Italian Ciabatta Bread

Bread much like chocolate is my weakness, especially crusty bread straight from the oven! Mmm, isn’t the smell of fresh-baked bread heavenly?

One of my family’s favorite kind of bread is ciabatta and it’s one recipe I make all year-long. I have tried many versions and after tweaking a couple of different ones to suit our taste, we now use this recipe and the best part is the dough is prepared in the bread maker; yeah for time savers!

I’ve made it into rolls for cold cut sandwiches and it is great for bruschetta. In the summer it goes perfectly with fresh tomatoes and basil from the garden drizzled with olive oil or use it to make a tasty cucumber and tomato sandwich, yum!

During the fall and winter months our favorite way to enjoy ciabatta bread is with soup. There is always soup on our weekly menu and this bread goes hand in hand. I’ve used it to top our french onion soup in place of french bread and we all like to dip it in our greens and beans and chicken soup or just have it with butter or olive oil and black pepper… it’s really a good accompaniment with any soup. And the leftovers (if there are any) make incredible garlic bread which my family devours and I have even had my children request this bread to bake just for garlic bread.

I don’t know about you, but all this talk about bread is making me hungry…. let’s get straight to the recipe so you and your family can enjoy it as well!

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Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour or 3 1/2 cups artisan bread flour
2 teaspoons yeast

Place ingredients into the pan of the bread machine in the order suggested by the manufacturer, mine is liquids first then make well for the yeast last. Select the dough cycle, and press start it usually takes an 1 1/2 hours. The dough will be quite sticky and wet once the cycle is completed. Place dough onto a lightly floured board, cover with a large bowl, and let rest for 15 minutes. Flour hands well to work with dough. Flour work station and have parchment lined baking sheets ready nearby. Divide dough into 2 pieces, and form each into oval or rectangular loaves. Place loaves on prepared sheets and dimple surface. Cover, and let rise in a draft free place until very puffy – 45 minutes up to about 2 hours.


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Place baking stone on center rack and preheat oven to 450°F. Allow oven to heat for 30 minutes at this temp. Gently dimple dough for a second time, spritz with water and then place loaves and parchment paper onto baking stone *if you do not have a baking stone, you can leave the loaves on the parchment lined baking sheets to bake. Lower oven temperature to 425° and bake for 22 – 27 minutes until golden brown.

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Crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside, and oh so delicious! I hope you try this Italian Ciabatta bread recipe and please be sure to let me know what you think. As always, I thank you for taking the time to visit my little corner of the internet!

Blessings ~ Danielle

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