This ciabatta recipe is delicious! Take five minutes today to make the starter, also called sponge, and tomorrow you can bake two loaves of this marvelous, slightly sour, rustic Italian bread.

High angle looking at a cutting board with a thick slice of ciabatta resting on it.
Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
20 mins
Additional Time:
1 day 20 mins
Total Time:
1 day 1 hr
2 loaves


Sponge (Biga):

  • 2 tablespoons warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)

  • teaspoon active dry yeast

  • 1 cup bread flour

  • cup warm water


  • 2 tablespoons warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)

  • ½ teaspoon active dry yeast

  • 2 cups bread flour

  • cup warm water

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt


  1. Make the sponge: Stir warm water and yeast together in a small bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes, or until creamy.

  2. Combine bread flour and warm water in a large bowl; stir in yeast mixture for 4 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let sponge stand at room temperature for at least 12 hours and up to 1 day.

  3. Make the bread: Combine warm milk and yeast together in a small bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes, or until creamy.

  4. Transfer milk-yeast mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add sponge, bread flour, warm water, and oil; blend until flour is just moistened. Add salt and mix until dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.

    Overhead of bred dough being mixed in a standing mixer.

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  5. Scrape dough into an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours. The dough will be sticky and full of air bubbles.

    Overhead of bread dough resting in a glass bowl.

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  6. Turn dough out onto a well-floured work surface and cut in half. Transfer each half to a parchment sheet and form into an irregular oval about 9 inches long. Dimple loaves with floured fingers and dust tops with flour.

    Overhead of a flour dusted ball of bread dough on a floured surface.

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  7. Cover loaves with a dampened kitchen towel. Let loaves rise at room temperature until almost doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

    Overhead of two balls of bread dough being covered by a kitchen towel.

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  8. At least 45 minutes before baking ciabatta, place a baking stone on the oven rack in the lowest position in the oven; preheat the oven to 425 F (220 degrees C).

  9. Transfer 1 loaf on its parchment to a rimless baking sheet with a long side of the loaf parallel to the far edge of the baking sheet. Line up the far edge of the baking sheet with the far edge of the baking stone in the preheated oven and tilt to slide the loaf with parchment onto the back half of the stone. Transfer the remaining loaf to the front half of the stone in a similar manner. Bake ciabatta loaves until just golden, about 20 minutes. Cool loaves on a wire rack.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

96 Calories
1g Fat
18g Carbs
3g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 15
Calories 96
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1g 2%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 235mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 18g 6%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 3g
Calcium 7mg 1%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 31mg 1%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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