Go Back
Italian Ciabatta artisan bread

Italian Ciabatta Bread

Ciabatta is a rustic looking artisan bread with a chewy texture and air pockets, invented and made famous by the Italians in the eighties.
5 from 27 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Resting time 15 hrs 45 mins
Total Time 16 hrs 45 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2 loaves


  • Electric kneader
  • Medium bowl
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Bread maker (optional)
  • Plastic scrapers
  • Baking tray/parchment
  • Measuring scale


For the pre-dough (biga)

  • 300 g bread flour
  • 300 ml lukewarm water
  • 5 g yeast I prefer dried active, but fresh works well, too

for the wet dough

  • 1 biga after it raised for 12 hours/overnight
  • 700 g bread flour
  • 350 ml lukewarm water
  • 15 g yeast fresh/dried active
  • 4 tbsp olive oil organic, extra virgin
  • 1 tsp salt sea/rock


Biga (pre-dough)

  • Mix all the ingredients in a medium bowl, cover with clingfilm and allow it to rise overnight (12 hours).

Wet dough

  • Place the biga in a large bowl or kneader bowl.
  • Melt the yeast in the lukewarm water and add it to the bowl. Mix gently.
  • Add half of the flour quantity and continue mixing. This dough is sticky and needs to rise. Cover with a tea towel and let it rest for two hours. While rising, it will form air pockets that should not be popped.
  • When the two hours of resting time are up, add salt, oil and the remainder of the flour and mix again.
  • You will obtain a humid and elastic dough. Pull and fold a few times on the working table.
  • Place back in the bowl, cover with a tea towel and let rise for another hour.
  • When the resting hour is up, shape the dough using scrapers or well-flowered hands.
  • Split the dough into two parts, give each a cylindrical shape and roll them in flour. There is no need to knead again. Ciabatta is a wet bread, and extra flour can change the consistency of the dough.
  • Pull from the edges until you obtain a slipper form, about 5-6 cm high. If the loaf is too high, pull the edges until obtaining the desired shape rather than pressing down.
  • If you chose to use the Ciabatta for panini, divide the dough into 10-12 smaller pieces.
  • Place a greasy baking paper on the tray and preheat the oven to 200°C fan oven/225°C static/437°F/gas mark 6.
  • Place the bread on the baking tray. Leave about 10 cm between the loaves or 3-4 cm between the panini.
  • Allow resting for another 45 minutes.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden and cool before preparing sandwiches or bruschette.


Ciabatta bread has to cool completely before cutting or preparing sandwiches. 
Store in breadbin for 2-3 days or wrap in clingfilm and freeze for a maximum of three months. Defrost naturally, at room temperature before use.
Keyword artisan bread recipe, Italian Ciabatta bread, panini bread, rustic bread