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. I know this is probably an older thread but can I use my well water and 2% milk instead of filtered water and plant milk? I don’t have town water with chlorine or anything in it and I don’t like any plant milk. Thank you

    1. Hey Jeff, I suspect your well water is filtered ( I’m on well water too) so yes, you can just use that in lieu of the milk as well, you really don’t need the dairy here.

  2. 5 stars
    I love your Italian bread… made often..always delicious.
    Just curious with this recipe the need for the starter plus more yeast added. Wanting to make this while our children are back from Italy for the Holidays.

  3. 4 stars
    The bread came out pretty good! I followed the recipe exactly, however my dough was never wet. it came together pretty easily and it didn’t have the holes inside, I used all purpose flour and thought maybe that could be the reason.

  4. 4 stars
    I made the ciabatta bread and followed the recipe using a stand mixer and pizza stone.
    It tasted fantastic, but it did not have the old world look with the holes in it that I was hoping for.
    Is there a way to send you a picture?