Ciabatta Bread

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This simple Ciabatta Bread recipe will give you a rustic Italian loaf that is perfect for dipping into soups or sauces. The high hydration in this bread results in a wonderfully chewy center and tons of irregular holes.

Front view of Ciabatta Bread cut in half so the inside is visible.

Homemade ciabatta bread

This is probably the easiest ciabatta bread recipe you’ll come across. It is an 80% hydration bread which means it’s very wet and sticky.

Because of this, you’ll need a stand mixer to make the dough. Otherwise, it will be near impossible to mix the dough.

The mixer will do all the mixing and kneading for you. This is why I say it’s the easiest recipe.

No-knead recipes are the best! I make pizza dough and slow cooker bread all the time because they require little effort. And now I’ll be making ciabatta bread just as often, if not more.

Ciabatta means slipper in Italian. Can you see how the bread get its name? It’s shaped just like a slipper!

Overhead view of a loaf of ciabatta bread on brown parchment paper.

Are there eggs in ciabatta bread?

There are no eggs in ciabatta bread. It’s made with flour, water, yeast, and salt.

What do you use ciabatta bread for?

You slice ciabatta bread at an angle and drizzle it with olive oil. It can also be used it for dipping in soup or soaking up sauce.

Or you can slice it lengthwise and make an Italian Style sandwich. Whichever way you decide to enjoy this bread, I’m sure you’ll be impressed with the texture and flavor.

How do you heat up ciabatta bread?

You can heat ciabatta bread by wrapping it in aluminum foil and baking in a 350°F oven for 10-15 minutes.

Main ingredients for ciabatta bread

Bread flour – this is essential for the sturdy texture of this bread.

Yeast – you can use instant or active dry yeast. Either one will work. Just be sure to use a quality brand like Red Star®.

Water – there’s a lot of water in this bread and it’s the only liquid the recipe calls for.

Salt – salt boosts the flavor of ciabatta bread but it also slows down the fermentation and enzyme activity in the dough. It helps to strengthen and support volume as well.

How to make ciabatta bread?

Step 1: Make the sponge

Combine flour, yeast, and water in a large bowl. Stir it with a wooden spoon until it’s well mixed and free of lumps.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours but up to 24 hours. The longer you let the sponge sit, the more flavor and structure the final bread will have.

ciabatta sponge in bowl before rise

ciabatta sponge in bowl after rise

Step 3: Make the dough

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sponge with more flour, water, and salt. Mix it with the paddle attachment until the dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl.

ciabatta bread dough in stand mixer

Step 4: Rise and turn the dough

Transfer the dough to a large bowl greased with olive oil. Cover and let it rise for 45 minutes. Lightly grease a silicone scraper and use it to fold the dough over onto itself.

Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for another 45 minutes. Repeat this process once more and let the dough rise for a final 45 minutes.

fold ciabatta dough over with spactula in bowl

Step 5: Shape the dough

Transfer the dough to a well-floured surface and liberally flour the top of the dough. Use two well-floured bench scrapers and carefully manipulate the dough from the sides to form a square.

Don’t add any pressure to the top of the dough or it will deflate. Cut the square in half and use the bench scrapers to gently shape each half into a loaf.

ciabatta dough shaped into loaves

Step 6: Let rise and bake

Gently slide the bench scrapers under the dough and transfer each loaf to a well-floured cloth. Fold the cloth up on the sides of the dough to separate and support each loaf. Let the loaves rise for 20 minutes.

Invert a baking sheet on to the lowest rack in the oven and heat the oven to 450°F. Place parchment paper onto a pizza peel or another inverted baking sheet.

Slide your fingers under each end of the loaf and quickly transfer it to the parchment paper. Spray the loaf lightly with water.

Carefully slide the parchment with the loaf onto the heated baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 22-27 minutes.

ciabatta dough loaves on floured cloth

unbaked ciabatta bread dough loaf

Easy Homemade Ciabatta Bread sliced on a piece of brown parchment paper.

Tips for this easy ciabatta bread recipe

  • Plan ahead since the sponge needs to be made a day in advance.
  • The dough for this bread is very wet and sticky. It requires a lot of external flour to prevent it from sticking. If you use too much flour on the outside, you can easily brush it off before spritzing the loaf with water and baking. Just use a pastry brush to do this.
  • The dough will puff up and resemble a giant marshmallow. Be very delicate when shaping it so you don’t knock out all the air. The air is what gives the bread those gorgeous irregular holes.

Helpful tools

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Ciabatta Bread Recipe Image

Homemade Ciabatta Bread

This simple Ciabatta Bread recipe will give you a rustic Italian loaf that is perfect for dipping into soups or sauces. The high hydration in this bread results in a wonderfully chewy center and tons of irregular holes.
4.93 from 14 votes
Print Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 27 minutes
Resting Time: 14 hours 35 minutes
Total Time: 15 hours 47 minutes
Servings: 2 12-inch loaves
Calories: 97
Author: Jen Sobjack



Make the sponge

  • In a medium-sized bowl combine 1 and 1/2 cups (200g) of the flour, 1 cup (240ml) of the water, and yeast. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture is well mixed and free of lumps.
  • Cover the bowl will plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, at least 12 hours but up to 24 hours. This will add a lot of structure and flavor to the finished bread.

Make the bread

  • Remove the sponge from the refrigerator and add the remaining water. Gently run a rubber spatula around the outer edge to release the sponge from the bowl. The water you just added will make this easier.
  • Transfer the sponge mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the remaining flour and salt.
  • Beat on low speed for 1 minute. Turn the speed up one notch and beat for another minute. Then turn the speed up one more notch and beat until the dough starts to release from the sides of the bowl, about 4 minutes.
  • Drizzle the olive oil in a large bowl and rub it around to evenly coat the inside of the bowl. With wet hands, transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes. 
  • Using a well-greased scraper, gently fold the dough over onto itself. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for another 45 minutes. Repeat this step once more and let the dough rise for a final 45 minutes.
  • Liberally flour your work surface with flour and let the dough slide out of the bowl onto the counter. Be very gently here so you don't knock all the air out of the dough and try to handle the dough as little as possible.
  • Liberally dust the top of the dough with flour. Using 2 well-floured bench scrapers, carefully manipulate the dough from the sides to form a square. Take care not to put pressure on top of the dough. 
  • Cut the dough in half, down the middle of the square. Gently shape each half into 2 loaves by using the bench scrapers to manipulate the sides.
  • Lay a lint-free baking towel over a large baking sheet and liberally dust it with flour. Using both bench scrapers, slide them under both ends of the dough and transfer the dough to the prepared cloth. Fold the cloth up in the middle to separate and support the loaf. Repeat with the remaining loaf.
  • Cover the dough with another lint-free cloth and let it rest for 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, adjust the oven rack to the lowest position. Place a large inverted baking sheet on the rack and preheat the oven to 450F. 
  • Cut 2 pieces of parchment paper to about 12x6-inches. Place the parchment paper on a pizza peel or inverted rimmed baking sheet. 
  • Using the cloth, gently roll the first dough loaf over to loosen it. Carefully slide your fingers under each end of the dough and transfer it to the prepared parchment paper. Repeat with the second loaf. 
  • Dust off any excess flour and spray the loaves lightly with water
  • Carefully slide the parchment with loaves on the heated baking sheet in the oven using a jerking motion.
  • Bake, spraying the loaves with water twice more during the first 5 minutes of baking time, until the crust is a deep golden brown, about 22-27 minutes. The internal temperature of the bread should be 205-210°F.
  • Transfer to an oven rack to cool completely before slicing and serving.


*Instant yeast is highly recommended for this recipe because it's effective and reliable. If you must use active dry yeast, you'll need to activate it in warm water before using. Take 1/4 cup of the water needed for the sponge and warm it to 110°F, stir in 1 teaspoon sugar and the yeast. Let it sit for 5 minutes, until it's foamy, then add it to the flour. If the yeast doesn't foam, it is not good and you'll need to start over.


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 97kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 3g | Sodium: 176mg | Potassium: 26mg | Calcium: 0.5% | Iron: 1.3%

Nutritional values here on my recipes should be used as a general guide only. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the values shown are just an estimate.

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  • Jim Ewins

    I use a Cusinart Bread machine to mix the sponge and fresh flour and water, other wise I do the same ….works good, tastes great.

    • Jen Sobjack

      Hi Saraha! Unfortunately, it’s really hard to say what you did wrong because I wasn’t there to watch you make it. You could have measured the flour incorrectly, handled the dough to roughly, your oven could need calibrating… There’s just no way for me to know where you went wrong.

  • Haley

    Im planning on making a rosemary bread- when do you suggest I add the rosemary? I was thinking about it for the sponge but I don’t want to flavor to be too overwhelming?

  • Jewel

    I followed the recipe, only skipped the towel part (I put the dough directly onto the parchment paper). It turned out very good. My son fought with us, the parents, for more bread, while my husband, who is trying to stay away from bread, had to exert tremendous self-control to stop himself :-). Only thing I would like to improve: the bread was not as chewy (a characteristic that makes a ciabata) as I would like. I have tried another recipe with active dry yeast before and left the sponge for 2 days. The bread did not come out as successful as this time, but a lot more chewy. Any advice?

    • Jen Sobjack

      The chewiness comes from the gluten in the flour and the high hydration in the dough. Make sure you are using bread flour. You can also try spritzing the oven with more water during the first 15 minutes. After the bread has baked, let it sit for a day to dry out some. This will also make it chewier.

      • Jewel

        Thank you for replying quickly, Jen. Very nice of you. FYI, I used bread flour and put a tin pan with tiny holes in it and filled with some water in the oven when baking. Another question I wanted to ask is, have you ever tried the recipe with whole wheat or 60% whole wheat bread flour? If so, what changes are necessary to make it airy? Thanks!

          • Jewel

            Made it again yesterday. This time, I measured the flour more carefully, having read the article on how to measure flour. The bread turned out perfectly airy with lots of irregular holes. This recipe sure is a keeper people! It makes me want to bake more. Thanks again, Jen!

        • Brigid Gerard

          I love this recipe but not into using white flour…I made it that way at first and it was great so the second time I only used white for the sponge and then a couple of T of gluten flour and the rest Einkhorn flour …lower in gluten and lower glycemic levels for the blood as well as an uncorrupted heritage grain…it turned out great!

  • Shelly Baldwin

    Finding it hard to believe I only need 1/4 teaspoon dry active yeast. I’m using the little packages. I’ve made the sponge but concerned about wasting the flour if I proceed and it’s already wrong… thoughts? Thanks!

    • Jen Sobjack

      1/4 teaspoon is correct. This isn’t a bread that is supposed to rise a ton and it will do most of the rising once it hits the heat of the oven. There’s a video in the post to show how it should look through the process.

  • Tom Salmon

    It’s been a long time since I have baked bread, mine just came out of the oven, and they look great. I am having a tough time waiting for them to cool. Just a comment for those using regular yeast, I did and used 1/4 teaspoon. It’s doesn’t foam a lot when activating, but you will see a very fine looking foam/froth and a few bubbles. It didn’t rise a ton until I baked it, then it rose quite well.

  • Shanese

    First time making Ciabatta bread and it was delicious!! Thank you so much for sharing your recipe! I paired this to dip in some cream of celery soup.

  • Roy

    About The poolish how many grams of dry yeast? 200 grams of flour without connection to the whole 553 grsms from the recipe?

  • Sebastian Vince

    Ciabatta got its name from Mr Ciabatta in Italy who invented the recipe in the 1970s as an alternative to baguettes.

    • Jen Sobjack

      It was indeed invented as an alternative to baguettes but the guy who first produced it and put a copyright on the name was Arnaldo Cavallari from Italy. He produced it in 1982 and registered the copyright in 1989. He called it ciabatta because it was shaped like a slipper. The literal translation of ciabatta is slipper!

      Here are some resources:
      Ciabatta Italia (This one is in Italian but can be translated with the Google browser.)
      The secret life of ciabatta

  • Nicole

    I’m curious about the step of transferring the loaves to the towel and then onto the parchment-lined pizza peel. Is there any reason they can’t go directly from being shaped on the floured work surface to the peel? It seems that the less handling this dough gets, the better, so why not eliminate that step? Am I missing something? Thanks!

    • Jen Sobjack

      I suppose it’s worth a try! I didn’t do it that way out of fear of the loaves spreading and sticking together as it sits for its final rise. The towel works great because you can mold it to help keep the loaves separated and shaped properly.

      • Nicole

        Thanks for the reply. I skipped the towel step and placed the shaped loaves directly on my pizza peel with parchment — pulled up a section of the paper, just as you would with the towel, to keep the loaves separated. Then put them directly onto my pizza stone with the peel. Worked great, and the bread was delicious.

  • Nick Southam

    Hi, I also tried 1/4 tsp yeast. Not getting much rise. Checked some other recipes, and they recommended 7.0g of yeast, as opposed to 1.2g. I’ve chucked some more in and will seemhow it goes 🙂

    • Jen Sobjack

      As mentioned in previous comments, 1/4 teaspoon is the correct amount of yeast for this recipe. You can see from the video, the bread will not rise much until it goes into the oven. The dough will be marshmallowy and full with air bubbles though. And I highly suggest using instant yeast because it’s way more effective and reliable.

  • Judy

    I love ciabatta bread and this is my first time making it. I went step by step as per your written and video instructions except I kneaded the dough by hand. And my final dough isn’t as relaxed or pretty as yours in the video. I made another starter and have it in the refrigerator to give it another go tomorrow.

    • Jen Sobjack

      I’m surprised you were able to knead it by hand since the dough is really sticky. I have a feeling you may have incorporated too much flour while hand kneading which resulted in a stiffer dough.

  • Suca Becca

    Happy Monday,
    Im italian-brazilian and we loooove breads, but it can be hard to do it right from book recipes. Thank you for showing in detail ste by step. It is like having mom or grandpa (You re younger than me – just a way to explain 🙂 ) lovingly teaching fool proof how to make it.
    I made the sponge last night and finished the bread this morning. Delicious – my ten year old boy devoured 1 whole bread (and he is a slim frame LOL)
    Thank you and have a blessed week,
    Suca Beccaro

  • Adriaan

    Have made this recipe a few times the flavour fabulious haveing a problem getting a more open crumb or holes, any tips or ideas i am in South Africa and at altitude

    • Jen Sobjack

      I don’t have experience baking at high altitude so I can’t really be of much help there. Is the dough rising at all? Are you seeing bubbles form on the surface of the dough as you let it rest? If the answer is yes, then you are on the right track. Just make sure you handle the dough gently so you don’t knock the air out.

  • Peter

    Hi there
    I used 200g of flour and 240ml of water plus yeast.
    Now I’m making a dough added the rest but still very like puncake mixture?!? More flour??

    • Jen Sobjack

      The sponge portion of this recipe will resemble pancake batter. Let that sit for 12-24 hours before making the dough. Once you add the remaining water and flour to the sponge, let the mixer run until the dough comes together. It should thicken and form a loose dough. I suggest taking a peek at the video in the recipe for a better understanding of how everything should look through the process.

  • Jade

    Can I use my so sourdough starter read off making a new sponge?
    I’m trying to figure a way to use it up. IT is very active and I have been feeding it regularly for a month.
    A fast reply would be great because I am going to try to make this today.

  • Bobby

    Just making sure it’s ¼ tsp of yeast and not ¼ oz. a package of dry yeast normally has 14 oz. I made the recipe and only put in ¼ tsp and it didn’t rise like my other bread recipes. I appreciate your input!

    • Jen Sobjack

      It’s indeed 1/4 teaspoon of yeast. There are process photos and a video showing how the dough/bread will look throughout the process of making it. Most of the rise will happen once the dough goes into the oven. If it doesn’t rise at all, the yeast may be bad.

      • Bobby

        Thanks for your reply! I wrote too fast. I finished the whole process and it came out perfect!

        Thanks again!

          • Bobby

            Hi again! The first couple of times I made this bread, the crust came out really crunchy, which is the best part! Unfortunately the last two times, the crust came out soft. I’m following the recipe like always. Do you have any idea why this would happen?
            Thanks again!

          • Jen Sobjack

            First, make sure you are cooking the bread to the proper internal temperature before removing it. 205-210°F is a good baseline for a crusty bread. Also, make sure you are misting the oven with water during the first 5 minutes of baking. This will help promote a crispy crust.

  • First time baking!

    My first time ever making bread, and the bread came our great! Had my 8-year-old goddaughter helping out, and all went well!

  • Gayatri Patwardhan

    Very nice tutorial of ciabatta bread . Thanks
    Can you make this bread in bread making machine .?gayatri