How to Make Ciabatta Bread

5 from 7 votes

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If you’re wondering how to make ciabatta bread, you have come to the right place. Simple and fast, it is the perfect way to get you started on your bread-making journey.

Overhead view of loaf of ciabatta berad
Italian lady’s slipper bread is great for beginners!

As a bonus, it’s super delicious and will give you confidence that we all need when learning how to bake.

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What is Ciabatta?

Ciabatta is a long, float Italian bread. It can be made in many variations, but it is known for its big airy holes that fill nicely with butter, olive oil, and so many other yummy additions.

Just like our crusty bread, it is made from a sticky, wet dough that give is a rustic look and a special flavor. It’s one of our favorite homemade breads, just like this sourdough rye bread, our homemade dinner rolls, and this yummy Irish soda bread.

This is perfect for dunking into homemade soups, sopping up extra spaghetti sauce on a plate, or dipping into a puddle of aged balsamic vinegar.

What’s in Ciabatta Bread?

The main ingredients for this Italian bread are flour, yeast, and olive oil. This shortlist makes it a popular choice if you’re learning how to make bread.

Sliced ciabatta bread on plate with balsamic vinegar
A good quality aged balsamic goes great with this recipe.

How to make ciabatta bread

This starts with a simple bread sponge which is a simple “starter.” A sponge gives the finished bread loads of flavor and helps for a beautiful crusty finish.

Allowing the bread sponge to sit and preferment is where the magic comes from. You should let it sit for a minimum of a couple of hours. I like to make the sponge the night before, seal it, then let it rest in the refrigerator overnight.

When you’re ready to bake the ciabatta, it’s just a matter of mixing the sponge with the main bread dough. Then you shape a couple of loaves and let them rise for an hour or so before baking.

There’s no need to be a master baker for this easy Italian bread. Try making this one soon and let us know what you think. We love hearing from our readers!

Common Questions

How do you pronounce ciabatta?

Chu-baa-tah! Think of an Italian chef, opera singer, or artist when saying this. It helps!

Why is my ciabatta flat?

It is suppose to be on the flat side, resembling a lady’s slipper. Thus, it’s nickname!

Can you freeze ciabatta bread?

Yes, ciabatta freezes well. Double wrap in kitchen wrap and then with an outer covering of foil. It should last for 3 months, and beyond, in the freezer.

What can I serve with this?

  • Soups
  • Extra-virgin oil and balsamic vinegar
  • Use it to make panini
  • Serve it with stew
  • Make salad croutons from stale ciabatta

What to do Leftover Bread

Homemade bread is a versatile ingredient that enhances various recipes. For example, it can be sliced and layered in a cheese strata, adding a comforting texture. It can also be cubed and toasted to create crunchy croutons, or used as a hearty base in a make-ahead Christmas casserole, absorbing flavors beautifully.

How to make ciabatta bread from Platter Talk food and recipe blog.
Italian slipper bread is the perfect recipe for beginners.
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How to Make Ciabatta Bread

5 from 7 votes
This easy recipe for Italian slipper bread is adapted from Epicurious.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 17 hours
Yield: 12 Slices


for sponge

  • 1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons warm water, 105°‐115° F.
  • 1/3 cup room-temperature water
  • 1 cup bread flour

for bread

  • 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons warm milk, 105°‐115° F.
  • 2/3 cup room-temperature water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt


for sponge

  • In a small bowl stir together yeast and warm water and let stand 5 minutes, or until creamy. In a bowl stir together yeast mixture, room-temperature water, and flour and stir 4 minutes. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let sponge stand at cool room temperature at least 12 hours and up to 1 day.

for bread

  • In a small bowl stir together yeast and milk and let stand 5 minutes, or until creamy. In bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with dough hook blend together milk mixture, sponge, water, oil, and flour at low speed until flour is just moistened and beat dough at medium speed 3 minutes. Add salt and beat 4 minutes more. Scrape dough into an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours. (Dough will be sticky and full of air bubbles.)
  • Have ready a rimless baking sheet and 2 well-floured 12- by 6-inch sheets parchment paper. Turn dough out onto a well-floured work surface and cut in half. Transfer each half to a parchment sheet and form into an irregular oval about 9 inches long. Dimple loaves with floured fingers and dust tops with flour. Cover loaves with a dampened kitchen towel. Let loaves rise at room temperature until almost doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  • At least 45 minutes before baking ciabatta, put a baking stone or 4 to 6 unglazed “quarry” tiles (see note, above) arranged close together on oven rack in lowest position in oven and preheat oven to 425° F.  Transfer 1 loaf on its parchment to baking sheet with a long side of loaf parallel to far edge of baking sheet. Line up far edge of baking sheet with far edge of stone or tiles, and tilt baking sheet to slide loaf with parchment onto back half of stone or tiles. Transfer remaining loaf to front half of stone or tiles in a similar manner. Bake ciabatta loaves 20 minutes, or until pale golden. With a large spatula transfer loaves to a rack to cool.


  • Have a small bowl of water at your side when shaping the bread. This will make the sticky dough easier to handle.
  • Don’t be alarmed if the bread loaves appear flat. They will rise and give you delicious results!
  • Use a stand mixer to make this recipe. If you mix by hand, you’ll have the urge to add more flour in order to make the dough easier to work with. Adding too much flour will give you bread, but not ciabatta!


Calories: 127kcal, Carbohydrates: 23g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 2g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 1mg, Sodium: 293mg, Potassium: 39mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Calcium: 8mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Bread
Cuisine: Italian
Tried this recipe?Mention @plattertalk or tag #plattertalk!

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Dan & Scott split their time between Wisconsin and Southwest Florida and are dads to six boys. Good food runs through their veins, and they love showing others how to cook easy recipes.

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  1. 5 stars
    I’ve always wanted to make ciabatta so I’m glad to hear that it’s not hard, especially for people who don’t bake bread. And I lOVE dipping ciabatta in aged balsamic vinegar. That sounds like a truly lovely evening.

  2. 5 stars
    I LOVE Cibatta bread! This looks so amazing and so good. I want to bake some up and dip into a big bowl of soup!

  3. 5 stars
    This looks like a wonderful recipe, sure to be a staple for any comforting meal. You can’t beat homemade bread, it’s just the best!! 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    Sounds like a wonderful Saturday night. The best bread is always homemade, something so moreish about it.

  5. 4 stars
    Sounds like a perfect day! And who could say no to freshly baked, homemade bread even if t hadn’t been perfect enough already?

  6. Superb, I am determined to cook more bread this winter and ciabatta and foccacia are on the list, definitely giving this a try.