Ciabatta Bread Recipe

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Authentic Italian Ciabatta Bread recipe meaning slipper bread, originally from the Veneto, made with an overnight starter and cooked just like a pizza on a preheated pizza stone.

Loaf of Ciabatta Bread on a Wooden Board

Ciabatta Bread

Invented by Franceso Favaron in 1982, this is the perfect Italian bread for sandwiches, Bruschetta, panzanella or just to dip in your favorite olive oil as an antipasto.

Very easy to make at home, it’s egg free and dairy free, but you will need to execute some patience and plan in advance for the starter or Biga.

Sliced Ciabatta Bread Loaf with Holes

What is Biga?

An Italian starter similar to a sourdough starter but thicker, made from a little bit of flour, water and yeast and allowed an initial fermentation. It gives the bread a unique and wonderful flavor.

The Dough

Don’t be intimated! This is a sticky wet dough overall, hence those nice coveted holes that make ciabatta different and special. Just feel confident and roll with it, don’t be temped to add extra flour, all will be well and turn out great.

If you are looking for a last minute quick crusty bread to make for dinner, please try our Rustic Italian Bread Recipe instead, also baked on a pizza stone.

Serving suggestions:

how to store it:

Store your homemade ciabatta in a breadbox or plastic storage bag at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. Alternatively you can slice it and freeze it in freezer proof bags up to 3 months. Place the slices directly in the toaster when ready to eat, no need to thaw them out.

Italian Ciabatta Bread Crusty Loaf

4.67 from 15 votes

Ciabatta Bread Recipe

An authentic Italian recipe for ciabatta bread or slipper bread, originally from the Veneto made with an overnight starter and cooked just like pizza on a preheated pizza stone
Print Recipe
Prep Time:20 minutes
Cook Time:50 minutes
Total Time:1 hour 10 minutes


For the Bread

For the Starter (Biga)

  • 1 c organic bread flour
  • 1/3 c filtered water at room temperature
  • 1/8 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 tbsp warm water


Make the Starter

  • Make your starter the night before you plan to bake the bread.
    Mix together the yeast with 2 tablespoons of warm water. Allow it to stand for a few minutes.
  • In a medium size mixing bowl stir together the yeast mixture with the flour and the water until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to sit at room temperature overnight. If preparing it in the morning then let it sit until evening and up to 24 hours.

Make the Ciabatta

  • Use your stand mixer and combine the yeast and the warm plant milk. Let it sit for a few minutes until creamy.
    Add the starter, olive oil, flour, sea salt and water and mix together for about 10 minutes until everything is incorporated.
  • Prepare a large bowl lightly oiled with olive oil. Transfer the bread dough to it and cover with plastic wrap. Allow it to sit until doubled in size, up to 2 hours.
  • Turn the bread dough onto a well floured surface and with floured hands cut it in half. Form 2 long loaves.
  • Transfer them to a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Optional step: Flour your fingers well and create dimples in the top of the loaves. Sprinkle with some flour.
  • Lightly dampen a tea towel and cover the loaves. Allow them to rise again until doubled in size, up to 2 hours. 
  • Meanwhile preheat your oven to 425” F with a Pizza Stone in the center for 1 hour before planning to bake the bread.
    Transfer one of the loaves to the preheated pizza stone (together with the parchment paper) and bake for about 25 minutes until golden brown to your liking. 
  • Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before slicing it with a serrated knife.


#1 To get a crusty loaf make sure to use a pizza stone and also create some steam in the oven by placing a dish filled with water on the bottom as the oven heats up. Add more water if needed before baking the bread. Allow the loaves to cool inside the oven after baking with the oven door slightly open.
#2 If you don't have a stand mixer just use a wooden spoon to mix the dough together, it will appear to be more difficult this way as we are dealing with a wet dough. 
Course: Baked Goods
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 2 loaves
Author: Florentina

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  1. 5 stars
    This recipe is delicious. I was worried at first because the dough was so wet and sticky, but it surprised me and baked nicely. However when I put the room temperature dough onto the hot stone, after being in the oven for two minutes, my stone cracked in four places. I have never had anything like this happen, so I can only assume it was due to putting something cold on a hot pan. So be careful. Despite that, I will be making this recipe again, it was just that good.

    1. So sorry about your stone Alison, i’ve never had that happen to me so i’m thinking maybe the stone you have is not meant to be heated that high… I have a glazed stone from Emile Henry that i’ve been using for the last 10 years at least and i actually leave it in the oven at all times so it heats up multiple times during the year even if i don’t make bread. Happy you loved the bread Xo’s

  2. It turned out so good. Didnt get the same look on the outside but inside was perfect. Crust is nice and crunchy. Inside so soft.

  3. 4 stars
    I drizzled some honey on top of the bread once it came out of the oven. Both loaves were quickly gobbled up. Going to add honey to the mixture the next time I make this (today).

  4. Tried the recipe and it turned out great. A nice airy crusty ciabatta. I’m going to try baking it in a deep cast iron pot to see if I could get a thicker bread with the same airy consistency. Not sure if this will work, but a fun experiment.

    1. 5 stars
      Hi, I was wondering how your bread turned out cooked in the cast iron pot. Sure would appreciate your comments.
      Thanks, Carol

  5. 5 stars
    This is a really great Bread, if you really want it to become crusty you have to add a dish with water for steam in the oven. It will still be a good Bread if you don’t but it won’t be crusty, so just keep that in mind when making this recipe. A keeper for us. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Hi, I am making this bread right now, but the dough is so soft I could not shape or touch it at all. It’s ready to go in the oven but I can’t do one at a time because if I touch them they start to turn into blobs so I can’t even move them off the parchment paper. I followed your recipe to the letter, but I’m not sure wht went wrong, any suggestions?

    1. Hi Nyla, this is kind of a sticky dough which is ok. You can transfer the bread dough into the oven with the parchment paper. Remember to also add a dish with water in the bottom of the oven if you want to get a crispy crust. Hope that helps.

  7. 5 stars
    Thank you for sharing such a delicious ciabatta recipe! It is by far the best I have made.
    Your blog is wonderful, and I greatly enjoy all that you share. My husband and I are eating much better, to say the least!

  8. 4 stars
    Mine seems very flat- I’m soooo tempted to add more flour, but alas it seems delicious. It’s gone in a day;(

    1. Hi Lori, Ciabatta is usually kind of a flat bread, If you think it was out of the ordinary flat maybe the yeast was not at its prime…Or try a 1/4 tsp extra next time. Hope that helps! ~ Florentina

  9. Can the other loaf of dough sit out while the first one bakes and should I heat up another pan while the first one is baking!

    1. Yes it can, you’ll bake it on the same pizza stone you baked your first one. Also, you could bake them together if your stone/pan is big enough. I’m guessing you are a using a pan 😉

  10. 5 stars
    That is one gorgeous loaf of bread! I’d love to have a big hunk of it dunked in good olive oil. I’ve wanted to try making ciabatta at home forever – now I have my recipe!!

      1. Try a baking steel … they are way better then a stone and can be used on the grill as well…mmmm best crust…everytime