Marie loves making unique recipes at home and giving tips on how to make them.
I've made this beautiful ciabatta bread recipe a few times now. There are no special tricks or methods with this bread. Yes, this bread recipe has yeast, but you do not proof the yeast.
I have really never had luck with bread, and certainly haven't found a simple go to recipe I can rely on, build from and experiment with. I am a consistently poor bread-maker. I never know if the dough should be sticky or smooth. I get so frustrated because it can take me an hour or two in the kitchen to try and make bread. And usually, my bread ends up with a crust that is far too hard, needs more salt or sweetness, is too dry or under cooked and more often than that, my breads were far too dense. I've had all sorts of trouble with bread.
What I Learned
Somehow, I managed to get the urge to actually take time and do work to make a bread that would probably be pretty bad. At least I'm persistent. I had tried making America's Test Kitchen rustic Italian bread before, and it was an extremely long process. The oven temperature, for my tiny oven, ended up being way too hot and made the bread's crust unbearably hard.
But I didn't walk out of that experience learning nothing. I learned about biga, the first process in making that particular bread. It is extremely airy and full of holes when it is rising and is often referred to as a sponge. Biga adds complexity to the flavor of bread and gives bread a light, open sponge-like texture.
About the Recipe
This bread recipe is just a messy and simple biga dough. You'll be tempted to add more flour and try to smooth the dough out. And you'll have to mix it with your bare hand. The dough is going to relentlessly stick to your hand. You may be a little annoyed with me, but you're going to make bread. You knew what you were getting yourself into.
You'll appreciate that the time "investment" is so teeny tiny. If you don't like the bread, you'll have only wasted a few cups of flour, yeast and 10 minutes of your time. But, if I can make this bread several times and have no issues, I can guarantee that you're going to have great luck making this bread. This is absolutely the easiest bread recipe I have ever tried. And, if you're inexperienced with making bread and/or haven't had much luck with bread-baking, this will be your best tasting bread recipe. Honestly, you really can't lose.
No Fuss Ciabatta Bread
Here is the super easy, no fuss ciabatta bread—enjoy!
- 400g Bread Flour
- 300g Cool Water
- 1 Package Active Dry Yeast
- 1 1/4 Tsp Salt
- 1/2 Tsp Sugar
- Dry ingredients: First mix the yeast, flour, and salt, in a decent sized bowl.
- Add water and mix until the dough is well mixed together. This should only take like 2 to 4 minutes total. Your dough should be very, very sticky. Do not be tempted to add more flour to the dough.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise for 8 hours.
- On a well greased baking sheet, form dough into loaf and place loaf on sheet. The dough will spread out across the pan, because it is a runnier dough. Let dough rise again for another 2 hours.
- Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-18 minutes.
- Take out of oven and check bottom of bread. As long as the edges of the bread are lightly browned, your bread is done. If not, pop it back in the oven for a few minutes longer. Top of bread should be a darker brown.
- Let bread cool for 30 minutes. After that, it is ready to serve.
After the Bread Cooks
I like this bread in one very wide loaf. You may want to split it up into two, kind of more "normal" sized loaves, or you may want to make sandwich-sized loaves (this dough would probably yield 4-5). Either way, if you divide the dough, this is going to alter the baking time. You will have to be watchful of the bread, and judge it by the top of the bread's color for done-ness and come up with your own baking times.
This is a really simple recipe and is pretty fail-proof. For the best results, use a scale. I have used the scale to measure the flour every time, and compared this with the measuring cups method. The measuring cups method varied too much for me to be comfortable with using it to measure flour, even with the flour was sifted.
I really recommend using a scale. I have a beautiful digital Ozeri kitchen scale and it was a wonderful investment. I use it every week and it is a must-have for baking bread.
Breadbee51 on August 01, 2019:
After a first failed attempt l decided to try making ciabatta bread one more time. I found your site and after reading it l felt encouraged enough to try it again. I cut the recipe in half for my experiment and baked it in a bread pan
I am pleased and relieved that I have made a successful loaf with your recipe! Only one l will use. Thankyou for the tip of using a scale and all your information you shared.
mariexotoni (author) on October 05, 2016:
Honestly, I got up so early and did this (7:30 am) and had the bread ready by dinner. Really depends on your routine. You could probably have it rose for 4-6 hours and be okay. It tastes better the longer you let biga sit.
Rochelle Frank from California Gold Country on October 05, 2016:
I admire your persistence. This looks like really nice bread. I might try it, but I see it requires some planning ahead with ten hours of rising time. I like to make bread, but never made one that needed that long for rising.