Light Summer Ciabatta

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Light Summer Ciabatta

star rating (9) rate this recipe »
Published prior to 2008

We love this recipe. It yields an extremely light, air pocket-riddled loaf, wonderful for splitting lengthwise, to make a sandwich.

Biga (starter)
1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup water
1/8 teaspoon instant yeast

biga (from above)
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon Baker’s Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil

Mix the biga ingredients in a small bowl until well combined. Let the biga rest overnight, covered, or for up to 15 hours.

Place all of the dough ingredients, including the biga, into the bowl of your mixer, and beat it at medium speed (speed 4 on a KitchenAid), using the flat beater, for 7 minutes, until it's extremely smooth and elastic; it'll be soft. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover it, and allow it to rise for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, deflating it once midway through the rising time, if you happen to be around and it fits into your schedule. Note: you may also prepare this dough in a bread machine programmed for the dough cycle. When the cycle ends deflate the dough, and let it remain in the machine an additional 90 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a well-oiled work surface. Lightly grease a half sheet baking pan (18" x 13") or similar large pan, and your hands. Using a bench knife or your fingers, divide the dough in half. Handling the dough gently, stretch it into a log about 10" long, and place it crosswise on one half of the baking sheet. Flatten the log with your fingers till it's about 4" wide. Repeat with the remaining piece of dough. Lightly cover the dough with heavily oiled plastic wrap or a proof cover, and allow it to rise for 1 hour. Oil your fingers, and gently poke deep holes all over the dough. Re-oil the plastic wrap, re-cover the dough, and allow it to rise for an additional hour. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 425°F.

Spritz the risen loaves with lukewarm water. Bake them for 18 to 20 minutes, or until they’re golden brown. Turn off the oven, remove the ciabatta from the baking sheet, and return them to the oven, propping the oven door open a couple of inches with a folded-over potholder. Allow the ciabatta to cool completely in the oven; this will give them a very crisp crust.
Yield: 2 loaves.

Pan Bagna
The name of this delicious stuffed sandwich translates to “bathed bread.” This reference comes from the olive oil drizzled heavily over the inside crust.

Split a ciabatta in half lengthwise, and brush or drizzle each half with olive oil. Fill the ciabatta with Italian cold cuts, provolone cheese, chopped olives, softened sun-dried tomatoes, sliced red onions, lettuce, basil leaves, sliced peppers or pimientos, or any combination of any similar sandwich-type fillings. Wrap the sandwich tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and top with a weighted baking sheet (a baking sheet with a couple of bricks or heavy cans on top). Let the pan bagna rest under the weights for a couple of hours, then slice and serve.
Yield: 8 to 12 servings.

Garlic Bread
I'm sure we're all familiar with the typical white/squishy, butter-soaked type of garlic bread so prevalent in the '60s and '70s. In fact, I myself find it still a very tasty treat. But as the recipe's so simple, I decided to do here a “new-age” garlic bread—still simple, but hopefully even more enjoyable. The bread is crustier, the garlic fresher, and olive oil as well as butter plays a major role. Serve this with your favorite tomato-sauce-based pasta dish, and you'll understand again why garlic and tomatoes are just so right together. Ciabatta is the perfect loaf to transform into garlic bread.

1 medium head garlic, cloves separated and peeled (about 2 ounces, about 15-20 cloves), finely minced*
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1/3 cup (2 3/8 ounces) olive oil
pinch of salt
4 ounces parmesan cheese, cut in chunks and grated (1 cup grated)
parsley (if you like)

*A mini food processor is an invaluable tool for this task.
Assembly: Prepare the topping by combining the minced garlic cloves, melted butter, olive oil and a pinch of salt. Just before serving, cut the two loaves in half lengthwise, like you're going to make a couple of giant sandwiches. Spread the cut halves with the garlic mixture. Bake the bread in a preheated 400°F oven for about 10 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and the edges of the bread are starting to brown. Remove the bread from the oven, and sprinkle it immediately with the grated Parmesan and parsley, if desired.
Yield: about 24 servings.

Copyright 2004 The Baker's Catalogue, Inc.


  • star rating 05/04/2015
  • from Lowell,MA
  • Very easy to put together! It does take time, but it's very forgiving and it will wait for you ! Delicious. I make it often and we use it for BLT Sandwiches!
  • star rating 03/14/2015
  • mark from tampa
  • I skipped the 2nd rise so it wasn't very airy (Yes I know, but I often don't follow recipes.) Taste just wasn't there. The other traditional ciabatta recipe was better.
  • star rating 10/22/2014
  • Paula from Lowell,MA
  • I've been making this ciabatta for several years. It's really the only bread we use for BLT Sandwiches! So very easy, fits into any schedule I have for the day. Very forgiving, very delicious! Thanks KA! I do add an extra 1/4 cup extra of flour. Personal preference.
  • star rating 06/16/2012
  • Bob from Timonium Md
  • Perfect results first try. Great oven spring and big holes. Only change was 1/3 C. more flour because sponge was very watery after 15 hrs. in a warm kitchen. Cut all proof times down a bit due to temperature. Used SAF instant years. Did in a bread machine as directed.
  • star rating 02/23/2012
  • Owen Stubbs from KAF Community
  • The taste was good, but the texture was nothing like I expected, and certainly nothing like the photos. The bread crumb, or holes, were very small like regular white bread, not big and irregular as I expected. While the dough seemed to double as needed, it just sort of flowed outward on a baking sheet. Final loaves were at most an inch thick. Will attempt it again one of these days, but my first attempt was definitely not a success.
    We would love to hear more about this and help you have a successful second try. Please call our baker's hotline for further assistance. ~Amy
  • star rating 05/26/2011
  • sonomagrl from KAF Community
  • This bread is delicious! I made the rustic ciabatta recipe from the site first and it was hard as a rock, so I tried this one which was much better. I used my San Francisco sour dough started rather than the biga and used a baguette pan rather than flat baking sheets because the dough really spreads out. Now, about the dough, it is very wet and sticky. This could be tough for a beginner bread maker who isn't familiar with different dough consistencies. But otherwise, it's nice!
  • star rating 04/21/2011
  • Carey from VT
  • can I make this without a mixer
    No, this recipe will require a stand mixer. The dough is much too loose to attempt by hand. Sorry. Frank @ KAF.
  • star rating 01/19/2011
  • dryneth from KAF Community
  • I have made this many times and while my result isn't exactly like the ciabatta I'm used to (this is lighter and less chewy), it's really delicious! I cut the dough smaller to make large round sandwich sized rolls before the final rise, and I spritz with water a couple of times during the baking. We have Sandwich Night every Thursday and my husband is always happy to see these rolls on the cooling rack! I also make some as a small version of the traditional slipper shape, to split and toast. This is my most-used KAF recipe!
    Thank you for sharing your tradition with us, we are glad to be a part of it. ~Amy @KAF
  • star rating 08/08/2009
  • gforce from NV
  • This was an all day recipe that is for sure! I followed the recipe to a T. Nice taste and texture. The bread had all the holes and was light and delicious! I thought this could have been a little thicker bread but it could have been the weather. We are in NV but we have had rain the last couple days. All in all the only thing I wish is that this recipe didn't take as long as it does...