Ciabatta bread is very special to me. It reminds me of the time as a little girl, this is the bread we use to eat, my grandmother baking in the kitchen and I remember as a picture hooked in time, as I was singing... I was on a wooden horse and my grandmother baking... the perfect picture...
I didn't know at that time what it was called, but seeing it in this book that we follow “The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread” By Peter Reinhart,   the recipe is exactly as I remember.... crunchy and big holes in it!
Ciabatta in Italian means slipper and this is because the flat, bulky bread reminds you of a slipper. In Romanian, (which is the Latin language) “CIUBOTA” means the same thing and this is how I remember easily the name of this bread.
Today, after I learn a lot about Sourdough bread from   “The King Arthur flour Center” and I have a starter from them, that I maintain and care for, I am going to use it for ciabatta bread, instead of using poolish.


-        3 ¼ cups sourdough starter

-        3 cups unbleached white flour
-        2teaspoons salt
-        1 ½ teaspoons yeast
-        ¾ cups warm water. NOTE: I read in the “Bread Apprentice book” that if I add ¼ oil + ½ cup water this way the dough will be softer and more tender than all water-only versions.


You knead the dough until become nice and silky. I use for this task the bread machine, or the stand-up mixer. Leave to rest 5-10 minutes.

It is a very sticky dough

You should use a lot of flour and/or grease on your hand. You shape this dough in a very special shape: Cut the dough in 2 and each piece stretches long on the margins, your hand should be full of grease or a lot of flour, on the bench and on your hands in order to manage this sticky dough. 

Carefully fold in three, one on top of the other, so you have a long shape, flatbread.
Put cornmeal on the cooking sheet which is lined with parchment paper. Or you can make a “bed” of a folded towel.
You keep the dough covered, for 30-40 minutes, to rise.

After this time, slide on the baking stone, or put the parchment cookie sheet, to bake.

The oven should be preheated to 500F; put the bread into it and from time to time spray the oven walls with water, quickly, to steam the oven. You should repeat this process 4-5 times during the first 10 minutes, at 500F. 

After that, you rotate the bread, and cool the oven to 450F for 10-20 more minutes, without using the steam method.
The bread should be nice, brown, and very hard on the back, and should sound hollow when you knock it with your finger. The more precise way would be if you have 200F inside of the loaf.

BONE APPETITE! or as we say in Romanian, "pofta buna "!!


  1. Hi Ileana,
    looks crusty and delicious! What are the flecks in the dough? poppy seeds?
    I have not been baking since jan, well not for the bba challenge, fall i'll start again.

  2. Hi Jim,
    Nice to hear from you! I got the starter from "King Arthur flour" in VT, were I was at a sourdough class.
    I am not baking so much,lately, we are moving in Florida, from Quincy, MA........
    In fall I am planing to start BAKING again!
    I was surprised how good my ciabatta was, kind of my own recipe, using, the discarded starter, instead of "poolish" on Reinhart's "BIBLE BOOK".
    I am using poppy seeds to all my white breads and caraway (white or black) for rye/wheat breads!!!
    I am waiting ahead ...I will have a second grandson, very, very soon, and start baking again in a new house, a new kitchen.
    Please, keep in touch for more baking adventures, Ileana


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