The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Ciabatta shape

Sour_Baker's picture

Ciabatta shape

This one is a literal slipper shape. Not what I’m wanting but entertaining. I have to assume it’s my handling technique and making the middle too thin.


sourdough ciabatta recipe from Sourdough Mania by Anita Sumer



alfanso's picture

I've used this very technique for several years now and it yields a consistent (with not much practice) barrel shaped loaf, and generally with no variance of girth throughout.  

Skip to ~4:40 for the shaping segment.

Don't expect your dough to be so "puffy" and lacking in the typical ciabatta stickiness.  I still can't figure out how he is able to achieve this dough's characteristics at divide and shape time.


If this is the shape you want to achieve, this method works well.

UVCat's picture

that video is great! i really struggle with ciabatta shaping so i will try this. i wonder if i could do the “stretch” step immediately after shaping, or after a short rest… i have been doing final proof seam side down on parchment and then right onto the baking stone, to minimize handling and the disasters that usually occur (for me, with this bread) when moving dough after final proof.


trailrunner's picture

You can see his formula posted. It’s all about the flour and his mixing technique. It’s laid out on the original posting he made. 
The key is flouring the couche sufficiently to be able to lift the dough and stretch and immediately get it into the oven

alfanso's picture

to include the formula, as well as the steps.  I had asked it from him when he first posted the video and he provided it to me then, which I converted to incorporate a biga.   And which I had posted on my blog entry.  

A word of caution - if you are to add the water on 2nd speed (3rd speed or greater for home mixers like a Kitchen-Aid), make sure that you have a splash guard installed on the top of the mixer or you'll be cleaning up splashed water from the mixer all over the kitchen.

This is the first time I've seen the steps written out, so I may go back to my formula and add a line or two to accommodate his method.

Thanks for pointing that out. 

tpassin's picture

This may sound a bit weird, but try your hand at making "glass bread" (aka pan de cristal).  It's like ciabatta but even higher hydration.  Once you've worked with this a time or two, ciabatta handling will seem much easier.  I've made it both yeasted and using a sourdough starter, and it wasn't as hard as I expected. Here are two videos -