Week #7 of the [amazonify]1580082688::text::::The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge[/amazonify] was Ciabatta! I started off the week very excited about this challenge. After all, it is an Italian bread!

Ciabatta (pronounced cha-bat-a) literally translates to “slipper”. The name was said to be given because the shape of the bread resembles a slipper. Ciabatta is an Italian white bread with a crisp crust and a soft, porous crumb. Ciabatta was said to be first made in Liguria. There are many variations of Ciabatta and they vary from region to region. We had several different versions to choose from: Regular Ciabatta, Wild Mushrom Ciabatta, Ciabatta with Cheese or Carmelized Onion and Herb Ciabatta. Since it was my first foray into Ciabatta bread I chose the regular Ciabatta.

Onto my trials & tribulations…I started off making my poolish (starter) with milk, as it was one of the approved substitutions for water. I followed the instructions in the book and finished my loaves. They came out of the oven & looked nothing like the pictures in the book! There were very few holes in my crumb! Insert sad face. My saving grace was that the bread was indeed very tasty! So not all lost. I have great sammie bread for the week! I proceeded to make a new poolish immediately, as you must leave it out for 4 hours and then refrigerate over night. I needed to be ready to try again the next day. This time I made the poolish with water.

So the next day, I once again press forward. I am full of optimism & am determined to get this right. I continue through the steps in the book and get to the fold and stretch method (where I have a feeling that my bread went astray). I decided that the book (sorry Peter) was not really clear on the folding instructions for me. I’m a visual person and need to see things — preferably demonstrated by someone in front of me. So since Peter wasn’t at my house to help me out, I went to the next best option…the internet!

I found several step by step videos which were very helpful! So armed with my new information I continued on shaping, folding and waiting for the time to bake my creation! This time, although still not where I would have wanted it to be hole wise, it was much improved & oh so tasty!

What do you like to eat your Ciabatta with?


Dry Ingredients to make the Poolish (starter): King Arthur Bread Flour, Salt, Yeastciabatta6_wm
Milk added to Poolish ingriedients.

ciabatta5_wmPoolish all ready to be made into dough! Marta here we come.


Poolish added to additional ingriedients to form dough


Dough blob ready to be pressed into a rectangle & then shaped, folded, shaped, folded (you get the picture)


Stretched out onto a flour bed & ready to be folded


Folded and Stretched and Proofed nicely



Shaped & ready for their steam sauna (aka the oven)ciabatta11_wm

Now that’s what I’m talking about! Fresh out of the oven.


Insanely delicious with simple extra virgin olive oil!

Sneak Peak: Next week’s challenge: Cinnamon Buns & Sticky Buns (OH YEAH BABY!)

If you liked this post, I’d appreciate a Stumble, a Tweet, a Digg (well you get the picture) 🙂


  1. 1

    Oh bread is my biggest downfall, next to chocolate! This looks wonderful.

    • 1.1

      Thank you! Well then I’m sure you’d love the nutella panino I made with the Ciabatta bread tonight 😉 Smashing together.

  2. 2

    Awesome. They look so very good.
    I loved this bread too and will definitely make it again.
    Great photos,

    • 2.1

      Thanks Susie! I really appreciate the encouragement. I might be starting to feel like a baker! haha I’m REALLY looking forward to sticky buns this week. Might even give them a whirl this weekend.

  3. 3

    You did a great job, I wish I was better at bread baking. Looks really good.

  4. 4

    I heart your site!!!!
    I love bread…It is one of my favs. Ciabatta is fantastic….
    I have made bread before, but it was a Reuben bread, Jalapeno chedder bread and Cinnamon Swirl….I would love to try to make Ciabatta or even attempt Challah and others.

    • 4.1

      Ah, Thanks Miranda that’s so nice of you to say! You should def try Ciabatta & Challah! They have been two of my favorites in this bread baker’s apprentice challenge so far!

  5. 5

    YUM! I can’t wait to make ciabatta. Two more weeks for me.

    Your loaves look fantastic.

    • 5.1

      Thanks so much Wendy! I’m always in awe of your baking skills! You’re very talented!

  6. 6

    This bread is still gorgeous. I ams ure the flavor was amazing, too! I am probably going to go the biga route, so wish me luck. I am crossing my fingers for beautiful holes!

    • 6.1

      Hi Haley! Yes, the flavor was amazing. I’m just such a perfectionist. I’m sure I’ll be giving it another try soon. Maybe I’ll try the Biga next time 😉 Can’t wait to see how yours turn out! (Fingers crossed, not that I think you’ll need it 😉

  7. 7

    Your bread is beautiful! Like you, I didn’t get the nice big holes, either. I think the combination of high altitude and the deflating during the stretching and folding process kinda killed it. Like you, I’m totally visual and loved your step by step photos! I’m gonna try it one more time and just fold the dough, not stretch it. Also, I’m gonna try using active dry yeast, not instant. Wish me luck!

    • 7.1

      Thanks Frieda! It was so good but I’m a perfectionist & will probably try it again just to try to improve on the holes. I really enjoyed the videos I found online. They were quite helpful. Let me know how it turns out for you just folding. Good luck 🙂

  8. 8

    My first attempt at ciabatta was also somewhat disappointing, I am trying again. Mine rose too high. I had big air bubbles, but not as big as I wanted.

    It sounds like yours tasted wonderful and that is the most important thing!

  9. 9

    Oh Yum!
    I love your website!

  10. 10
    kevlaw /

    You have made a very nice foccaccia in the shape of a ciabatta. The crumb is far too dense for ciabatta. I suspect that your hydration level is far too low, or you added too much flour in the mixing to make the dough more manageable. The wrinkles on the crust indicate a much drier dough. Wrinkles don’t occur with proper hydration, since gravity smooths the dough. While a very pretty result, it is not ciabatta. Also, ciabatta is made using a biga preferment, not a poolish.

  11. 11
    Minx /

    I know this is an older post, but I’ve been reading your blog (My friend sent me your site to make Cioccolata Calda)and I’ve been doing a self BBA Challenge (though I’ve only taken pictures of the end results). Here’s my try first try to ever bake a Ciabatta
    The bottom part I think had smaller holes, due to my sloppy handling from the couche to the peel (pit-pat and a bit of squishing of fingers on top of the dough to make it seem even) then to the oven on to the hot stone. I used the poolish version as well (using only water for the poolish, but using milk for the dough itself and using about all 3/4 cups). I wanted to increase the hydration, but I’m glad I didn’t. My first try on making French Baguette, I had a dough that has probably about 70% hydration (verrry wet dough and was much harder to handle ), so I figured Ciabatta should have somewhat the same consistency.

    Anyway I love your blogs! ^^ I cant wait to try your chicken Picatta!


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