This is a straightforward Ciabatta bread recipe that is relatively easy and satisfying to make.
To get that classic shape and open texture, you need a very wet and sloppy dough, so you really have to make it in an electric mixer. Serve this thin-crusted, light with bread warm for breakfast, with soups or salad, or split toasted and filled with salami, prosciutto, or cheese for an Italian-style sandwich.
- 500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 10g salt
- 1 packet of instant dried yeast
- 40ml olive oil
- 400 ml tepid water
- Fine semolina for dusting (optional)
- Lightly oil 2-3 liter square plastic container (it is important to use the tub as it helps shape dough)
- Put the flour, salt, and yeast into the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook (don’t put the salt directly into the yeast) and olive oil, and three-quarters of water, and begin mixing on low speed. As the dough starts to come together.
- Slowly add the remaining water.
- Then mix for a further 5-8 minutes on a medium speed until the dough is smooth and stretchy.
- Tip the dough into the prepared tub, cover with a tea towel and leave until at least doubled in size or trebled size for 1-2’hours.
- Heat your oven to 220C and line the baking tray with parchment or silicone paper.
- Dust your work surface heavily with flour and some semolina too, if you have some.
- Carefully tip out the dough(it will be very wet) onto a work surface, trying to retain the shape, rather than knocking it back.
- Handle it gently so you can keep as much air in the dough with more flour and or semolina.
- Cut the dough halfway lengthways into 2 strips.
- Stretch each piece of dough lengthways and place it on prepared baking trays.
- Leave the ciabatta dough to rest for further 10 minutes, then bake for 25 minutes or until golden and sounds hollow when tapped on the base.
- Cool on wire rack.
Recipe courtesy of my favorite chef the master baker: Paul Hollywood
Prepared, tried, and tested by Joy Martin Smyth