Ciabatta Rustic Bread

Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Ciabatta bread is a traditional yet classic Italian bread that is well-known for its unique shape, chewy texture, and crisp crust and is great for stews, soups, and sandwiches.

It was first developed in the 1980s when French baguettes in Italy were so popular.

The word "ciabatta" translates to "slipper" in Italian, and the Ciabatta bread got its name due to its striking resemblance to a slipper.

We also love no-knead French bread or pizza dough that I make often, and now it's so super simple even the kids can make it.
This bread can be shaped any way you like, loaves, braided, or perfectly made into rounds for rolls.

Scroll down to the printable recipe card at the bottom to see the simple instructions.

What is Ciabatta Bread

  1. Shape: Ciabatta is typically long and flat with a rectangular or oval shape. It is not a perfect shape and very rustic appearance. 
  2. Texture: The texture is one of the defining features of ciabatta. It has a chewy interior with large air holes, which are created by using a start sponge that creates a wet dough that makes its appearance.
  3. Crust: The crust of the ciabatta is thin but still very crispy, and the inside will remain soft.
  4. Ingredients: Ciabatta is made from simple ingredients, including milk, bread flour, water, yeast, salt, and olive oil. The addition of olive oil will create a moist crumb.
  5. Ciabatta is a versatile bread that can be used for various recipes and meals, such as sandwiches, panini, bruschetta, and stews, and to accompany soups and salads. Due to its large holes, it will deliciously absorb sauces and flavors, making it a popular choice for making hearty and delicious for sandwiches and dunking.

Ingredients You Will Need

  • active dry yeast 
  •  warm milk
  • warm water
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • bread flour
  • sea salt
  • sugar


  • make the starter first and leave it at least 12 hours or up to 1 day
  • make sure the water is warm to the wrist when mixing with yeast at 110 degrees
  • Proofing times will vary depending on the temperature of the dough and the climate you live in. Use your index finger to make the indentation. dipped in flour. 
  • any shapes can be made, ropes, braids, or just a round loaf 
  • the bread freeze perfectly for up to 3 months

Pin for later

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Ciabatta Bread

If you're looking for delicious toast for breakfast, hamburger rolls, french toast, or fabulous-tasting sandwich bread, look no further this ciabatta bread is so versatile and great for all of those needs.

Don't be afraid to get creative in the shapes, the bread can be shaped into any form you desire and still slices well or make perfect rolls!

The bread freezes well and is fantastic toasted with butter. .

Ciabatta bread was first produced in 1982, by Arnaldo Cavallari, who called the bread ciabatta polesana after Polesine, where he originated and lived. By 1999 this was licensed by Cavallari's company, Molini Adriesi, to bakers in 11 countries.

Ciabatta Homemade Rustic Bread

Ciabatta Homemade Rustic Bread

Yield: 24
Author: Claudia Lamascolo
Ciabatta bread is a rustic Italian bread that uses a starter mix before making the actual loaf of bread.


  • For Sponge Starter:
  • 1/8 teaspoon of active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/3 cup room-temp water
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • To make a sponge: stir together, 2 tablespoons of warm water and yeast.
  • Let stand for 5 minutes, until foamy.
  • Place the yeast mixture in another bowl and add 1/3 cup of warm water with 1 cup of the bread flour. Stir for 4 minutes.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let stand in a cool room temp at least 12 hours and up to 1 day.
  • To make the Bread:
  • 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons warm milk
  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar


  1. Bread Instructions:
  2. Place in a small bowl yeast, milk and stir, let stand for 5 minutes.
  3. In a heavy-duty electric mixer, using a dough hook, mix together milk and yeast, add sponge starter( from yesterday), water, oil, sugar, and flour at low speed until flour is moistened.
  4. Beat for 3 minutes.
  5. Add salt and knead for 4 more minutes with the dough hook on the electric mixer.
  6. Place this dough into a greased oiled bowl and cover it with plastic wrap and a towel on top, place in a warm spot until tripled in volume about 2 hours.
  7. Note: Dough is sticky and full of bubbles, this is normal.
  8. Cut out two pieces of baking parchment paper. Place on a cookie sheet and sprinkle flour all over it.
  9. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured board and cut in half.
  10. Transfer each half to paper and form irregular ovals like a slipper shape, or you can make pizza round personal size pan pizza shapes for Ciabatta pizza approx 9 inches in size. Dip fingers in flour and dimple loaves.
  11. Note: For Alternative, omit dusting with flour, brush with beaten egg whites on top of bread dough, and sprinkle herbs on top. I use a blend of oregano, basil, parsley and minced fresh garlic, red pepper flakes on top, a little Parmesan, and pepper, all around 1/2 teaspoon, if measuring. I always make one plain and one herb crusted.
  12. Cover with oil-sprayed plastic wrap, a dampened kitchen towel and let rise 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours, until almost doubled.
  13. If you are using a pizza stone pre heat the stone for 45 minutes before baking bread. Otherwise, use a pizza pan with air holes on the bottom lined with parchment.
  14. If you have room for both, put the other loaf on another pan, and place in the oven. 425 degrees or until they're golden brown.
  15. Turn off the oven, remove the Ciabatta from the baking sheet, and return them to the oven, leave the oven door open a couple of inches.
  16. Allow the Ciabatta to cool completely in the oven; this will give them a very crisp crust.
  17. Remove to cooling racks.



  • make the starter first and leave it at least 12 hours or up to one day
  • make sure the water is warm to the wrist when mixing with yeast at 110 degrees
  • Proofing times will vary depending on the temperature of the dough and the climate you live in. Use your index finger to make the indentation dipped in flour
  • any shapes can be made, ropes, braids, or just a round loaf 
  • the bread freeze perfectly for up to 3 months

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)

0.89 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

0.14 g

Carbs (grams)

11.64 g

Fiber (grams)

0.4 g

Net carbs

11.25 g

Sugar (grams)

0.3 g

Protein (grams)

1.94 g

Sodium (milligrams)

147.18 mg

Cholesterol (grams)

0.19 mg
Italian rustic bread, Ciabatta bread, homemade bread recipes
bread recipes, Italian bread recipes

Pin for later

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  1. The inside of this bread looks so light and airy. I'll bet it does an amazing job of soaking up olive oil.

  2. This also the style of my favorite breads the aromas of these delights :)

    All the best,


  3. Hmmm...yumm... love how the bread looks... so tempting! I would love to try it one of these days. Thanks for the recipe, Claudia!

  4. You KNOW how much I love making bread!! I will have to try this without my trusty breadmaker. I have wanted to make a bread with a starter, but have been nervous to do it - your bread seems so simple I am going to do it! I'll let you know how it turns out!

  5. What a beautiful bread! I love that crust!

  6. I just love a hard, crusty bread and this one looks perfect ... now if only I could bake bread - just gonna have to hunker down and give it a try with your wonderful instructions

  7. You make a great loaf of bread! It's perfect. Love your crusty topping.

  8. Ok Claudia, are you trying to make me work? This bread looks absolutely heavenly. You know I love my bread maker... Never made a bread with starter in it. What do you think, by hand or bread machine?

  9. @cookincanuck it is perfect the the flavored oils~
    @gera thanks its so versatile
    @mylittlespace thank you~
    @nicole thanks your a doll!
    @joy its so easy!
    @drick with your talent you will wonder what took you so long!
    @redkathy probably by hand breadmaker wont come crispy enough..

  10. Hello sweetie, I love homemade bread and I think it's time for me to make some; yours looks PERFECTAMENTE
    bravissima, complimenti e auguri!
    (do you parlare italiana?)

  11. WOW! I love making bread and this ciabatta is wonderful. The crusty topping is so tempting.

  12. Cladia, it's fantastic, crust is amazing! Pictures are beautiful ;-)

  13. @Nina can understand Italian very well, appreciate the compliment, I don't speak it as good, always learning something new
    @Federica thanks for your kind words and the visit!
    @Tania thanks Tania...I hope you will try this :)

  14. Claudia , this looks fantastic. I love bread, and ciabatta is my favorite for making panini sandwiches :-)

  15. I can smell the fresh dough and the fresh baked bread from here!

    Love me some fresh baked bread!

  16. I'm preparing ciabatta right now (it is in the 2 h rest stage :) ). I will use your wonderful ideea with the herb crust. Very nice.

  17. Oh so tempting. It's just perfect. I am already devising foods i can eat with it.

  18. Perfectly crusty and delicious! I would love a slice of this bread for lunch!

  19. Ah, I love ciabatta. What a nice crumb this has!!!

  20. I Love bread must be the European in me the aroma delicious looks divine

    Thank you for sharing have a great weekend ~

  21. I love ciabatta and this recipe looks amazing. Will have to try soon.

  22. What a beautiful loaf of homebaked bread! Thanks for sharing how to make it.

  23. I'm a breadaholic too! Your ciabatta looks gorgeous - love the large holes in the crumb. Beautiful!

  24. Once again, perfectly clear instructions that really are an inspiration! I'm impressed by that heavy duty dough hook you have for your mixer.

  25. Dear Claudia, There really is nothing like baking bread. It makes all right in the world. This looks wonderful; especially to dip in a little seasoned olive oil. xo Catherine


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