How to Make Ciabatta Bread

5 from 7 votes

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

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.

Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

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.
Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

👨‍🍳 Tried this Recipe? Please leave a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating in the recipe card below and leave a comment. We love hearing from our readers!
⏩ Stay in touch with us on social media by following us on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube!
📬Get our Recipes delivered to your inbox for FREE!

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!

More Easy Bread Recipes

Meet the Platter Talk Guys

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.

Get new recipes sent to your inbox!
Don't miss out! Subscribe and get all the new recipes first.
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. 5 stars
    Worth every bit of the prooving time…
    Delicious and surprisingly easy.. coming from.a newbie to all forms of baking…

    Thank you Dan!

  2. In step 3 above, the arrangement in the oven on the stone is a little confusing, sorry.. so I will attempt to make just 1 loaf of ciabatta.

    Please can you say, how long can I keep the other half for of the mixture for and what do I need to do to reuse it later? Perhaps, take from the fridge 3hrs before like the crusty bread..

  3. 5 stars
    What a lovely picture it is – food, friends and laughter around a bonfire by the lake! Throw in a full moon and it’s just idyllic! I’ve never made Ciabatta before, but considering that I haven’t baked bread in a while, I’d love for this to be my next loaf.

  4. 5 stars
    I don’t make a lot of bread but I’m so impressed with people who do! Ciabatta is such a crusty, wonderful loaf. You’ve got me thinking I can do this!

  5. Oh my gosh this looks like it has the perfect outer crunchy crust. I am not good at making bread but you make it sound easy!

  6. the fact that you have a cottage makes this bread even more cozy! haha. can we visit next?

  7. I have never made ciabatta at home, looking at your recipe has inspired me to have ago.

  8. Dan, this is one of the difficult bread, you made it so perfectly, I have been hesitating to make ciabatta and baguette. Love that perfect crust and crumb.