The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Woo what a mouthful! Ciao Ciao Ciabatta!!

greedybread's picture

Woo what a mouthful! Ciao Ciao Ciabatta!!

t's hard to find a GOOD ciabatta.

Sure, there are lots around BUT are they good?

Mainly no.

The texture and the taste needs to be right and in honesty, it's not the easiest bread to make:)



Normally I use and experiment with my most revered bread baker's recipe, Carol Field's Ciabatta or one of Peter Reinhart's...

BUT this recipe, is the GREEDYBREAD of all Greedybreadness!!

Woo, what a mouthful!!

Fabulicious and all that Greedy stuff!

Please note : this is a 2 day affair:) or at least one night stands with this bread!

 I will stop rambling and let you enjoy this baby!!

its full glory!
its full glory!

80% hydration, lots of hydration with this bread.


I am not shouting or think anyone is dumb BUT this is important and I say it because I myself think I know best and have added more flour.

Not a good look:)

What will you need? (in 2 parts)

Pinch of yeast.

200 mls of warm water

3/4 of a cup  of Bread Flour or High protein Flour

1/3 cup of Plain flour

2 tsp of rye flour

2 tsp of wholemeal flour.

Just want to say, if you can get unbleached flour, do so.

Don't want to sound pretentious but it makes for better bread.

If doesn't need to be lovingly hand milled by the monks on some far forgotten Hinterland...

Just unbleached, not golden filagree yeast or anything:)

Unbleached is best for yeasty things:) as bleach plays round with the flour proteins which then affects the bread.

Lesson over, promise!

Starter plus !
Starter plus !

Dissolve yeast in the warm water and allow to get frothy.

Mix all flours together in a bowl.

Add in yeasty mix and mix well.

This is quite dry, so don't be alarmed.

Cover and leave for 24-36 hours...

yep, flour the tea towel!
yep, flour the tea towel!

After 24 hours, uncover and get ready to work it!

You will need your biga from above

A pinch of salt

1 tsp of yeast

3/4 cup of warm water

1 tsp malt powder.

1 & 1/4 cup of Bread flour.

bread on the tea towel
bread on the tea towel

Dissolve yeast in the warm water and allow to become frothy as before):

Combine all dry ingredients .

Add yeasty mix to the biga and then add to the dry ingredients.

Use a mixer if possible.

Use the paddle on your mixer, this is VERY VERY hard to knead by hand because it is so wet.

Mix for about 5-6 minutes.

If it seems dry, add a little more water.

Put dough in an oiled bowl and cover.

Turn every 20 minutes for four times and then leave until doubled, usually about 90-120 mins after the last turn.

a wee rest
a wee rest leave

Flour a tea towel and then turn gloopy dough onto the tea towel.

I used the tea towel to work the dough, rolling it from side to side.

You want to stretch it out and then fold it three times.

Take one end, fold in a third, do the other end and then fold on top of one another.

Like an envelope, or a 'slipper'!

Sort of slipper ish?
Sort of slipper ish?

Flour the top of the dough and put tea towel over it and leave to prove for 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven now to 220-230 Celsius.

I have , as you can see , been using a dutch oven.

The bread is not proved in the dutch oven though.

The bread goes in the dutch oven , minutes before it goes into the oven.

Alternatively if you don't have a dutch oven, when proving is finished, working quickly, place bread onto a baking tray that is well oiled.

Place bread in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes, depending on your oven.

It needs to be quite brown.

Lid on, in the oven!! No peeking!!
Lid on, in the oven!! No peeking!!

If you use a dutch oven, make sure the lid is on tight.

No peeking for 20 minutes, then remove the lid for final 20 minutes and allow to get brown.

Remove from oven when done and allow to cool on a rack or in the dutch oven first for a bit, then a rack.

This is gorgeous and so nice when warm...

Very crusty crust!

Gorgeous holey crumb.

The holey texture is what you want!


half done...
half done...
P1110247 (800x600)
very nice!
holey moley
holey moley
have a slice or three!
have a slice or three!

Adapted ever so slightly from Craig Ponsford original Ciabatta recipe.

Did you like this bread?

Have you tried my other Ciabatta?

Rewena Bread?


Garfagnana Potato Bread?

P1030636 (1024x768)
A bit of Kiwi!


Foodzeit's picture

like button here but let me tell you, i really like your bread. It makes me want to make it too. perfect crumb and with that delicious salami on top :). This bread is already on my list of breads to bake

greedybread's picture

it is an awesome recipe...

really really wet, but superb bread and i am no photographer but you can even see it in my photos!!

Tastes a dream too.

dabrownman's picture

made in a Romertopf clay baker!  I got mine out the other day to bake an oval loaf out of the basket but decided not to use it at the last minute.  Now I know what it is really good for!

Well done and Happy Baking Greedy!

Casey_Powers's picture

I am inspired to make a ciabatta after having viewed yours.  The salami and spread has me hungry.   Enjoy wjat looks like a wonderful ciabatta.

Warm Regards,


AndreiI's picture

I tried this recipe. Left the biga for almost 30h due to may work schedule. I got back and tried to mix everything but after like 20-25 min with the mixer close to full speed, it still was to wet. Basicaly it says to mix 5 min with the paddle but the dough didn't come together . There was never a problem of being too dry but top wet. To much water. Maybe not enough flour, maybe not enough mixing...I was really looking forward to making it after seeing your recipe. There s nothing to fold unfortunately because it looks almost like a sauce rather than a workable dough.. I have no clue why


greedybread's picture

the difficulty is unless i see it, it can be hard to tell what went wrong. With bread it can be a small thing or it can be a major thing. This is a very very wet recipe, in fact the highest hydration i have used to date but i had no problems because I did expect it plus I baked it in a dutch oven, so it had like a mould i suppose. Yes, it does look like a gloopy mess, rather than what you would expect.

My bread as you can see from the pictures, was some of the best i have ever done.

I was very sceptical when i was making it but it turned out fine. tasted a dream too.

Did you cook it at all? or no?

Flour used? 

Water used?

Lots of things...

AndreiI's picture

Yeah, I figured I should try and cook it. I was able to eat it, I mean the taste was ok but spring oven was almost non existent (the whole bread was maybe an inch high. I should have taken a photo but i was too's like the 3rd or 4th time I try a ciabatta recipe without luck)
Something definitely went wrong and from what i figure, it probably started with the ingredient because you said to mix 5-6 minute but in my case it was way way to watery. Maybe it was the starter. It stayed cover outside, at room temp for about 30h. I weighted the ingredients, even look at the water temp and it was quite ok (not to hot) but somehow when they all mixed together it was more like a thick sauce. Eventually, after a 4 sessions of folds in the bowl with a scraper - because it was to lose to let it out on the counter - it thickened but not enough to turn it into something to work with

I'll try again soon and see if I get the same result. This time I will try and record more information because it's frustrating when trying to make this bread and failing so many times

Best Regards,