Quick Ciabatta

Ciabatta bread. Vegan.
Ciabatta bread recipe

Ciabatta is my favorite Italian bread, but it is not always the easiest and quickest bread to make, even for a seasoned baker. The dough is rather wet and sticky and can seem impossible to work with when you’re new to the process, but that wet stickiness is also vital to the light, bubbly, airy texture of this bread. This also is a bread that requires some planning ahead because you need to let the starter stand overnight or at least several hours. And planning ahead is not my favorite thing to do.

I was resigned to making ciabatta only when I have the time, which is not often, until I found this video and tailored the procedure to my usual ciabatta recipe that involves overnight rising. The initial rise time for this ciabatta is under two hours, and the second rise is just about an hour. So in under four hours, including prep and baking time, you are rewarded with a fluffy, crusty, delicious bread that you won’t be able to stop dunking in olive oil and popping into your mouth. Imagine that.

I have a busy Sunday, so I can’t chat too long. My neighbor Heather and I are trapping some feral cats in our neighborhood and I am transporting them to the spay and neuter clinic this afternoon. But before I say ta-ta, here’s the recipe. Enjoy, all!

Ciabatta recipe
5.0 from 2 reviews
Quick Ciabatta
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Bread
Cuisine: Italian
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2¼ tsp active dry yeast
  • 2¼ cups warm (not hot) water (you might need more if you are in a dryer area)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp sugar (not usually found in traditional ciabatta, but it really helps speed the rise)
  1. Mix the sugar, water and yeast in a bowl and set aside for five minutes for the yeast to start working.
  2. Add the flour and salt and mix in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle. You want the mixture to be just slightly thicker than a pancake batter-- it should definitely not pull together into a firm dough.
  3. Let the mixture stand for about 15 minutes. Then turn on the stand mixer to a medium-high setting. After about six minutes, the dough will start to make a flapping sound and start rising up the sides of the bowl.
  4. At this point, switch the paddle for the dough hook and knead for another six to seven minutes until the dough starts pulling cleanly off the sides of the bowl. It will be smooth at this stage but still very sticky and loose.
  5. Grease a bowl and pour the dough into it. Cover with a plastic wrap or kitchen towel and place in a warm spot, like an oven with the pilot light on.
  6. In about 1½ to 2 hours, the dough would have tripled.
  7. Prepare a cookie sheet by lining it with parchment paper and then dusting the paper liberally with flour.
  8. Pour the dough out of the bowl and into the center of the cookie sheet. Dust the top with flour.
  9. Using a bench scraper, divide the dough into two pieces. Using the bench scraper and a wet hand if needed, shape the dough, tucking the irregular pieces underneath, until you have two flat logs. The logs should be about six inches apart. This is a rustic bread, and the wet dough is not going to hold a definite shape, so don't even try for a beautiful, even look. This is known as an Italian slipper bread for a reason. The baked bread will turn out absolutely gorgeous, trust me, with a translucent, lit-from-within look and those gorgeous air holes.
  10. Dust some more flour over the logs, then cover them with a loose kitchen towel and place in a warm spot for about an hour or until the logs are risen and all puffy-looking.
  11. About half an hour before baking, preheat the oven to 500 degrees with a pizza stone or baking stone in place. Place an empty pan in the bottom rack while preheating, then add a cup of water to it just before you place the bread in the oven.
  12. Place the ciabatta loaves directly on the baking stone by sliding the parchment off your cookie sheet. If you are really not sure how to do this, just place the entire baking sheet on top of the baking stone.
  13. Bake for 25 minutes or until the loaves are golden-brown and the bottom sounds hollow then tapped.
  14. Cool thoroughly on a rack.

This quick, easy and delicious Ciabatta goes off to YeastSpotting.

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

Get new recipes by email. Sign up below.


  1. says

    Wow Vaishali this looks so good. I love bread. In fact, my husband & friends have to keep me away from the bread basket at restaurants. Now, thanks to your recipes, I can bake my own!!


  2. says

    Ciabatta is my favorite, too, and I’m making your recipe right now. If you happen to see this, I have a quick question. What is the empty pan on the bottom rack used for? Steam– as in I should add water? Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  3. Anonymous says

    As another poster has asked…
    “the empty pan on the bottom shelf”
    Would you please edit the recipe to include the instructions for the “empty pan”. Many thanks!
    The bread looks fabulous ~ can’t wait to make it!

  4. says

    Tami, Anonymous, the pan in the lower rack is meant for water– I will add it to the recipe instructions. Add the water to the pan just before you place the bread in the oven. Thanks for pointing out.

  5. Anonymous says

    Hi Vaishali,
    I dont have a stand mixer but would luv to try this crusty bread, how do I make the dough by hand? any suggestions?


  6. says

    Hi Madhu, try mixing it with a wooden ladle instead. I’ve made ciabatta before where at least the first portion of the recipe was mixed with a wooden spoon and it was fine. It will need some vigorous armwork. In the second step, where I suggest replacing the paddle with a dough hook, just continue to use a wooden ladle and stir vigorously for about 10 minutes. Be sure to get a strong ladle! :) Good luck.

  7. Anonymous says

    This was my first attempt at making bread of any kind, I am now completely blown away with the simplicity of homemade breads and the exceptional taste that simply does not compare with bread brough from a store. I found this a ridiculously simple recipe, although my dough did not have the consistency of pancake batter but went straight into a doughy texture. Anyway the results were still much better than i had anticipated, for some reason my cooking never seems to be as good as the recipe however this time my bread was just as good as those in the picture, thanks so much for this wonderful recipe!

  8. Anonymous says

    This bread is amazing. Soooooo tasty and beautiful! Word to the wise out there though, parchment paper burns at around 451 degrees. If you have a baking stone, slip the paper out, or you will end up with burnt paper crisps on the bottom of your oven as well as a “rustic” smelling kitchen!

  9. says

    Hi, Vaishali!

    I made this recipe tonight and it was sooooo good! I ended up cutting the recipe in half, and really wish I hadn’t haha. I also substituted honey for the sugar (used about 1 tbsp). Nice, crunchy crust and chewy, spongey inside. Yum!

  10. says

    Hi Vaishali, i liked very much u recipe…just once question this bread we can prepare without stand mixture ?Can u tell me how to do?

  11. says

    Divya, you can use a wooden ladle but it will take a lot of muscle. Mix until the dough is smooth but still quite loose and then continue with the rising.

  12. riley says

    i have made this bread every sunday for the past month. it has always turned out fantastic and i look forward to cutting off a piece to eat every day of the week. so simple, quick, and delicious! thanks for providing the directions for a new weekly tradition!

  13. Banana Bread says

    Your bread has an artisan feel to it, like it was baked in an Italian bakery in Genao, which strangely makes me crave soup. What Canadian looks for soup in Italy? Well, I looked for this recipe because I want to feet serious about a certain haute cuisine. Veggie Burgers. Honestly when I think about making veggie chili and corn bread, I get so bored with that idea, I think about making them. There’s one problem this infamous vegan in a small trapping town in northern Manitoba is remedying. There is no vegan buns being sold at the local grocery store next door. If you read “The Book of Burger” celebrity chefs wrote three essays on three burger buns. One of them is the ciabatta bun which I pave seen being sold at a five star veggie burger cafe called Boon Burger. I’d like to replicate the shape of the ciabatta bun so I don’t crave soup (or else it’s back to chili which “professionally speaking” isn’t a soup). How do I get that famous hand held ciabatta feel?

    • says

      Hi Banana Bread, If I were making rolls or buns I would scrape the dough out on a well-floured surface, cut into the desired number of buns with a pizza cutter or bench scraper, and then place them on a baking sheet and dust with flour before letting them rise. That should give you an artisan look. I don’t know if I answered your question, but hope that helps.

      • Banana Bread says

        Thanks Vaishali! You sold me on coming back to this website more often :) working on the ciabatta burger buns right now actually.

    • says

      Hi Jessica, welcome to the blgo!. So happy you liked the bread! I too find it pretty hard to stop eating that bread. Thanks for letting me know. :)

    • says

      Hi Jessica, welcome to the blog!. So happy you liked the bread! I too find it pretty hard to stop eating that bread. Thanks for letting me know. :)

  14. Jessi says

    I love this recipe and plan to make it a routine! And maybe make some as gifts.
    Two questions:
    1. I didn’t have a baking stone and just used a cookie sheet with parchment paper and flour and the pan with water underneath. ?? Is that right?
    2. How do you store the bread? I’m assuming in airtight bags once it cools. ?
    I think I overfloured mine a lot especially on the top. Oh well :) Thanks again.

    • says

      Hi Jessi, you can use parchment paper on a cookie sheet– just cut out any excess parchment because it can burn in the hot oven and give out a bad odor. And yes, I store it in airtight bags.
      Thanks for the feedback! So glad you like the bread. :)

  15. vichy says

    Hi Vaishali,
    Please could you let me know which brand of flour you used. I used Robin Hood All purpose . I hear that KAF is very good and Costco’s bread flour can be used with great results as well.

  16. hannah borrett says

    Not sure if mine was to wet and did triple rise in the bowl but when i turned it out and left it to rise for an hour it stayed flat and didnt really rise much during the cooking either

  17. says

    I made this tonight. I have to say I am quite amazed at the results of this recipe! FOR SURE will be making this again and again. New family favorite here. The speed of this makes it an easy winning recipe for this household. I will have to adjust to my oven temps and stones because they got a little more done than I’d like and was a bit distracted. All in all I can’t thank you enough for sharing this gem!

  18. vichy says

    HI Vaishali,
    You just nailed it. I saw the holes and swooned. What a sight for a food junkie. I did try the bread immediately. Got a great crust and good chew for the minimal effort I took. Made only one loaf ! Shame on me. I kneaded away like a trooper using my hands( for 6 min) One can knead no more as it is already moist, so can just fold it onto itself with the bench scrapper – I did an initial mixing in the food processor. Bad idea …. as the wet dough just twirled itself all around the blade and gave me a workout later to scrub it all away. The initial rise took 2 hours and rose almost double ( in spite of the instant yeast stored in the fridge) . In the second rise,it just rose ever so slightly even in the 45 min period. I kept the good old pan with water for steam on the last rack and threw in many ice cubes on the sealed floor of my Jenn- Air oven. The crust color was good as well.
    I did encounter one problem, Holes, yah some .. but not as many as your lovely bread. I know that with better flour I can conquer that one. One prob I always face is there is no upward rise to my Ciabatta. No height at all :( What can I do to get it to rise higher in order to make decent sandwitches. Sorry for the lengthy note. I wanted to give you a detailed explanation so that you can get a clearer pic. Please let me know what to do.

  19. says

    Hi Vichy, the rise problem happens with me too, with some ciabatta breads. I think it’s a question of getting the dough to the right consistency– not too loose, not to dry — and also ensuring that the oven is really, really hot. The dough part may just take a lot of practice.
    Another way to do it might be to “cheat” and use a loaf pan which will support the bread when it rises. You won’t have an authentic look, but you’ll be able to make sandwiches.
    So glad you tried the recipe– and thanks for your feedback! :)


Leave a comment!