Ciabatta (Italian Slipper Bread)

Recipe by Lisa Pizza
READY IN: 16hrs 20mins
YIELD: 2 loaves




  • Make sponge: Stir together, warm water and yeast.
  • Let stand 5 minutes, until creamy.
  • Transfer yeast mixture to another bowl and add room-temp water and flour.
  • Stir for 4 minutes.
  • Cover bowl with plastic wrap.
  • Let stand at cool room temp at least 12 hours and up to 1 day.
  • Make bread: Stir together yeast and milk in small bowl and let stand 5 minutes, until creamy.
  • In bowl of standing electric mixer, with dough hook, blend together milk mixture, sponge, water, oil and flour at low speed until flour is moistened.
  • Beat on medium for 3 minutes.
  • Add salt and beat for 4 more minutes.
  • Scrape dough into oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap, until doubled- about 1 1/2 hours.
  • Note: Dough will be VERY sticky and full of bubbles.
  • Cut two pieces of parchment paper, approx 12 inches by 6 inches.
  • Place on baking sheet and flour well.
  • Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and cut in half.
  • Transfer each half to paper and form irregular ovals approx 9 inches long.
  • Dip fingers in flour and dimple loaves.
  • Dust tops with flour.
  • Cover with dampened kitchen towel and let rise 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until almost doubled.
  • At least 45 minutes before baking bread, pre-heat pizza stone on lowest oven rack position at 425°F.
  • Transfer 1 loaf, along with parchment paper, onto stone and bake for 20 minutes or until pale golden.
  • Remove to cooling racks and repeat with second loaf.