Freshly baked Rustic Italian Ciabatta Bread on a wooden board.

There’s something inherently comforting about the aroma of freshly baked bread wafting through the home. It’s a universal language of love, care, and warmth. Today, I’m delighted to share a recipe that holds a special place in my heart and kitchen: Rustic Italian Ciabatta Bread. This bread, with its crispy crust and soft, porous interior, is perfect for those who cherish the art of traditional bread-making. Ideal for sopping up the last bits of sauce from your plate or enjoyed with a drizzle of olive oil, ciabatta is versatile and a joy to make. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or new to the craft, this recipe will guide you through creating a masterpiece that’s sure to impress.

Freshly baked Rustic Italian Ciabatta Bread on a wooden board. rustic italian ciabatta bread Rustic Italian Ciabatta Bread Rustic Italian Ciabatta Bread 1 1024x538

Rustic Italian Ciabatta Bread


  • 500g bread flour
  • 400ml lukewarm water
  • 10g salt
  • 5g active dry yeast
  • A pinch of sugar
  • Extra flour for dusting
  • Cornmeal for dusting


  1. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in 100ml lukewarm water. Let it sit for 10 minutes until frothy.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the bread flour and salt. Make a well in the centre and pour the yeast mixture and the remaining water.
  3. Mix the ingredients with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms.
  4. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  5. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover it with a damp cloth, and let it rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.
  6. Gently deflate the dough and divide it into two equal parts. Shape each into a slipper shape, typical of ciabatta loaves.
  7. Dust a baking tray with cornmeal and place the loaves on it. Cover with a damp cloth and let them rise for another 30-45 minutes.
  8. Preheat the oven to 220°C (430°F). Place a baking dish with water on the bottom rack to create steam.
  9. Dust the top of the loaves with flour and make several diagonal slashes on the surface.
  10. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  11. Let the bread cool on a wire rack before slicing.

How to prepare:

To achieve the signature holes in ciabatta bread, it’s essential not to over-knead the dough. The dough’s high hydration gives ciabatta its unique texture. When shaping the loaves, handle the dough gently to avoid deflating it too much. Baking the bread with steam is crucial for getting that crispy crust, so don’t skip the baking dish with water.

Preparation time:

Active preparation time is around 20 minutes, with additional rise times totalling approximately 2-3 hours.

Servings: 2 loaves
Cooking Time: 25-30 minutes
Total Time: Around 3-4 hours
Kcal: Approximately 250 kcal per serving (1/8th of a loaf)

Nutrition Facts:

Calories: 250 | Total Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 487mg | Total Carbohydrates: 52g | Dietary Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 0g | Protein: 8g

Kitchen Equipment Needed:

  • Large mixing bowl
  • Wooden spoon
  • Baking tray
  • Baking dish for water
  • A damp cloth for covering the dough
  • Oven
  • Wire rack for cooling

Storing Leftovers:

Ciabatta bread is best enjoyed fresh, but it can be stored for up to 2 days at room temperature in a paper bag or cloth. For more extended storage, slice and freeze the bread in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 1 month. Reheat slices in the oven or toaster for a fresh-baked taste.

Food or Drink Pairings:

Pair your homemade ciabatta with a variety of Italian cheeses, olives, and cured meats for a delightful antipasto. It also pairs wonderfully with a hearty minestrone or as the base for a delicious bruschetta. For drinks, a glass of Chianti or a crisp Pinot Grigio complements the bread’s flavours beautifully.

Remember, Rustic Italian Ciabatta Bread the key to perfect ciabatta is patience and gentle handling. Take your time with each step, and you’ll be rewarded with nothing short of sublime bread. Enjoy the process and the delicious results!



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