Ciabatta, a crisp-crusted Italian bread with hints of sourdough and loads of crannies longing for butter, is one of the easiest breads to make at home. Cibatta bread is not traditional. It was created in 1982 by baker Arnaldo Cavallari in Adria, Veneto, Italy. This incredibly easy recipe takes only minutes to prepare. The results always get rave reviews!
4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (do not pack the flour)
2 cups warm water
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon granulated yeast
1 teaspoon dried herbs (optional)
- Pour the warm water into the medium-size mixing bowl and stir in the yeast with a spoon. No need to be particular, just dump and slosh.
- Add 4 cups flour and salt to your bowl of yeasty water.
- Stir flour in with a spoon. When it looks too thick to be pancake batter and not thick enough to be playdough, you’re right on target.
- Cover with a hand towel or plastic wrap and set in a safe place for a few hours. After the dough has rested for 8 to 12 hours, it will have nearly doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Sprinkle a cookie sheet with 2 tablespoons flour to keep the loaf from sticking.
- Uncover the bowl of dough and slowly pour it out onto the cookie sheet. The dough will be very wet and sticky. That’s okay!
- Shape dough into a loaf.
- Press dried spices (oregano, basil, and/or rosemary, or whatever you like) into the top of the loaf (optional).
- Check on your ciabatta after about 25 to 30 minutes. Once it’s golden brown on top and looks good to eat, take it out of the oven and set it aside to cool for at least 10 minutes. You can cut into it immediately but if you do it’ll collapse and won’t look as pretty.
- Slice and enjoy!