Ciabatta. That quintessential Italian bread that is so delicious with olive oil and balsamic, is relatively new, and wonderfully simple. First codified as a recipe in 1982, ciabatta rose to prominence as an Italian response to the rising popularity of the French baguette. Try it as a vehicle for dipping, or use it to make an out-of-this-world sandwich. With ciabatta, it’s impossible to disappoint.
- 3¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1¾ cup + 2 tablespoons warm (115 degrees F) water
- 2 teaspoons olive oil, plus more for the bowl
- Whisk dry ingredients together – flour, yeast, salt, and sugar.
- Add warm water, and mix for 5 minutes. Use a stand mixer or a wooden spoon. If you have a dough hook, it is recommended.
- When the dough is formed, flour your hands and knead. Pull the dough up, and fold it over itself to trap air pockets—which produces the pockets in the bread. Do this for a minimum of 5 minutes.
- Place the dough in a large oiled bowl. Cover the bowel with plastic wrap and a towel, leave dough to rise for 2 hours.
- Preheat your over ton 400° F.
- While your oven is preheating, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle it with flour. Flour your hands, and shape the dough into an oblong loaf, approximately 12in x 4in. Sprinkle the top of the loaf with a pinch of flour, for appearance.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, until bread is golden brown. When tapped, the bread should feel hollow. Place the bread on a cooling rack, and let it cool for 20-30 minutes before slicing.