You don't need a breadmaker or a list of exotic ingredients to make this simple, yet satisfying, ciabatta bread. It does need to sit overnight to rise, but with a little preparation, you can enjoy freshly-baked bread every day of the week — and it'll cost you next to nix.
Photo credit: irrez79/ iStock / 360/Getty Images
Artisan breads, like sourdough and ciabatta, have always been my favourite: There's nothing quite as delicious for breakfast as avocado on crusty bread, lightly dusted with salt and pepper.
That said, these types of bread have always been a truly luxurious purchase in our household. They're something we might splurge on once every few weeks if we happen to be near a bakery on a Sunday, but nothing we'd ever attempt to make ourselves.
I was inspired to try this easy ciabatta recipe by Christina at Wee Miss Muffet, after she declared it to be "pretty much idiot-proof". I've tested it out (again and again) and I'm happy to report she's right.
This ciabatta bread:
- Is ridiculously easy to make
- Requires no breadmaker or fancy equipment
- Is a no-knead recipe
- Can be made with just five ingredients — and one of them is water
Note that you'll have to prep this recipe the night before, but it takes a total of around 10 minutes to make this bread from scratch, plus around 20 minutes in the oven.
The following recipe will make two small loaves, but if you don't want that much bread at once, you can wrap half the dough in cling wrap prior to baking and freeze it for future use.
- 3-1/2 cups high-grade plain flour
- 1/2 tablespoon dry yeast
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 tablespoon sugar
- 2 cups warm water
Tip: You can use some wholemeal flour in this recipe, but if you substitute all of the plain flour with wholemeal, the bread won't rise. I've found that around 1-1/2 cups of wholemeal flour and 2 cups of plain flour produces a delicious result.
- Mix the yeast and warm water in a bowl and let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Add the salt, sugar and 1-1/2 cups of flour. Combine them together, cover with cling wrap and set aside on your kitchen bench for several hours (ideally overnight).
- Remove the cling wrap and add the remaining 2 cups of flour. Don't fret if the mixture looks lumpy; it's supposed to.
- Cover the mixture again and leave it on the bench for another 2–3 hours. Note: At this stage, you can add any extra ingredients if you'd like to mix it up, such as olives, sundried tomatoes, parmesan cheese or herbs. The recipe is absolutely beautiful as is, however, so this is purely optional.
- Preheat your oven to 230 degrees C and scatter the flour onto two baking trays lined with baking paper.
- Halve the dough (the mixture will be sticky) into equal portions.
- Stretch out each section of dough on each baking tray and, if you like, scatter a little flour on top of each loaf.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until each loaf of bread is lightly toasted. Serve immediately, sliced and smothered in butter or avocado, or store in a brown paper bag.
More easy recipes
Easy caramel slice recipe
Quick dinner recipe: Lamb and feta stuffed zucchini
Pavlova from scratch in 10 simple steps