Authentic Italian Ciabatta Bread: Crispy Crust, Chewy Center

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Craving that fresh-from-the-oven, airy, and slightly tangy ciabatta bread? You don’t need a fancy bakery to enjoy it! This recipe delivers all the characteristics of authentic ciabatta, made with simple ingredients and a bit of patience.

Ingredients:

Ciabatta Bread
Ciabatta Bread

3 cups (360 grams) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting

  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (7.5 grams) salt
  • 1 1/4 cups (300 milliliters) lukewarm water (around 105°F/40°C)
  • Olive oil, for greasing the bowl

  • Instructions:

    1. Activate the yeast: In a large bowl, combine warm water, yeast, and a pinch of sugar. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes, until the yeast becomes foamy and active.

    2. Mix the dough: Add the flour and salt to the yeast mixture. Using a spoon or your hands, mix until a shaggy dough forms.

    3. Knead the dough: Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 10-12 minutes, until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. You might need to add a little extra flour if the dough feels too sticky.

    4. First rise: Lightly grease a clean bowl with olive oil. Place the kneaded dough in the bowl, turning it once to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp cloth. Let the dough rise in a warm spot for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in size.

    5. Shaping the loaves: Once risen, gently deflate the dough by pressing down on it. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a loose rectangle. Don’t worry about making it perfect – the beauty of ciabatta lies in its rustic look.

    6. Second rise: Place the shaped dough loaves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving some space between them for further rising. Cover them loosely with a damp cloth and let them rise for another 45 minutes to an hour.

    7. Preheat the oven: While the dough rises for the second time, preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C).

    8. Bake the bread: Bake the ciabatta loaves for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown on top. You can tap on the bottom of the loaf – it should sound hollow when done.

    9. Cool and enjoy! Let the ciabatta bread cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Slice it and enjoy it fresh or toasted with your favorite toppings like olive oil, balsamic vinegar, cheese, or herbs.

    Nutrition Facts (per slice):

    Calories: 180

  • Fat: 3 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 1 gram
  • Carbohydrates: 32 grams
  • Sugar: 1 gram
  • Protein: 5 grams
  • Sodium: 230 milligrams

  • Please note: This is an approximate nutritional value based on the ingredients used. Actual values may vary depending on specific brands and ingredients.

    Conclusion

    This ciabatta bread recipe is a great way to experience the joy of homemade bread. With its simple ingredients and straightforward instructions, it’s achievable for bakers of all skill levels. So, fire up your oven and get ready to enjoy the warm, delightful aroma of freshly baked ciabatta!

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

    1. Can I use instant yeast instead of active dry yeast?

    Yes, you can substitute instant yeast with an equal amount (1 teaspoon) in this recipe. However, you won’t need to activate it in a separate step. Just combine it directly with the flour and salt.

    2. Why is my ciabatta bread not rising?

    There could be a few reasons:

    Inactive yeast: Make sure your yeast is fresh and active. Try using a different brand if you suspect the yeast might be old.

  • Water temperature: The water should be lukewarm, around 105°F (40°C). If it’s too hot, it can kill the yeast. If it’s too cold, the yeast won’t activate properly.
  • Not enough kneading: Proper kneading develops the gluten in the dough, which is essential for rising. Knead the dough for at least 10-12 minutes.

  • 3. Can I use a bread machine to make ciabatta bread?