Wednesday, September 8, 2010

No Knead! Ciabatta Bread (If I Can Do This, So Can You!)

If you have hands, you can make this. Seriously, it’s that easy. A lot of people seem intimidated by breadmaking. I was one of them. Until I tried the New York Times “No Knead Bread”…I will post on that sometime. The NYT no-knead bread is truly wonderful and bowled my family over. Ever since trying it, I have become open to trying other kinds of “no knead” breads.

This particular entry focuses on my experiment with no-knead ciabatta bread (which we LOVE). Ciabatta bread makes the most amazing sandwiches. Keep in mind that ciabatta is a FLATTER shaped bread--crusty on the outside and airy/chewy on the inside. And look to Chef John's example (below) of what yours should look like (this was my FIRST attempt, but I'll get better with more practice).

I can’t believe I don’t make bread more often. The only hassle is washing a bowl and a pan (2 things!) and waiting…a LOT. But bread is SO CHEAP to make compared to buying it. WOW.

This recipe is courtesy of Chef John and I made the recipe exactly as he directed. I have typed up his verbal instructions. Watch his informative video before making this bread. It helped me out a lot. Here’s his video:

No-Knead Ciabatta Bread from Foodwishes on Vimeo.


-Chef John from
Ciabatta means "carpet slipper" in Italian

4 cups bread flour (I used 3 1/2 cup white and 1/2 cup wheat)-*Note: you can use All-purpose flour if you want
1/4 tsp yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 cups warm water

1) Mix all ingredients together (he used steel bowl). Dough will look very sticky and then too dry,. Then dough will come together perfectly & look sticky.

Cover with aluminum foil & let dough rise for 18 hours --don't place the bowl in too warm of a place so it doesn't over-rise (room temp-65-63 degrees F). Dough will look very bubbly, very soft, and have a beautiful viscosity (has amazing gluten strands--stringy when pulled by spatula).This is what mine looked like:

2) Punch it over with spatula & punch it down a few times (with spatula) and fold it over itself a few times (with spatula).

Spray a heavy half sheet baking pan with olive oil (or drizzle and spread) and generally sprinkle cornmeal over the oiled pan. Set aside.

Neat trick: Spray your work surface with water and put plastic wrap over it. It will not move as water will make it stick.

Sprinkle work surface with flour and then, using spatula, scrape dough out of bowl and onto work surface.

Lightly flour top of dough and somehow, someway (stretching, pulling), punch air bubbles out--form it into a long, flat shape and lightly punch out the air bubbles and continue to shape it manually--should move pretty easily on the plastic surface. (My mistake was that I flattened out TOO much so it didn't end up rising as it probably could have).

Drag your plastic wrap over to edge of pan and flip it over. If your bread dough loses its shape during the flipping process, just reshape it as best you can. It's not meant to look perfect.

3) Sprinkle some more flour on top of the loaf and cover with a dry kitchen towel. Let the dough rise 2 more hours. Dough will rise more out than up....totally normal! Still will be pretty flat.

4) Place in 425 degrees F for 35-45 minutes. It will rise, but it will still be flat-shaped. That is ciabatta's nature.

It will come out crisp on outside, but will be soft, moist, and spongy on the inside.

Good luck!!!!!

*Apparently, using bread flour provides extra protein/gluten and that seems to add more chewiness.


  1. This looks so good. I'm intimidated by making bread, so I will have to try this out.

  2. I made this! It turned out exactly as described and was so easy. Will make this bread again and again.