Recipe summary

Hands-on time:
15 mins. to 25 mins.
Baking time:
18 mins. to 20 mins.
Total time:
12 hrs 33 mins. to 18 hrs 45 mins.
Yield:
12 rolls
Overnight
Italy's light-textured ciabatta bread, with its overnight starter and long rises, develops wonderful flavor. Translated to rolls, ciabatta becomes the perfect vehicle for an overstuffed sandwich. Sturdy enough to hold any filling, these flat rolls — they fit beautifully in the toaster — are mostly crust, meaning you don't have a lot of bread competing with the cheese, meat, and veggies.
Volume Ounces Grams

Starter

Dough

Directions

  1. 1) To make the starter: Mix the starter ingredients in a small bowl until well combined. Cover the starter and let it rest at room temperature overnight, or for up to 15 hours. It will become bubbly.
  2. 2) Place all of the dough ingredients, including the starter, into the bowl of your mixer, and beat at medium speed, using the flat beater, for 7 minutes. The dough will be very smooth, soft, shiny, and elastic. Alternatively, knead the dough ingredients in your bread machine using the dough cycle.
  3. 3) Transfer the dough to a greased bowl or other rising container, cover it, and let it rise for 2 hours, deflating it midway through. If you're using a bread machine, allow it to rise for an additional hour after the dough cycle has ended.
  4. 4) Lightly grease your work surface, and two half-sheet baking pans (18" x 13") or similar large baking sheets. Grease your hands, as well.
  5. 5) Turn the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly greased work surface.
  6. 6) Divide the dough into 12 pieces, about 80g (2 1/4 ounces) each. Round each into a ball. Gently stretch the balls into flattened disks, about 3 1/2" wide.
  7. 7) Transfer the rolls to the baking sheets, leaving about 3" between them.
  8. 8) Lightly cover the rolls with heavily oiled plastic wrap or a proof cover, and allow them to rise for 2 to 3 hours, or until they're showing some signs of puffiness. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425F.
  9. 9) Spritz the risen rolls with lukewarm water, and gently but firmly dimple each one with your fingers, making fairly deep pockets.
  10. 10) Immediately place the rolls into the oven. Bake them until they're golden brown, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack.
  11. 11) Slice crosswise, and add your favorite fillings. Store any leftovers, tightly wrapped, at room temperature. Rolls may be reheated just before serving, if desired; tent lightly with foil, and heat for about 8 minutes in a 350F oven.
  12. Yield: 12 rolls.

Tips from our bakers

  • This recipe makes larger, sandwich-type rolls. For smaller dinner rolls, divide the dough into 16 to 20 pieces.