Stop trying too hard to bake the perfect bread! With this no knead ciabatta bread recipe, you can make the best-ever, foolproof scratch bread in your own kitchen with ease. Promise.
Happy 2019, friends! I hope the holidays treated you well with plenty of people you love and more Christmas cookies to devour than you ever thought possible. We spent the holidays (and actually, the greater part of the month of December) with my family in southern Wisconsin. We’ve been living here while we transition from RV life to apartment life back in Minneapolis (THIS WEEKEND. We move THIS WEEKEND), so it was good to be part of all of the family festivities this year.
But once the hubbub of the holidays died down, it was time to get serious. No, not with packing, SILLY — with baking this glorious no knead ciabatta bread for y’all. OK, also with packing. But that’s far less exciting.
HOW TO MAKE NO KNEAD CIABATTA BREAD
I know a lot of us naturally take the new year to make intentions/resolutions/goals/whatever you decide to call it, and I am definitely one of them. I don’t always write them down or say them out loud, but I do keep an internal list of goals for myself (Type-A perfectionist overachiever, party of one) that I strive to achieve over time. This year, one of my goals is to streamline Girl Versus Dough into a blog that works better for YOU, dear friend. And that starts with, in part, listening to your requests and putting them here in recipe form.
Since my no knead Dutch oven bread is always and forever the popular kid on this blog, and since many of you requested a foolproof ciabatta bread recipe on the ‘gram, I thought I’d combine the ease of no knead bread with the airy, crusty, flavorful deliciousness of homemade ciabatta bread and make one glorious creation that requires you to lift nary a kneading finger.
I will be honest with you — this recipe took me three tries to get it right. In the first two rounds, I tried to cut down on the rise time and incorporate a few steps into one. The result was a dense, flat, flavorless loaf. Blech. The third and final round, I decided to take a breath, be patient, and let the dough rise longer so those gorgeous air pockets and glutinous strands could take their time to develop. And lo, I am so glad I did.
TIPS FOR BAKING HOMEMADE CIABATTA BREAD
Here are a few tricks of the trade I learned when creating this no knead ciabatta bread recipe that will help you to achieve bread boss level in your own kitchen:
1. Do not touch the dough! I mean it. Manipulating the dough during this process any more than it needs to be will deflate those pretty pockets, and that would cause sad faces everywhere. So be sure to follow the directions exactly as written, use a rubber spatula to transfer the dough when called for, and ONLY use your fingers to move the loaf from one place to another (OK, YES, that counts as touching, but you get my point).
2. Let the dough do its three-hour rise in the bowl, covered with a clean linen or tea towel, in the oven with the door closed and the oven light on (keep the oven itself off, though, obviously). The heat from the oven light alone will generate just enough warmth in the closed oven to help the dough rise. This is one of my favorite tricks, especially in the chilly winter months or if your kitchen is particularly drafty.
3. Let the loaves cool completely before slicing into them. This is based on personal experience of once again, ahem, being too impatient. When you cut into the hot loaves, the air pockets get pushed down and the bread itself will be slightly gummy instead of soft inside of that crisp-crusty exterior.
So, tell me: What are your goals for 2019? I’d truly love to hear them! And if you have any requests or ideas for how to help me make Girl Versus Dough the best it can possibly be this year, please do let me know in the comments, via e-mail, or on the social medias. HELP ME HELP YOU. That’s what this space is all about, after all — to make baking (especially bread baking) more fun and easy for you. And while you’re at it, add this ciabatta bread to your goal list this year. You won’t regret it (your happy and full tummy won’t, either).
P.S. Did you see my blog header update? I have a shop! Now you can handpick and click for your own kitchen all the tools I use for baking success. Easy peasy.
- 1½ teaspoons instant or fast-acting yeast
- 3¼ cups warm water (105°F to 115°F)
- 4½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting and shaping
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon olive oil
- In a small bowl, mix ¼ teaspoon of the yeast and 1 cup of the warm water. Let stand 10 minutes. In a large bowl, stir 1 teaspoon of the yeast-water mixture (discard remaining yeast-water mixture) and ¾ cup of the water to combine. Add 2¼ cups of the flour, and stir with a wooden spoon until a stiff dough forms. Cover with plastic wrap, and leave at room temperature 8 to 12 hours.
- In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, stir 2¼ cups of the flour, 1¼ teaspoons of the yeast and the salt with a whisk or paddle attachment until just combined. Stir in 1½ cups of the warm water. Add stiff dough mixture; stir with wooden spoon until combined, adding more flour 1 teaspoon at a time until dough just begins to leave sides of bowl; OR, stir on low with paddle attachment 1 minute, increasing to medium speed and mixing 4 minutes, adding more flour 1 teaspoon at a time until dough just begins to leave sides of bowl. Dough will be very sticky.
- Rub olive oil into bottom and sides of a clean large bowl. Use a rubber spatula to transfer dough to oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise in warm place 3 hours until doubled.
- Use a rubber spatula to transfer dough to a well-floured surface; using spatula, fold dough over three times, like a letter. Use a bench scraper or sharp knife to divide dough in 2 equal-sized pieces. Generously sprinkle a clean kitchen towel with flour; use your fingers to gently transfer dough pieces to towel. Cover with another clean kitchen towel and let rise 1 hour.
- Heat oven to 450°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Use fingers to gently transfer loaves to baking sheets. Bake 25-30 minutes or until baked through and golden brown. Transfer loaves to cooling rack to cool completely.