Monday, January 19, 2009

No-Knead Ciabatta - Bread You Can Believe In

Okay, enough with the inaugural tie-ins. Here's the promised ciabatta video recipe. It came out beyond delicious. It was other-worldly, sublime, ethereal, and several other adjectives I would have to look up before using.

It was the perfect marriage of a crisp, light crust outside, and a chewy, yet tender inside. The no-knead part is just a bonus, and only adds to the perfection of this loaf.
As you'll hear in the video, I'm a bit under the weather, but even at half-speed this was a simple and enjoyable task.

All I will say is you really need to make this bread. Pretty soon we'll be thinking of romantic, sexy recipes to seduce our Valentines with. Keep this video in mind, for what could be better than having someone bake you a fresh loaf of Italian bread, then slowly buttering and feeding you a still warm slice?

Sorry, I think I took too much cough medicine. Enjoy!

4 cups bread flour (I used 3 1/2 cup white and 1/2 cup wheat)
*Note: you can use All-purpose flour if you want
1/4 tsp yeast
2 cups water
1 1/2 tsp salt


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Kathy Berken said...

I made this twice and just baked it on a baking sheet and it turned out just like yours. Tonight I baked it in two loaf pans, which i had greased and cornmealed, and the bread turned out way different. It was denser and only the top was crusty.
Sometimes I want a higher loaf but now i don't know what kind of pan to bake it in so i get the same crustiness as baking it on a sheet.
Thanks for your GREAT videos! Very informative and entertaining.

Donnat said...

I just came across your blog searching for a ciabatta bread recipe and I'm impressed.
I want to try it next days.
I have a question: the amount of yeast is 1/4 teaspoon?
Thank you,

liget2004 said...

This is a super super late comment, but I was rewatching your video and about the end of the bread thing... it sounded french so i typed "conne d'autres" into google translate. I don't think I'm at liberty to say the translation but you can check it out if you like. It probably isn't right, but it is pretty darn funny. By the way, I can't wait to make this tomorrow and hopefully it'll turn out great!

ChrisK said...

Hi! My first try to make your bread was a failure... Maybe i was wrong with measuring, i tried to use Baker's % instead of cups! Here are in gr what i' ve used:
-bread flour 100%
-water 92% (???)
-salt 1.2%
-dry yeast 0.25% (???)
I also noticed that letting stand at 22 oC for 18 hours was too long. My bread after all that didn't rise.
What are the bakers % of the recipe? this could be more helpful for us that we use grams instead of cups!
thanks in advance!

demon said...

Hi chef. See? That's the beauty of Internet, after 3 whole years, here you are in MY kitchen! So, I've tried out your recipe, which looks gr-eat! Haven't baked the darn thing yet, since I am at phase 2: let the dough rest for 2 hours. But, my question is this: I've followed your recipe step by step, but after the 18 hours, MY dough is significally more liquid than yours. I've tried to correct it by adding afterwards more flour, but I don't know if I simply made a great mess out of it. What do you think? Must I maybe reduce the amount of water next time? thx chef. Phoebe from Greece here.

Chef John said...

Or just a little more flour at the beginning! :) Thanks!

ChrisK said...

Hi, again! my second attemp with this bread was not a failure but i didn't get "your" rise as seen in the video... :-(
I measured with cups (1 cup of flour = 135-140gr, 1 cup of water = 260gr) and i think that the dough was more wet than yours! Bakers % for water is extremely high and does not let the gluten to develop. Please if you don't mind weight the cups and give us the used gr in order to give it one last try!!! thanks!

Ana Fonseca said...

What type of yeast do you recommend ?

pcelvejoy said...

Absolutely fabulous recipe - Thank You!
Just a couple of questions: -
1. Have you ever slashed the top to give it even more of a rise?
2. Have you ever put the dough in the fridge to rise?

Sandy Wong said...

hi chef,
this is my first time making bread and i'm just 2 hours away from the 18 hours wait (so excited!!!). i wonder if i could use a plastic wrap instead of the towel for the 2nd rise? it seems like you used a dry towel? please correct me if i'm wrong.
thank you!

Chef John said...

yes you can use plastic, but don't press it or let it stick. flour well

Ana Fonseca said...

What type of yeast do you recommend ? Active dry , rapid dry or instant yeast?

Ana Fonseca said...

What type of yeast do you recommend , rapid dry, active dry or instant yeast? I asked before but no answer :(

Chef John said...

I use dry active.

Ana Fonseca said...

Thank you , how much ?

Chef John said...

Ingredient amounts listed below video! 1/4 tsp.

pcelvejoy said...

Chef John
Can I use a fan oven so that I can bake two loaves at the same time? The oven gets hotter that way.

Chef John said...

Yes, but not sure of times.

bjatduke said...

cantuccio del pane translates to "corner of the bread"
buon appetito!

Bob Frazier said...

Chef John,

I've waited till now that I've made this three times before properly thanking you, in part to see if it really is possible to consistently make such great bread.

Yes, it is.

You changed the way my family functions by helping make me the best baker in the house. Success with bread has lead me to have courage with other recipes.

We all really enjoy your series.

Baker Bob

Crampa said...

Love your recipe/method. I have been making 1 loaf about every week. Something I thought you might find interesting...I put a whole heads worth of garlic cloves(whole) in the dough prior to rolling it out into the loaf. I tell ya, there ain't nothing better than a piece of that toasted and slathered with butter for breakfast!...'cept maybe a bowl of fresh muskmelon to eat with it.

Nas said...

Easy, effortless and the end product looks as if you have toiled in the kitchen. I make this bread twice a week. Thank you.

Julia said...

Hi Chef John,

I'm not exactly sure about blog etiquette, so I just thought I'd ask you if it's alright to mention your recipe with a link to this page on my blog. I'm new to bread making and I'm trying out different recipes and I loved this ciabatta recipe!

TCDA, Inc said...

Hello Chef John,

This looks lovely! But can you please tell me the weight of the flour? We use metric "cups" and they are not the same as US cups. I am used to baking by weight, not by volume.


Billy Boy said...

My family calls the ends of the loaf "the heel"... Others in my neighborhood call it "the bum"... Go figger....

Enniati Rusli said...

Hi Chef John, my dough didn't rise after the first proofing. Left it out for about 18 hours. Halved the recipe. I checked the yeast and it's not expired according to the package. What do you think happened? I used bread flour only and I'm in singapore where it's always warm. Thanks chef!

Shailly Sharma said...

Hi Chef John.
My dough looks much wetter than what yours looked like in the video. Is that okay or should I add more flour?
Also, I live in Japan and the humidity is about 80-90% so should I let it proof for less than 18 hours?
Any help would be much appreciated.

Chef John said...

yes, add more flour! Don't worry about time. it just needs to double! enjoy!

Dorila Magalhaes said...

Hello, Chef John! I was reading some of the comments before trying tomake my own and, at a certain point, you wrote about baking the ciabatta with a steam oven:

"Chef John said...
i would try it. I always have a pan of water in the oven.
January 20, 2009 at 7:47 PM"

Should I also have a pan of water too when baking my ciabatta?

Thank you!

שני צור said...

Hi Chef
Thank you So much for the Recipe . I tried to make it at home and it looks great .
But I have a little problem , I live in a place where the humidity is high and within a few hours my lovely bread lost its crunch
What can I do to keep the krast over time?
Thank you
and Have a great weekend

Chef John said...

Sorry but no bread crust stays crispy after it sits for a while!

Wartface said...

Chef John...

IF... You don't have 18 hours to make ciabatta bread here is a very easy alternative. It takes me about 5 to 6 hours start to finish. You let your stand mixer do all of the work. I've made this recipe at least 20 times. I also make lots of sourdough bread but that takes much longer than this ciabatta bread.

ciabatta bread recipe & pictures

Ciabatta Bread 
Variaton 1

500g bread flour 
475g (~2 cups) water
2 tsp. yeast 
15g salt

Varation 2 (Semolina)

350g bread flour 
150g semolina flour 
475-485g (~2cups) water 
2tsp. yeast 
15g salt


On another note... Your Mongolian Pork Chop recipe is to die for. I, my friends and my family love it. I also use that recipe for chicken thighs.

John Sowder said...

If I use this recipe to make small rolls, how long to you suggest I bake them?

Bohling said...

I just tried this dough. I followed the directions and I ended up with a batter, not a dough. I think if you live is super humid climates (tropics, anyone?) you will need to make adjustments. I ended up adding 2 additional cups of flour and the dough is STILL super sticky and wet, but resembles a dough closer to the one in the vid. It is rising now. Since I added the additional flour, I went ahead and gave it some kneading in the stand mixer. Not entirely certain if that is necessary or not.

Thank you for you work!


Ann Haggerty said...

Your recipes are amazing. I've tried quite a few with great success. My issue is the ingredients are given on the blog but what about directions. Sometimes there is a link for directions but not always. Why?! Thank you!

Amanda Sheldon said...

HI Chef. Thanks for this amazing recipe.
Just a question...

Did u put a container with water inside the oven to bake the ciabatta? I saw one inside the oven but I didn`t see you mentioning anything.

Gian D said...

Hi guys. I love this recipe but I haven't made it in a while. I didn't have any cornmeal and didn't put oil the parchment paper so when it was done it stuck to the parchment lol.

Came out awesome as always. Next time I gotta add the cornmeal and oil the parchment paper.

macgilly said...

I have noticed that numerous early comments asked about a sourdough taste. I have been making a no-knead bread that is refrigerated after the first rise. I generally let it sit for 5 days, although I have gone longer. Even overnight makes a little difference in the taste.
The yeast goes dormant but bacteria do not, producing a sourdough-like taste.
After the first rise, the dough will deflate on its own in the cold.
The first rise should be done in a container which can be covered for the fridge.
Not sure whether it will work for this recipe, but . . .

Champa Queen said...

Hi Chef John. Your further advice would be really appreciated. Do I need to reduce the fermentation time to less than 18 hrs in a very warm room temperature? It's about 35 to 40 degrees Celsius in my country and the dough took only a few hours to double in size. I followed 18 hrs according to your recipe but it turned out quite dense and too chewy :(

Maxx Eastick said...

Hi Chef John. Long time stalker, first time commenter.
Wondering if you ever got an answer to the name of the bread ends (Aussie here, we are lazy and just call them "the crust" the "the" is important!).
It sorta sounds like, and my Spanish is terrible, but "Con dos", I think that's how it's spelt, meaning "with two". Would that make any sense? or have you already got your answer (I did not read all the posts, as there are a lot)
P.S. I am trying this today for tomorrow if everything goes well. I love Ciabatta, which is suuuper expensive here in Australia.
Thanks for all your work as well, I love your recipes and your presentation.

MaryE2021 said...

Is it possible to let the bread rise for longer than 18 hrs or will it start to deflate the air?

Thanks! Found your video very entertaining!

Yaya Gurf said...

Hi Chef John,

Im from Malaysia , an asian country with equatorial climate but currently is warm and dry, between 91 to 93 Fahrenheit.

The question is, What will happened if i let it rise more than 16 hours before i shape it and let it rise again another 2 hours?

Ive make it last night at 11pm and today i work until 5pm and shall reach home around 6.30pm.

It means, the first rise will be 19 and a half hours. Which more than 16 hours you make.

Thank you for your advise.


*i am counting to go off from work.4:48pm

Ingrid Sperow said...

Grazie! Blogged your ciabatta recipe today!

Ogi the Yogi said...

Can you tell me the recipe in grams please!

Jim Zeoli said...

Hi John

Love everything about this recipe but I can't figure out why I'm getting this huge hole in the top third of the loaf. I followed your instructions precisely. Would like to see the holes more consistent like in the photo. Any ideas?



Rich Hand said...

Chef John, just discovered your blog and love the format, witticisms, photography, videos and general feel of this space. All the recipes seem so enticing and straightforward that perhaps even an inexperienced (read newbie) cook like me might be able to produce something nice. First off, the no-knead ciabatta as I'm on a bread kick right now but don't want the preservatives. During the baking the corn meal burned and does that stink! We cut into the bread thinking it would taste like the smell, but it tasted very professional. We have spent junkets of time in Europe and this bread matches that European "je ne sais quoi". Thank you for this incredible blog where I'll be a very frequent visitor.

Cynthia McCullough said...

I made a mess of this recipe. **Note to people who (like myself) live in hot, humid places (like South Carolina, even in January): 18 hours is way too long for us! I don't know what the right amount of time would be, because I was stupid and didn't look at my dough until 18 hours was up, and it had risen way too much. I followed the next instructions anyway, but the dough was a sticky mess, and it stuck like glue to my plastic wrap, even though I floured it generously. I couldn't shape it at all. So, I let it do the second rising, but it didn't do any rising, and then I baked it. It didn't do any rising then either. It turned out to be a flat, beige, rock-like cracker-brick. Hm, maybe it's hard tack. :-(

Drew Froman said...

Hi Chef John,

Just curious, if I wanted to use this method to make ciabatta rolls instead of one large loaf, should I make any type of adjustment to the bake time?


Linda said...

Chef John, hi, I live in south India and the temperature here is about 95 and up for most part of the year with about 80-90%humidity .. So would this recipe still work? How do I know if it's over-risen?

Jon Doe said...

(for the sour dough question) - Cooks Ill. suggested a third to a quarter each dark beer and vinegar for a 'faux-dough' bread. I like it!

DimA said...

Well.. 8 years after the original post I'll give you the russian name of the end of the loaf - it's GORBOUSHKA (pronounced more like gArbushka)
Now I feel like I've done some good job.

Gemfyre said...

Room temperature where I live at the moment is about 26C (sometimes warmer) which is about 78F. Oh well, we'll see how we go.

Wartface said...

Gemfyre ...

It will go fine. Yeast loves 80°F temperature. It will probably go quicker than Chef John’s dough did. Look for the visual indicators he talked about, not the times he suggested. Fermentation happens much faster in 78°F ambient temperature. Your bulk fermentation is done when your dough doubles in mass. Regardless of how long it takes.

DarlinD said...

from a wonderful french grandmama...the best way to store your crusty bread:
wrap it in a tea towel...cotton cloth towel and then in a plastic bag. Will not turn to stone or mush.
try it....its magic.

John G said...

I am using your recipe with a couple of twists.
1 I am taking the yeast, 1 cup of flour and 3/4 C of buttermilk to make a starter or "Poolish" letting this set for 2 to 4 hours depending on my patience and the texture.
2 Will then mix the rest of the flour and liquid (in this case buttermilk) with the starter "Poolish" and let sit for the 18 hours.
Hoping for a tangier ciabatta.

LJay said...

Hi Chef! I love all of your recipes and especially your instructions. I've printed so many of your creations I had to start a 'Chef John' 3 ring binder. I haven't tried a recipe yet that isn't over the top delicious, incredible and easy to follow!!
I don't know if you are aware and I hope you are but there are numerous recipes of yours that I've tried to search for on -- even if I put in the exact punctuation, capitals, spaces, dashes, etc. your recipe does not come up. If there are only 6-8 search results, none are yours. If I do a 'Chef John' search a minimal number of your recipes come up. Allrecipes is horrible and infuriating. I wish you had your own website!
Regarding the ciabatta bread: can I do an egg wash with sesame seeds?? Also, will the ciabatta dough work for a pizza??
Thank you so much for your generosity, expertise, humor and wonderful recipes! We love you! Linda

Unknown said...

Chef John, What's your standard for the number of grams (or ounces) per cup of flour? Thanks - Chef Bill

Andrew_M_Garland said...

I just made this bread, with a few changes.

20 oz flour (17.5 bread, 2.5 oz whole wheat)
1.25 t salt (a little less salty)
Raise about 18 hours. Punch down and fold over.
Oil a 12" cast iron skillet bottom and sides.
Sprinkle well with coarse corn meal.

Scrape dough into the skillet, and leave it as is. Cover.
2 hours later it spread over the bottom of the skillet and bubbled slightly.
Heat the skillet on the stovetop 1.5 minutes to start things off.
Baked uncovered 37 minutes at 425 F to mahogany brown, internal temp 210 F.
Looks and tastes like the picture.

Pro: This saves having to handle the dough on plastic and on the baking sheet
Con: Round loaf instead of oval.

CaseyRocky said...

My girlfriend calls the end pieces “the bum”

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