The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


isand66's picture

The last time I made Ciabatta I made a sourdough version that came out quite good.  In my never-ending quest to try to create something new and hopefully great tasting I came up with the concoction below.

I decided to go with a straight forward yeasted version of Ciabatta but I wanted to get more flavor in the final product.  I happen to love onions, so I figured why not add some carmelized onions and to get some stronger wheat and nuttiness flavor in the bread I decided to use some spelt and rye flour along with a low protein French style flour from KAF.  This combination resulted in by far the best Ciabatta bread I have ever made or tasted in my not so humble opinion :).

I followed the standard operating procedures from Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Everyday for the Pain a L'Ancienne Rustic Bread and modified the ingredients as mentioned above.  The only thing I would change maybe is to add some cheddar cheese next time which would really put this one over the top.

You can really taste the onions and the rye-spelt mixture and the open crumb was nice and moist.

If you give this one a try I would love to hear what you think.

Here are the ingredients and procedure I followed:


13 oz. KAF French Style  Flour (you can use All Purpose if you don't have French Style)

4 oz. Medium Rye Flour

3 oz. Spelt Flour

16 oz. Ice Cold Water (55 degrees F.)

0.4 oz. Salt  (1 3/4 Tsp.)

.14 oz. Instant Yeast (1 1/4 Tsp.)

1 Tbs. Olive Oil

17.5 oz. Carmelized Onions


Cut up half of a medium size sweet onion and saute for 5-8 minutes on medium low in a frying pan or bake on a sheet pan in your oven.  Let the onions cool before adding them to the dough.

Add all the ingredients into the bowl of your mixer except the onions and stir for 1 minute on the lowest speed. The dough should be rather sticky and rough at this point. Let it rest for 5 minutes in the mixer bowl.

Add the cooled onions and mix on medium low using your paddle attachment for one minute. In my case I have a Bosch which only has one mixing/kneading attachment. The dough will still be very sticky but should very soft and much smoother. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl using a dough scraper or spatula. Cover the bowl and let it rest for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface. Make sure you oil your hands and do a stretch and fold on all sides of the dough and flip it over and form it into a ball. Put the dough back in the bowl and let it rest for another 10 minutes at room temperature. Do this stretch and fold process three more times over the next 30 to 40 minutes. You can do the stretch and fold in the bowl itself if you prefer. I personally like to do it on the counter.

After you do the last stretch and fold put it back in the bowl and cover it tightly and refrigerate overnight or up to 4 days. The dough should rise to almost 1 1/2 its size in the refrigerator.

Take the dough out of the refrigerator at least 3 hours before you plan to bake and let it sit at room temperature.  Around 1 hour after taking the dough out of the refrigerator, place a large piece of parchment paper either on your work area or the back of a baking pan and dust with flour to cover it completely. Using an oiled or wet dough scraper gently remove the dough to the work surface. You want to be very careful so you don't degas the dough and kill the big air holes you want to achieve.

Flour your hands and lightly dust the top of the dough. Use your hands and a metal dough scraper and form the dough into a 9" square and be very careful again not to manhandle the dough and degas it.

Next, cut the dough into either 3 small ciabatta or 2 larger size loaves. I opted to go with the 3 smaller size ones.

Gently fold the individual dough pieces into thirds like an envelope. Make sure to be very careful and not to apply any pressure. Roll the folded dough in the flour to coat it and lift it onto the parchment paper and roll it in the flour again. Rest the dough seam side down and repeat with the other piece(s) of dough.

Spray the tops of the dough with oil (I use a baking spray) and cover the pan with plastic wrap very loosely. You can also use a clean lint free kitchen towel.

After 1 hour of resting, roll the dough pieces very gently so the seam side is now facing up and lift them with your floured hands to coax them into either a 7" rectangle if making the larger size or 5" rectangle. Try to get them to be as close to a rectangle shape as you can when you put them back down on the parchment paper.

Let them rest covered loosely again for 1 hour.

About 45 minutes before baking, pre-heat oven with baking stone (I use one on bottom and one on top shelf of my oven), to 550 degrees F.

Place an empty pan in bottom shelf of your oven or a cast iron skillet.

Pour 1 cup of boiling water into pan and place loaves into oven. I also spray the side walls of the oven with water 2 to 3 times for added steam.

Lower oven to 450 Degrees and bake for 12 minutes and rotate the bread and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes until bread has a nice golden brown crust and the internal temperature reaches 200 degrees. The bread should have puffed up a little and should be hard when you tap it.

Let it cool on a wire rack for 45 minutes (good luck waiting that long!) and enjoy!

The bread should have nice large irregular holes and should be soft after cooling.

This post has been submitted to the Yeast Spotting Site here:

suzyr's picture

This is in reference to Chef Reinhart's Ciabatta with Biga.  I think what helped me was to re-read the directions time and time again. And to watch different videos. I feel it was successful...thank you Chef.


FlourChild's picture

Craig Ponsford's Ciabatta from Artisan Baking- help with crumb?

January 5, 2012 - 2:19pm -- FlourChild

This is from Maggie Glezer's Artisan Baking.  Wonderful flavor, glossy sheen to the crumb and slightly chewy, can't wait to make it again.  The only issue I had was that the large holes were clustered just under the top crust, rather than being more or less evenly distributed throughout the crumb.  And the crumb in the bottom half of the loaf was more dense, with no large holes.  Anyone know how I might improve upon that?

Mike Como's picture

ciabatta bread

December 5, 2011 - 1:44pm -- Mike Como

Just made my first loaves of ciabatta bread this afternoon and was very very pleased with everything.  One thing I noted is that most of the larger holes that make the crumb typical of ciabatta almost all ended up at the top of the loaf, while the smaller holes all ended up at the bottom.  I'm wondering if this is just not enough folding before the final proof before baking, or there is something else going on.   Any help is greatly appreciated. thanks

tiffanybeng's picture

Mixing and baking large batch ciabatta by hand

November 15, 2011 - 5:42pm -- tiffanybeng

Hi Guys,

I am the only baker for a cafe, and in the last few months we've begun making our own ciabatta for sandwiches. 

 So far, i've been mixing an 80% hydration dough. I mesure out the water then mix in the leaven and then add the flour into a big bowl. It weighs about 2olbs all together.

We don't have a mixer and I've been finding that mixing the dough by hand is creating a lot of lumps of flour that i'm having trouble getting rid of. I end up having to cut out the bigger lumps when I shape the bread into sandwich squares. 

suzyr's picture

Reinhardts Ciabatta

Ciabatta- 3 small loaves or 2 large

3 1/4 cups of Mature Poolish ready for final dough

3  cups of bread flour

1 3/4 tsps of salt

1 1/2 tsp of instant yeast

6 tab to 3/4 cup of water room temp

In mixing bowl add poolish with all of the ingredients.  Blend well til flour is hydrated well. Continue to mix for 5 minutes with paddle, til dough comes away from the sides.  This is very sticky dough, if it isn’t you need more water.  They suggest starting with 6 tab and up to 3/4 cup of water.  I used it all.

Prepare counter top with flour, add dough on top and pat down with floured hands. Let rest 2 minutes and then proceed to stretch and fold procedure. Then cover for 30 minutes and repeat process.  Then cover again and proof for 1 and half hours to 2 .   Then proceed to cut into 2 pieces and place in a couche. Proof for 60 minutes then bake in preheated oven with steam at 500 and then turn down after 30 seconds. Bake for another 15 minutes.

Felila's picture

Bread made with coconut milk

October 14, 2011 - 2:03am -- Felila

I have been making the ciabatta recipe from this site with eggs and milk, which I suppose means that it's not ciabatta any longer :)

I'm going to have a dinner guest who's allergic to cow's milk, so I made these boules with coconut milk. Threw in a little raw sugar for oomph. Came out great!

 I think I should be scoring more deeply.

MadAboutB8's picture

I've been away from The Fresh Loaf for a while. I was still baking and blogging but didn't quite have time to also update the pages here. So, I'll keep it short and sweet for few things that I baked in the past week or two. 

Ciabatta with wheat germs and olive oil (from Hamelman's Bread)


The recipe produced great tasting and chewy ciabatta. I followed the shaping method from Susan @ Wild Yeast, by not degasing the dough. This worked really well. The bread was great with potato soup with sage burnt butter.

Full post is here >

Focaccia with Rosemary and Tarragon herb oil


The recipe came from Peter Reinhart's American Pie cookbook. The recipe is quite similar to Reinhart's pizza dough. The herb oil contributed to great tasting focaccia. 

Full post is here >

Wheaty Sourdough with bulgur, wheat berries and wheat germs

It had nice texture and crunch from wheat berries, moisture and flavour from bulgur and aroma and chewiness from wheat germ. I also included a small amount of honey to bring out more wheat flavours. 


Full post is here>


Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

A collection of my recent bakes:

Poolish Baguettes

Cut for BLT's

Ciabatta (Craig Ponsford formula)

Somewhat disappointing crumb.  Another batch made the following week looked similar

Miche, shaped as a large batard.

With baby for (largely uninformative) scale


More Ponsford Ciabatta, made without the final letter fold "shaping"

Crumb, still disappointing

Happy baking, everyone,



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