Ciabatta Loaf

Last week I finished up a three day course at Silwood Cookery School. It was wonderful. One of the things we made on the last day, was Ciabatta.

This bread has an Italian origin and is called Ciabatta because it translates to “slipper” and the bread looks like a slipper. Not any pair that I’ve ever owned, but that’s the story.

I’ve made Ciabatta before, and this is why I love to do different courses, because everyone is different, everyone has something unique that they add to things, and learning from different people, just gives me a well rounded education. The recipe that I have used in the past, was quite different to the one we got on the morning of the course, so I have sort of used the best of each of the recipes, and below is the result.


One thing that was new to me, was using a dough hook. I’ve always made bread by hand, and it was a great experience to learn something new. I’ve used my starter that I started a while back for my sour dough loaf so I didn’t need to start one, if you don’t have a starter, follow the link and get one going, keep it in the fridge and use it at least once every 5 days. Replace what you have used. It’s great to have one on hand when the urge to bake bread hits you.

110g of starter
10g fresh yeast (3 ml of instant yeast)
60 ml lukewarm water
8 ml olive oil
350g flour
10g salt
250ml cold water

Begin by adding the yeast to the lukewarm water and leaving to stand for 5 minutes


Add the yeasted water, cold water and the olive oil to the starter and mix well.

Add the flour and salt and combine well.


With a dough hook, and your mixer on low, knead for 10 minutes.

Turn up the speed to medium and knead for a further 4 minutes until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.


Cover the dough and leave to rise for 3 hours, it should treble it’s size.


Toss a bit of flour on top of the dough and do not knock the dough back, you want to preserve all those air bubbles that have been created. Gently turn the dough out onto a well floured work surface.



Divide the dough into two, again, be gentle.


Gently lift the dough onto a floured baking sheet, tuck the sides under the dough and form into a slipper shape.


Dust loaves with flour.

Preheat oven to 220C and allow the loaves to prove for 30 minutes. They will spread out as well as rise a bit.

Bake the loaves for 30 minutes. Just before I put the loaves in, I spray the oven with water, this creates steam that will give your loaves a great crust.

Place your loaves in the oven and after 5 minutes, spray again. Spray the loaves too, this will add to the crust. Repeat after 10 minutes and then 5 minutes before you take them out. Some people just pop a couple of ice blocks into the oven to get the same effect. Give it a try and see if it works.

Remove your loaves from the oven and allow to cool on a rack.


I was really happy when I cut into my loaf, there were terrific uneven bubbles, a great crust and it tasted great too.


This bread freezes well, just defrost, rub with a little water and pop into a hot oven for about 6 to 8 minutes.

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