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Quick Easy Ciabatta Recipe

This quick easy ciabatta recipe was shown to me by the lovely Rafaella of Al Dente, who put the recipe together for her husband while on his sailing trips so that he could enjoy fresh bread on his journeys. It’s such a great recipe and the ‘beating’ of the dough rather than kneading it produces lovely big air pockets. The upside to the recipe is that it is so quick and easy and always turns out light and airy so we are making at least 3 loaves a week at present, the downside of that is we are eating far more bread than we normally do!

You can make this dough the night before you wish to eat it and leave the dough proving overnight in the fridge. Dough will always rise in the fridge, just at a slower rate. If you do make it the night before you just need to bring the dough out of the fridge an hour before baking it to allow the dough to come to room temperature.


  • 500g High grade flour (strong flour)
  • 450 ml Luke warm (room temperature)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon dry Yeast
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • Olive Oil


  1. Pre heat oven to 200C
  2. In a large bowl mix with your hands flour, sugar and yeast.
  3. Pour in the water.
  4. Add salt and ‘beat’ in the bowl with your hands for 5 minutes. The dough should be like a very thick pancake paste not like a regular bread dough. To beat the dough you need to pull at parts of the dough and stretch it up high and then slap it down again. This pushes air pockets into the dough to create the airy texture. If you have a food mixer, beat it with a dough hook but still finish off with the hand method to push air pockets into the dough.
  5. Pour about 1 Tablespoon of olive oil over the dough so the oil covers the top and goes down the side of the dough.
  6. Allow to rise covered with plastic wrap for about 1 hour or until it doubles in size.
  7. Pour the dough onto a well floured work surface (without kneading any further) and fold over like an envelope length ways to create the ciabatta shape.
  8. Lift dough onto a floured baking tray and bake for 30-40 minutes, until golden and when tapped sounds hollow.
99 Comments Post a comment
  1. Can’t remember who it was but saw ciabatta on another blog recently – at my first kitchen job we made it when it was quiet, the recipe was Patricia Wells I think. Yours looks lovely 🙂

    May 7, 2010
  2. Ciabatta bread is so tasty. It’s perfect for sandwiches. What do you think of Mozzarella Chicken Sandwich on ciabatta?

    Pretty yummy, if you ask me. Thanks for sharing!!

    May 7, 2010
  3. M. #

    I like ‘beating of the dough’ part…. Is seems like, it not only yields good bread but I’m sure it releases some stress as well 🙂

    May 7, 2010
  4. What a fantastic recipe!! Thank you for sharing it. I love the air pockets.

    May 8, 2010
  5. Looks very tasty!
    Greetings from Turkey!

    May 8, 2010
  6. I am no longer scared of ciabatta! Thanks for sharing; this is yet another ‘must try’ recipe.

    H 🙂

    May 10, 2010
  7. Von #

    I’ve always wanted to make cabiatta bread- I’m definitely trying this one day! the ‘beating’ sounds fun!

    May 23, 2010
  8. a fairly simple recipe and very tasty, very impatient to try it soon ….

    June 21, 2010
  9. trudie #

    take some tomatoes ,cut up mix with some garlic,olive oil,salt and pepper.Fry slices of ciabbata in olive oil till browned both sides.Serve with tomatoe on top if bread.

    November 8, 2010
    • Molly #

      This recipe with the tomatoes sounds amazing, i was thinking of trying this exact one but with bacon along with the other ingredients, does this sound good? 🙂

      January 5, 2011
  10. Michelle Best #

    Just made my first ciabatta using your recipe and it worked like a treat. Much easier to make than a normal loaf. Many thanks for posting!

    February 22, 2011
    • peasepudding #

      Michelle, I’m glad you enjoyed it, you should try the focaccia recipe, it is pretty well the same but with more water added. it makes an amazing crisp outer and soft almost crumpet like centre.

      February 22, 2011
  11. Lucy #

    I’m halfway through making this… but the dough is so runny, I’m not sure if I’ve got this right at all!! Will have to wait and see. Fingers crossed.

    March 28, 2011
    • peasepudding #

      it is a lot wetter than regular bread dough. How did it turn out?

      March 31, 2011
    • Kayellen #

      I have just taken the bread from the oven, I also found the dough so runny it was difficult to handle, hence I have a very strange looking loaf, I will try again and cut down on the water.Cheers Kayellen

      October 20, 2014
  12. Patrick #

    Quick, easy and very tasty.

    I wasn’t too sure how it would turn out at as the dough was very sticky (unlke other bread dough I’ve made before) but the finished product was perfect.

    May 7, 2011
    • peasepudding #

      Yes it s an unusual dough, shown to me by a lady from Naples but it always comes out perfect. Hard work beating though :0)

      May 9, 2011
  13. Jane #

    This is a fantastic recipe – very straightforward. I tried it last night and enjoyed wonderful ciabatta with spag bol. The texture was very open, and the flavur was good. I used organic strong white bread flour and organic yeast, both of which I’ve found give ‘ordinary’ bread a really good flavour.

    The dough is incredibly runny so I’m glad I read the comments so was expecting that – and wasn’t too surprised when I had to chase it across the worktop. I was in hysterics trying to lift the bread onto the baking tray but managed it eventually.

    I did cheat and used my Kenwood with the dough attachment to do the bulk of the mixing, then used a spatula to lift the dough up and slap it back in the bowl. Made my arm ache so this will be good for toning up!

    May 20, 2011
    • peasepudding #

      Great to here you enjoyed the recipe and good to know it worked well with the Kenwood, I might try that next time too and save on arm muscles! Love your description of it running round the work top.

      May 20, 2011
  14. Lauren #

    Wow, made some of this yesterday, so simple. I missed out the step of folding it on the benchtop and put it straight onto the tray and folded it there- still worked great – looked exactly like your picture. Thank you, will definitely be making this again!

    May 29, 2011
    • peasepudding #

      It’s so great to get feedback and know the recipe has been quite successful for other people too, glad you have enjoyed it.

      May 29, 2011
  15. This is such a great recipe! I have adapted it slightly and will blog about my adaptation, linking to your original recipe, unless you have objections. I’ll comment with a link to my post, but I guess you’ll be notified anyway. Thank you for publishing this!!!

    June 27, 2011
  16. made this today, was yumm-o! i’m glad i noticed your instruction that said ‘pour’ the dough otherwise i would have been horrified and wondered what on earth i’d made. i used 100gm wholemeal flour and it still seemed great. thanks for sharing

    July 27, 2011
  17. I like the sound of this and will definitely test the recipe soon.

    July 27, 2011
  18. Jane #

    Still using this recipe – haven’t found one to beat it. Consistently good results 🙂 so big thank you’s!

    January 22, 2012
  19. Allassandra #

    It’s just soooo good..though eating an entire loaf to yourself is NOT going to help with the diet..oops, and if you bake it in a silicone loaf tray thingy you get a lovely chewy texture on the outside and a texture like crumpets on the inside

    February 2, 2012
  20. Amy #

    I tried this recipe out yesterday and OH MY GOSH – it is sooo tasty! I tired to show some restraint and let the bread cool before we scoffed it all, but no such luck for the bread – my partner, brother and I sat in the kitchen eating slices of beautiful warm bread and butter.
    This was my first attempt at making bread without the aid of my bread maker – and I it was so simple. I was a little short on time yesterday so I used my mixer with the dough hook, then finished off the dough by hand ‘beating’ it, gave lots of lovely pockets of air to the finished bread.
    I think this will now be a regular in my household!

    February 19, 2012
    • peasepudding #

      Thanks for the feedback Amy, I’m so glad you enjoyed it.

      February 20, 2012
      • Emilie #

        I made mine with spelt flour and was delicious! Great recipe!!!!

        February 26, 2013
  21. very great recipe, I definitly to try cook today

    March 7, 2012
  22. Alpo Ruussi #

    Hi there and greetings from Finland, the land of dark sour rye bread 😉

    I have to try this one out because I haven’t mastered the art of spong making/reserving, looks really great!

    There’s one thing that caught my eye thou:

    Step 1. Preheat oven to 200C.
    Preheat before beating the dough and letting the it rise for an hour? Seems like a waste of energy to me. Correct me if I’m missing something.


    March 20, 2012
    • peasepudding #

      Good point Antii, probably best to preheat oven once the dough is half risen, unless of course you have a very cold kitchen and the heat of the oven will help it rise. In the winter I have my oven on most of the time, I like the warmth ;o)

      Dark rye is my favourite bread, I must get a new starter culture going.

      March 21, 2012
  23. Spency #

    Wish me luck I have lost my recipie so giving this one ago
    Fingers Crossed

    April 22, 2012
    • peasepudding #

      I hope you enjoy it and of course you can use any berries

      April 23, 2012
  24. Lai:-) #

    Ive been slaving myself reading and comparing different ciabatta recipes for weeks now but just left me more confused than ever!! Among all of them,I find ur recipe interesting and easy. Just a couple of questions, do u pull, stretch and slap the dough in the bowl or on the counter? And also i plan to make two smaller loaves out of the recipe, can u pls tell me when should i divide the dough and the temp and minutes to bake it.. Thank you so much! 🙂

    April 24, 2012
    • Jane #

      Slap it about in the bowl – if you do it on the counter it will run away all over the place and you’ll have no dough left! I’m speaking from experience here…….

      April 24, 2012
    • peasepudding #

      Hi Lai,
      Do the lifting / kneading in the bowl, it is too wet for the kitchen top. Once you have done that for 5 minutes, more if you have the muscle power, divide the dough in two and allow to rise separately. Once the smaller loaves have proved to double size gently move them onto their own floured baking trays. Bake the smaller loaves for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and feel hollow when tapped. Good luck

      April 24, 2012
  25. Anneli #

    Hi if I wanted to make buns how many would this recipe make and how long would I bake them for?

    April 26, 2012
    • peasepudding #

      Hi Annneli, I’m not sure this recipe would be good for buns as it is quite a wet dough.

      April 26, 2012
  26. Thank you for this great recipe! I am amazed by how easy it is to make such a beautiful ciabatta!! I’ve always though it will be too difficult to make my own bread, but now I have done it! I gotta say I’ve done a pretty good job too! Still amazed how well it turned out! I actually ate half a loaf myself! Not so good on the dieting part I suppose, but since I’m breastfeeding now, it’s still ok. Thanks again!

    May 26, 2012
  27. saarnak #

    It is in the oven right now and looks wonderful. Thank you for making it so easy to make ciabatta.

    June 3, 2012
    • peasepudding #

      Enjoy the loaf! I must make some again soon.

      June 3, 2012
  28. I’m going to try making the bread this weekend, I love ciabatta! I hope it comes out ok.

    July 4, 2012
  29. Ann Williams #

    This really is easy. The only part I found difficult was moving it onto a baking sheet, but maybe that gets easier with practice! My family can’t get enough of this ciabatta!

    July 7, 2012
    • peasepudding #

      I’m glad you enjoyed it. It is a bit tricky to move the bread but rustic looking is good. Some people find using large ‘plasterboard scrapers’ helps to get under the bread. You can pick them up cheap in DIY stores

      July 7, 2012
  30. It came out perfectly! Thank you for this great recipe. I would love to see some different variations of it 🙂

    July 8, 2012
  31. I am trying your recipe but with a slight difference. I have added fresh rosemary. It certainly smells good but just have to wait a bit before I can taste it.

    July 8, 2012
    • It worked well with the rosemary! Thank you for an easy, quick, tasty recipe. This one is definitally going into my recipe book!

      July 9, 2012
      • Jane #

        Chopped olives work really well – dry them off first 🙂

        July 9, 2012
  32. Hollie #

    Just made this and it came out perfectly!! First try at making any sort of loaf and its so yummy! Thank you so much for this awesome recipe 🙂

    July 18, 2012
  33. Oh that looks so good it makes me wanna eat gluten!

    September 14, 2012
    • peasepudding #

      Thanks Jarrod, it such an easy recipe too, perfect with Moon Over Martinborough olive oil! I didn’t realise you were gluten free?

      September 17, 2012
  34. Monica #

    So easy!! Came out perfect, thanks!!

    September 25, 2012
    • peasepudding #

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, it really is a great bread. He foccacia is also good.

      September 28, 2012
  35. wow… made it twice this week already, saw your recipe on the Cake Hunter blog and will be posting it on my blog on Sunday if that’s ok (with links back to you, of course)… so simple it’s hard to believe! Thanks for the inspiration!

    October 19, 2012
  36. Laura Aurora #

    I made this recipe today & used it as pizza bases (it made 8) – had to use plenty of extra flour when shaping them though but the pizzas were a huge success!
    I’ll definitely be using this recipe again.

    November 10, 2012
  37. Just made some of my own and I’ve eaten half of it already! This recipe is ace thank you!

    January 10, 2013
  38. GREAT recipe!

    January 17, 2013
  39. Neil #

    Compared this recipe with others on the internet and thought this cannot be right. Read reviews and thought I would give it a go. Well was I wrong!! This recipe is absolutely amazing. Thank you so much to the person who posted this. Finding recipes like this is what the internet is for. 🙂

    January 25, 2013
    • peasepudding #

      Thanks Neil and to everyone else who has made and enjoyed this recipe. I tried a different recipe this week and was disappointed so will come back to my original.

      January 25, 2013
  40. Been thinking of this recipe for weeks. Am low on cash but high in ingredients in the house. Will be making this for my lovely new BF. It will accompany a Moroccan Garlic, Chorizo and Poached Egg soup (recipe from Moro cook book & is simple & gorgeous in this cold(s) season… & tomorrow brunch with Mozzarella, Tomato, Red Onion and Pesto (Bruschetta) I can’t wait.. such positive reviews 🙂

    March 21, 2013
  41. Wesley #

    Great recipe. My first time making bread and it turned out great!

    I did find that the crust was a bit too thick and hard. but the inside was cooked perfectly.

    How can i get a slightly thinner crust next time? Should i try baking it at a different temperature?

    May 1, 2013
  42. Tony q226 #

    I tried this after reading the many comments recommending this recipe. The problem I have is the dough is far too wet and loose to hold a shape after proving.

    May 16, 2013
    • peasepudding #

      Hi tony, the dough is quite wet but it will hold a flat slipper shape common with ciabatta.

      May 18, 2013
      • Tony q 226 #

        Thank you for that but I will have to try reducing the water slightly as I do need more of a shape to offset the depth of crust my oven produces, not only on this loaf but any other bread I bake.

        May 19, 2013
    • Jane #

      Tony, see my comment in May 2011 about chasing around the worktop! It does work, I still say this is the best recipe.

      May 20, 2013
      • Tony #

        Yes Jane I agree it is the best. I have tried many including the one from Paul Holliwood which entails making a starter mixture and leaving it for 8 hours before proceeding on. I think the main trouble with mine is the same as other breads I make, my gas oven has a bottom burner which is not that efficient with bread baked open as opposed to in a pan or tin. I will be looking for a long shallow tin which should solve my problem.

        May 20, 2013
      • peasepudding #

        Thanks Jane and Tony for your comments, it is a bit unusual at first wight he sought so wet. Maybe Tony you could fold the dough, one half over the other once proved. This might produce a better shape and an additional air pocket.

        May 20, 2013
  43. Louis #

    Epic recipe! Its only the second time I’ve ever baked a bread and its perfect, thank you!

    June 2, 2013
    • peasepudding #

      Good to hear it works for you Louis, happy bread baking!

      June 9, 2013
  44. shmoot #

    Thanks for this recipe, mine was a bit wet so couldn’t quite manage envelope fold, and had to move quickly to get scoop up onto the baking tray! But it was a nice easy recipe and it tasted great so that’s all that really counts in my book. Will definitely be trying again, and maybe using some of the variations suggested 🙂

    July 4, 2013
    • Tony #

      I have tried this several times now and find it far to wet to get any shape out of it. It just forms an elongated puddle. It does taste good though if a little thin.

      July 22, 2013
  45. HB #

    I tried this last night to the letter but my dough was normal and not runny at all?? I have done a lot of baking and I am at a loss with this. Please help!

    July 20, 2013
  46. LouiseHR #

    I’ve made this and ‘normal’ (complicated) Ciabatta. There was no difference at all in the quality of the results so I’m sticking with this now!

    August 11, 2013
  47. Tony #

    Oh dear I seem to be the only one who cant make a success of this. It is always far to loose and runny although I measure and weigh everything correctly.

    August 11, 2013
    • peasepudding #

      Hi Tony it is quiet runny, not like regular bread but you can scoop it up and fold it. If its really not working for you add maybe another half cup flour/100g and see how you go. Thanks for leaving a comment. Alli

      August 13, 2013
  48. Caroline #

    Made this today. I need to tweak my methods a bit but it tasted AMAZING! Thank you!

    August 24, 2013
  49. I have a question, once shaped is it worth letting the loaf prove for a time before baking? The recipe does not seem to mention this?

    September 11, 2013
    • peasepudding #

      Hi Steve, If you let it prove it will spread out rather than rise up due to it being quite a ‘wet’ dough.

      September 30, 2013
      • Hmmm yes that makes sense. I’ve done this recipe a few times now and always find it a challenge to shape the loaf, but it does taste amazing and that is the main thing!

        October 1, 2013
  50. Bev in South Africa #

    I was very naughty. I used out of date flour, ditto yeast and it still worked! I also cheated and used my food processor as the dough was very sticky to handle! Thanks for a fab recipe. I’m making it again today – with fresh ingredients …

    September 18, 2013
    • peasepudding #

      Awesome, As long as the flour doesn’t have weevils ….all good I say :o) Glad it worked for you.

      September 30, 2013
    • peasepudding #

      BEv, good to know it works in a food processor too, saving some time and muscle :o)

      September 30, 2013
  51. Zohrah #

    Going to try this recipe this weekend. Other recipe had said to leave it overnight to rise, unfortunately I do not have the patience. This is a blessing to wait for 1hr. Hope it turns out well as have yet to experience working with runny dough.

    September 24, 2013
  52. Loz #

    Brilliant! Absolutely delicious! Best ciabatta i have ever tasted! Really impressed 🙂 x

    November 17, 2013
  53. louise #

    Hi, you said high grade flour, strong flour, do you mean Strong BREAD flour? Or something else? Also what kind of dry yeast? Dry ACTIVE yeast Or EASY BAKE yeast? Think that’s INSTANT yeast..


    December 4, 2013
  54. louise #

    Oh also caster sugar or granulated?

    December 4, 2013
  55. Welshgirl in South Africa #

    To make this healthier I use half white and half wholemeal bread flour and it comes out lovely.
    I also like to do mine in a large loaf tin. After it’s risen, I beat it down gently then pour it into a loaf tin and let it rise again (usually about 40mins), then pop it in the oven. As a loaf it makes the most amazing bread for toasting, it’s almost like a crumpet once toasted..Lovely with jam or honey.
    Thank you for an easy tasty recipe!

    December 8, 2013
  56. didnt have hi hopes since 99.9% recipes i follow end up in disaster… so glad this one proved me wrong 🙂 had to add a bit more water since the mix was really dry… no worries, also dropped oven temp since am using fan oven… omg!!! the texture was absolutely lovely… and the taste… a little on the salty side for me but the boy and sistah devoured 1/4 of the first loaf… so yes! its a keeper. the 2nd loaf… i cut back on the salt (not by much) and left it in for another 5mins… crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside… mmmm… ready for steak and hamburgers 2nite… so glad we found this recipe and thank you much for sharing!!!

    December 28, 2013
  57. louise #

    Hi what kind of dry yeast?! Dry ACTIVE or dry INSTANT aka easy bake yeast?

    January 18, 2014
  58. Martin #

    Great recipe.

    Mine came out dense with very few big air holes. It did rise well but perhaps i didnt fold in enough air.

    January 18, 2014
  59. Eilis Joyce #

    Eating the bread as I type! Great recipe found it easy to make so delicious!

    March 12, 2014
  60. Janet #

    Best recipe I’ve found, thanks, I now make ciabatta regularly. Seems to be okay to use any type of sugar. I use 4 cups of flour, 450mls water.
    I leave it overnight or bake within the hour. It works well either way. I’ve made buns with it, they are great I just cook them for about 20-25 mins.
    It’s much easier to handle prior to cooking if you use plenty of flour on your hands.

    September 29, 2014

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