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Dependable Ciabatta

Makes 4 medium-sized ciabatta (easy to halve the recipe to make 2). These breads freeze very well.


800g strong white flour
15g fine salt (grind it if it's rock salt or Maldon-style salt)
4g quick/fast yeast into a bowl.


Mix in 700ml water until combined.

No need to knead but use a sturdy knife such as a palette knife to whip the wet dough for 1 minute or two, wander off (when your arm gets sore) and come back to it. Give it 4 or 5 of these strong "whips".

Add 50ml of whatever olive oil you have on top and gently fold the dough from the sides over the oil to trap it. Do this a few times, again you can wander off and do this over the space of an hour or so as and when you remember.

Very generously dust your work surface with more flour (this doesn't need to be strong) and gently tip out the bowl of dough on top so it lays in a pile.

Using a table knife or palette knife slice down the dough so you have four slices of about equal width and move to a well-floured baking tray. Using your hands shape them a bit so they're roughly ciabatta-shaped, but the more irregular they look the more convincing they'll be as home-baked.

This recipe makes four and if so you may want to bake two at a time. If so just leave half the dough on the work surface while you wait for the rest to bake.

15 minutes at the highest temperature your oven can make (250 degrees C) is enough, but allow 20 minutes if your oven only gets to 200 or so.

The bread doesn't need to be well-browned or feel hollow on the bottom. It's done when it looks nicely dry and both top and bottom and is beginning to go a little brown on top.

(the photo was from ciabatta baked in a hot wood oven so they're a little darker than yours might get)