Classic Ciabatta Bread Recipe

From poolish to plate, this easy ciabatta bread is as forgiving as it is flavorful, making it an instant hit with the whole family.

| December 2019 / January 2020


Classic ciabatta takes a lot of time. If you give the poolish 18 to 20 hours to mature, which I recommend, then the bread will take more than 24 hours total. Depending on how long you let the poolish sit and the warmth of your kitchen, you should plan for the whole process to take between 19 and 30 hours. Yeast is sensitive to temperature, so bread rising in a kitchen that’s 65 degrees Fahrenheit will take hours longer than it would in an 80-degree kitchen. While the poolish should ferment in a cool environment, the bread dough will do better with warmth. Yield: 1 large loaf, 2 long loaves, or 4 to 8 rolls.



  • 1-1/4 cup (150 grams) unbleached white flour, preferably bread flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (150 grams) cool water
  • 3 pinches (0.3 grams) active dry yeast


  • 1 cup (250 grams) warm water
  • 2-1/2 rounded cups (350 grams) unbleached white flour, preferably bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons (10 grams) salt
  • 1 slightly rounded teaspoon (6 grams) active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams) olive oil, optional
  • Cooking oil
  • Extra flour for dusting

Note: For accuracy, weigh ingredients with a digital scale. Ciabatta is defined by the high ratio of water to flour by weight in the dough, and because volume measurements are imprecise, the ingredients need to be weighed to produce a true ciabatta.


Make poolish. Mix the flour, water, and yeast in a medium mixing bowl. Cover, and set aside at room temperature for 12 to 20 hours, preferably a minimum of 18 hours. The longer you leave it, the richer the sensory qualities of the final bread will be. Smell and taste the poolish to judge how it’s developing. When it’s ready, the poolish will have spread out and become a mass of bubbles, and it will have started to develop sweet and complex aromas.


Make dough. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush a large mixing bowl or plastic proofing box with cooking oil, and set aside.

11/13/2019 9:58:05 AM

This method using a type of "starter" does give a different flavor to the bread. The recipe I have calls it biga rather than poolish.



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