Ciabatta is basically the most perfect bread ever. Why? It has a crispy wispy crust, hearty chew and BIG air bubbles.
Why do I love the air bubbles? They are basically pockets to hold butter, mashed avocado spread…or whatever you love to slather onto your bread.
My herb slab ciabatta recipe has all of the characteristics of a great ciabatta loaf, the subtle flavor of rosemary and most importantly…it is SO EASY. There is no kneading required.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp instant yeast
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup cool or room temperature water, filtered
1 Tbsp mild-tasting oil (corn, canola, etc.)
1 handful of corn meal
1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary, sage or thyme
Combine the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in a medium glass bowl.
Add the water, and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap, and let it rise at room temperature for 12-18 hours. Place it in the fridge until you are ready to bake it (no more than two days!)
Coat a parchment lined baking sheet with 1/2 of the tablespoon of oil, and sprinkle the corn meal on top in a thin layer. Uncover the bowl of bread dough, and sprinkle the top with your chopped herbs.
Cover your fingers with the remaining amount of oil and pat the herbs into the dough. Scoop the dough onto the corn meal and oil coated parchment.
Form the dough into a log, by grasping the parchment on each side of the dough and rolling the bread dough back and forth until it becomes a somewhat fat looking roll. The corn meal and oil kind of work as ball bearings to keep the dough from sticking. Don’t worry too much about this step-the dough will rise outward and upward.
Let the dough rise for at least 2 hours in a draft-free spot at room temperature. If the dough was refrigerated, let it rise for 3 hours.
The dough will spread quite a bit!
Preheat your oven to 420 degrees F within the few minutes before the end of the rise time. Bake the loaf for 30-40 minutes, until golden and crisp.
Let it cool for at least an hour on a wire rack before cutting into it. Be patient, or else the texture will be gummy!
After the loaf has completely cooled, go ahead and cut into it with a long serrated knife. When you cut into it…
AIR BUBBLES GALORE!
Within the first day of baking, I love eating thick slices with salted butter.
The thick slices can also be lightly toasted and topped with tomato, basil, olive oil and a sprinkle of salt as a sort of bruschetta.
This bread is perfect for sandwiches when sliced lengthwise through the middle. I also slice it in this fashion for my breakfast avocado toast. I tend to think that it holds together better.
On occasion, I have used the loaf as a sort of impromptu thin French bread-type pizza. This can be done by slicing the whole loaf in half lengthwise through the middle, placing pizza sauce and toppings onto the bread (bubbly side up) and baking it at 350 degrees F until the cheese is melted.
I hope I have inspired you to bake your own no-knead loaf of herb slab ciabatta!