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Sourdough Ciabatta Bread


sourdough ciabatta bread

This sourdough ciabatta bread recipe is so easy and delicious, you may never want to eat your sandwich any other way! Ciabatta bread is known for having an airy and porous texture with the slightest crispy crust.

In this recipe, I give you the option to lower the hydration just a bit to make it more approachable, but it does not skimp out on ciabatta’s classic texture and flavor. All you need is 4 simple ingredients (flour, water, sourdough starter, & salt) and you’ve got yourself the best homemade, classic ciabatta bread!

sourdough ciabatta bread

What is sourdough ciabatta bread?

The word “ciabatta” means “slipper” in Italian, referring to the bread’s unique shape. Ciabatta is a type of Italian bread that is characterized by its oval shape and airy, porous texture. It is made with a mixture of flour, yeast, salt, and water, and is typically baked in a hot oven to produce a crisp crust. When baking it with a sourdough starter, it takes the place of the yeast. The long fermentation process gives this bread a deeper flavor profile, making it incredible!

baked ciabatta bread

Three ways to enjoy your sourdough ciabatta bread

  • Toasted with olive oil and balsamic vinegar: Toast slices of ciabatta bread and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper, and then drizzle with balsamic vinegar for a simple and delicious snack or appetizer.
  • As a sandwich: Use slices of ciabatta bread as the base for a hearty sandwich filled with your favorite ingredients.
  • With dips or spreads: Ciabatta bread makes an excellent addition to any dip or spread platter, as its large surface area provides plenty of room for dipping and its porous texture soaks up flavors beautifully. Serve it with hummus, pesto, or bruschetta topping.
Sourdough Ciabatta Bread - sandwich

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Optional hydration. Typically, sourdough ciabatta bread recipes uses 80% or higher hydration, but this one can be modified between 77%-80%. It makes the dough easier to work with and less intimidating if desired.
  • Minimal prep work. The only prep work comes with mixing the dough and a few stretch and folds. Then place it in the refrigerator until ready to bake. You’ll find the steps straightforward & simple.
  • Minimal equipment. The only baking equipment required is a baking sheet and parchment paper. Nothing fancy is required!

A few tips:

  • For a successful rise, I recommend feeding your starter 8-12 hours before you plan to mix the dough. For instance, I feed my starter the evening before (7 PM) I plan to mix the dough. I will mix the dough at 7 AM the following morning. You want to use an active, bubbly starter.
  • After the dough has been mixed and 4 stretch and folds have been completed, I recommend placing the dough in a rectangular proofing container. This helps with accurately assessing the rise and also allows for easy shaping. I use this one, but any container around 8.5 cups will do. You want the dough to increase by 75-100% in volume.
  • For the first bulk rise, it took mine about 7 hours to increase a bit more than 75% at 70 degrees F. You may need a few extra hours if it is cooler than this or you may need less time in a warmer environment. Watch the dough, not the clock.
sourdough ciabatta

How to make sourdough ciabatta bread: step-by-step

Ingredients & Equipment

  • 500 grams of bread flour
  • 100 grams active sourdough starter
  • 10 grams salt
  • 385-400 grams water (see notes)
  • mixing bowl
  • rectangle proofing container
  • baking sheet
  • parchment paper
  • bench scraper
  • silicone scraper tool (not required, but handy)

Baker’s schedule: feed your sourdough starter the evening before you mix the dough. Mix the dough early in the morning (8 AM) to bake for the following day.

Hydration: This recipe can be done with 385 grams of water or up to 400 grams. You may want to start with 385 and then work your way up. Either way, the result will be lovely.

Mix the dough

  • In a mixing bowl, dissolve the sourdough starter in the water. Stir using a fork.
  • Then, add the flour and salt and mix until the flour has absorbed all the water. This is best achieved with a silicone spatula as the dough is going to be very wet.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Sourdough Ciabatta Bread  - dough

Stretch & Folds

  • After the dough has rested, work the dough into a ball by folding it into itself a few times.
  • Then, perform your first stretch and fold. Take a portion of the dough, stretch it up a few inches, and fold it to the opposing side. Rotate the bowl and do this to all 4 quadrants of the dough. Once complete, cover the mixture.
  • Perform 3 more stretch and folds in 30-minute increments, totaling 4 stretch and folds.
Stretch & Folds

Transfer the dough to the proofing container

  • After all 4 stretch and folds have been completed, transfer the dough to your rectangular proofing container. Anything around 8.5 cups will work.
  • Mark where the dough sits and cover the dough with plastic wrap.
  • Once the dough has increased by 75-100%, cover it and transfer it to the refrigerator for 8-36 hours.

For the dough to increase by 75%-100%, it can take anywhere from 6-9 hours depending on the temperature in your home.

ciabatta dough proofing
Transfer the dough to a rectangular proofing container and cover
ciabatta bread dough
Once the dough has increased by at least 75% in volume, cover, and place it in the refrigerator overnight

Shape the dough

  • The following morning, remove the dough from the refrigerator and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Additionally, spray a little non-stick oil on the parchment paper.
  • Liberally flour your work surface and the top of the dough. It is a sticky dough, so don’t be shy about using enough flour.
  • Using a silicone scraper tool or silicone spatula gently loosen the sides of the dough from the container.
  • Then, invert the container onto the work surface and allow the dough to naturally fall out.
floured work surface for ciabatta bread
Flour the dough and your work surface liberally
  • Sprinkle flour over the entire surface of the dough and gently pat the dough into a 14×9 rectangle.
  • Then, using a bench scraper cut the dough into 8 pieces. I draw lines down the dough using flour to help guide me on where to cut.
  • Place each piece of dough onto the baking sheet about an inch apart.
  • Sprinkle a little flour over each, cover with a damp towel, and let them rest for 1 hour.
Allow the dough to rest for 1 hour
Allow the dough to rest for 1 hour

Bake the sourdough ciabatta bread

  • When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 475 degrees F and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 450 degrees F and bake for 8-10 minutes more or until the bread starts to brown.
Bake the sourdough ciabatta bread
  • Remove from the oven and allow the bread to cool for 1 hour before cutting into it & enjoy!
sourdough ciabatta bread slices

More sourdough recipes to try:

sourdough ciabatta bread
Print Recipe
5 from 6 votes

Sourdough Ciabatta Bread

This sourdough ciabatta bread recipe is made with traditional techniques and simple ingredients. Perfect for dipping or filling with your favorite ingredients.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Proofing time1 day
Keyword: sourdough ciabatta bread
Servings: 8 rolls
Calories: 359kcal

Equipment

  • Mixing bowl
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Bench scraper
  • rectangle proofing container
  • Food scale
  • Silicone scraper tool optional but handy

Ingredients

  • 500 grams bread flour
  • 100 grams active sourdough starter
  • 10 grams salt
  • 385-400 grams water see notes

Instructions

Mix the dough

  • In a mixing bowl, dissolve the sourdough starter in the water. Stir using a fork.
  • Then, add the flour and salt and mix until the flour has absorbed all the water. This is best achieved with a silicone spatula as the dough is going to be very wet.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Stretch & Folds

  • After the dough has rested, work the dough into a ball by folding it into itself a few times.
  • Then, perform your first stretch and fold. Take a portion of the dough, stretch it up a few inches, and fold it to the opposing side. Rotate the bowl and do this to all 4 quadrants of the dough.
  • Once complete, cover the mixture.
  • Perform 3 more stretch and folds in 30-minute increments.

Transfer the dough to the proofing container

  • After all 4 stretch and folds have been completed, transfer the dough to your rectangular proofing container. Anything around 8.5 cups will work.
  • Mark where the dough sits and cover the dough with plastic wrap.
  • Once the dough has increased in volume by 75-100%, cover it and transfer it to the refrigerator for 8-36 hours.
  • For the dough to increase by 75-100%, it can take anywhere from 6-9 hours depending on the temperature in your home. Mine took 7 hours @ 70 degrees F.

Shape the dough

  • The following morning, remove the dough from the refrigerator and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Additionally, spray a little non-stick oil on the parchment paper.
  • Liberally flour your work surface and the top of the dough. It is a sticky dough, so don't be shy about using enough flour.
  • Using a silicone scraper tool or silicone spatula gently loosen the sides of the dough from the container.
  • Then, invert the container onto the work surface and allow the dough to naturally fall out.
  • Sprinkle flour over the entire surface of the dough and gently pat the dough into a 14×9 rectangle.
  • Then, using a bench scraper cut the dough into 8 pieces. I draw lines down the dough using flour to help guide me on where to cut.
  • Place each piece of dough onto the baking sheet about an inch apart, sprinkle with a little flour, & cover with a damp towel and let them rest for 1 hour.

Bake the sourdough ciabatta bread

  • When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 475 degrees F and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 450 degrees F and bake for 8-10 minutes more or until the bread starts to brown.
  • Remove from the oven and allow the bread to cool for 1 hour before cutting into it & enjoy!
  • Any leftover sourdough ciabatta bread can be stored in an airtight continer or bread bag for 3-4 days on the counter.

Notes

Baker’s schedule: feed your sourdough starter the evening before you mix the dough. Mix the dough early in the morning (8 AM) to bake for the following day.
Hydration: This recipe can be done with 385 grams of water or up to 400 grams. You may want to start with 385 and then work your way up. Either way, the result will be lovely.

Nutrition

Serving: 1roll | Calories: 359kcal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 2g

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Comments

  1. Laurie Hopkins Avatar
    Laurie Hopkins

    This was a delicious recipe by itself as well as with the fixings.5 stars

    1. Thank you! So glad you enjoyed them!

  2. Kristen Avatar
    Kristen

    Okay so I made these with 385 g water and they turned out beautifully but how did you calculate 170 cal each?? 8 servings with 500 gram bread flour is at minimum 225 cal each not including the calories from the 100g starter. Might want to update that…5 stars

    1. I’m so glad they turned out beautifully for you Kristen! When I originally created this recipe I was cutting them into 12 smaller rolls (dinner roll size) so that’s where those numbers derived from. The recipe has evolved since then. Thank you for letting me know I should update that!