4 hours 20 min

    Take five minutes today to make the starter, and tomorrow you can bake two loaves of this marvellous, slightly sour, rustic Italian bread. You don't have to use a baking stone to cook the bread, but I like to.

    314 people made this

    Serves: 15 

    • For the starter
    • 1/8 teaspoon dried active baking yeast
    • 2 tablespoons warm water (45 C)
    • 5 tablespoons warm water
    • 150g (5 oz) bread flour
    • For the bread
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried active baking yeast
    • 2 tablespoons warm milk (45 C)
    • 150ml (5 fl oz) warm water
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 275g (10 oz) bread flour
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

    Prep:4hr  ›  Cook:20min  ›  Ready in:4hr20min 

    1. To make the starter: In a medium bowl, stir together the yeast and 2 tablespoons warm water and let stand 5 minutes, or until creamy. Add the remaining water and bread flour. Stir 4 minutes, then cover bowl with cling film. Let starter stand at cool room temperature for at least 12 hours and up to 1 day.
    2. To make the bread: In a small bowl, stir together yeast and warm milk and let stand 5 minutes, or until creamy. In bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, blend together milk mixture, starter, warm water, olive oil and flour at low speed until flour is just moistened; add salt and mix until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Scrape dough into an oiled bowl and cover with cling film.
    3. Let dough rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours. (Dough will be sticky and full of air bubbles.) Turn dough out onto a well-floured work surface and cut in half. Transfer each half to a sheet of baking parchment and form into an irregular oval about 25cm (10 in) long. Dimple loaves with floured fingers and dust tops with flour. Cover loaves with a clean, damp tea towel. Let loaves rise at room temperature until almost doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
    4. At least 45 minutes before baking ciabatta, put a baking stone on the lowest oven shelf and preheat oven to 220 C / Gas mark 7.
    5. Transfer 1 loaf on its parchment to a baking tray, and tilt baking tray to slide loaf with parchment onto back half of stone. Transfer remaining loaf to front half of stone in a similar manner. Bake ciabatta loaves 20 minutes, or until golden. Cool loaves on a wire rack.

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    Reviews in English (231)


    A great tasting ciabatta, very easy to follow and to make. The starter should be left longer than a day to get the best taste. I will definitely be making this again.  -  31 Aug 2009


    I made this last night, having done the starter the day before. I added a bit more warm water to the starter as I found it very dry and stiff. The finished ciabatta was lovely and was enjoyed by all! I agree with the comments that the flavour would be even better with the starter kept a bit longer to develop that sourdough flavour.  -  17 Feb 2011


    This is a good recipe. Nice to find one which really works. The starter keeps for a week at least. Making more is easy.  -  03 May 2010