scraper, transfer the sticky dough to the floured surface. Stretch the dough to form a rectangle and then use the stretch and fold method shown up above to resemble an envelope. Mist the top of the dough with oil, again dust with flour, and loosely cover with plastic wrap.
- Let rest for 30 minutes. Stretch and fold the dough again; mist with spray oil, dust with flour and cove. Allow the covered dough to sit on the counter for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. It will swell but not noticeably rise or double in size.
- Carefully remove the plastic wrap. Cut the dough in 4 pieces for rolls or 9 pieces for breadsticks. Shape as shown above. Mist with oil spray and dust with flour. Cover with a towel.
- Proof for 45 to 60 minutes until dough has noticeably swelled.
- Prepare the oven for “Hearth Baking” and then preheat the oven to 500°F.
- Add the bread to the oven. Add water to the steam pan and mist the back and sides of the oven. Close the door and mist again every 30 seconds for 3 intervals. Bake the bread for 10 minutes or until browned.
- Transfer the bread to a cooling rack. Bread crust will soften as it cools. I rubbed butter onto the crust while it was hot. It adds flavor and helps the crust stay soft.
I hope I’ve inspired you to make your own Ciabatta bread recipe. If you have any questions, please contact me. I love hearing from you and respond to all of my comments and mail.