This ciabatta bread recipe is homemade the old fashioned way.
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Starter (also called sponge)
In a small bowl stir together 1/8 teaspoon of the yeast and the warm water and let stand 5 minutes.
Once the 5 minutes is up, and the yeast/water is slightly creamy, in a bowl stir together yeast mixture, 1/3 cup of the water, and 1 cup of bread flour.
Stir for 5 minutes then over bowl with plastic wrap.
Let this starter mixture stand at cool room temperature for 12-24 hours.
In a small bowl stir together yeast and warm milk and let stand 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, in a large bowl, mix together the milk mixture, starter (from the day before), water, oil, and flour until the flour is all moistened.
Add salt and mix until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. For this, either use clean hands to mix, or else a dough hook on a standing mixer.
Prepare a bowl with a bit of oil or butter, and transfer the dough ball into here, coating the dough with the oil.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
Let dough rise at room temperature until doubled, about 1 - 2 hours.
Place 2 pieces of parchment paper onto an upside down (or rimless) baking sheet. The point is that you will be sliding the bread off of this and onto the baking stone in the oven, without disturbing it too much.
Sprinkle flour onto a clean work surface or large cutting board.
Place the dough onto the work surface and cut it into 2.
Transfer each half to a piece of parchment paper and form into an ovals that are 8-9 inches long.
Dust tops of the 2 loaves with flour.
Cover loaves with a dampened kitchen towel. Let loaves rise at room temperature until almost doubled, 1 to 2 hours.
45 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 425F.
Place a baking stone on the lowest rack in the oven.
Slide one loaf at a time onto the baking stone. One loaf will be on the front and the other on the back of the baking stone.
Bake ciabatta loaves 20 minutes, or until golden. Cool loaves on a wire rack.