Fast Italian No Knead Ciabatta Bread

5 from 11 reviews

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Fast Italian No Knead Ciabatta Bread- Have this bakery style Ciabatta bread ready in 4 hours from start to finish! Yes, it’s that fast. You don’t need any special tools or bread baking pans.

Serve with Italian Grilled Eggplant for a light meal.

Ciabatta loaves on a wood countertop with a towel.
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More delicious Italian bread recipes: No Knead Italian Focaccia Bread, Sweet Braided Easter Bread (Italian Recipe), Easy Soft Italian No Knead Bread, and Italian Brioche Bread Recipe (Soft and Easy).

Why this recipe works

All you need is: flour, water, yeast, semolina, salt, and sugar, one large bowl, a mixing spoon, and a flat baking sheet. That is IT! This recipe will create a crunchy crust and an irresistibly soft interior.

There is one SECRET- the “stretch and fold” method that I tell you about in this post. If you are craving homemade bread with an Italian twist, this is exactly what you need.

Try it as a sandwich bread just like our pork tenderloin sandwich, dipping in soup, as an appetizer, in Italian dipping oil, or simply with butter and jam. This bread goes with everything, especially with this sauteed eggplant and tomato recipe, steak pizzaiola, autumn squash soup, bean soup, chopped salad, eggs in purgatory, and Tuscan bean soup recipe! I know you will enjoy this as much as my family does!

Simple Ingredients

  • Water
  • Active instant dry yeast
  • All-purpose flour
  • Semolina flour
  • Salt

Why I love this Fast Ciabatta recipe

  • The flavor tastes like it took 24 hours to rise
  • Simple ingredients
  • No fancy tools or gadgets
  • Great crunchy crust and soft interior
  • If I’m in a pinch for time- I still get DELICIOUS bread!
  • It goes well with sweet or savory topping (or eat it plain!)
  • I love to say Ciabatta! Pronounced- “cha·baa·tah”

What is Ciabatta Bread

This bread is originally from the North of Italy, from the Province of Rovigo in Veneto Region.

It is a flat, elongated bread with a light texture, also considered peasant bread, with the simplicity of the ingredients and process.

Ciabatta produces a substantial crumb and is soft on the inside and crusty on the outside. It is considered a typical old-fashioned Italian bread.

Add this to your list of bread to try! Once you start, you will be making it all the time. You can use the freshly baked ciabatta to make a Prime Rib Sandwich!

And you don’t have to worry about it going stale because you can also use it in my Panzanella Salad Recipe. You can also learn how to use it for stuffing!

Ciabatta loaves stacked on a parchment paper.

What is Semolina Flour

Semolina is a high-gluten flour made from hard durum wheat. It has a rather coarse texture, and yellow color and is high in gluten protein.

The high gluten content means the flour is especially well suited for making pasta, but this flour is also a common ingredient in bread and baked goods.

Semolina is available throughout the world but is most popular in Italy.

Here are the Semolina Flour Brands I Love:

Bob’s Red Mill

Antimo Caputo

Sliced Ciabatta loaf on a wood counter.

Substitution for Semolina Flour

Replace the semolina flour called for in the recipe with an equal amount of bread flour, or whole-wheat flour.

Bread flour or whole-wheat flour will work best; they have a higher gluten content than all-purpose flour and will change the taste slightly, but you will still achieve delicious bread. In the future, buy semolina and try it! You will love the taste.

Important to Weigh Ingredients with Bread and Baked Goods

I’m all about free-form cooking with a little of this and a little of that, but when it comes to bread and baked goods, I HIGHLY recommend using a scale!

Scales are fairly inexpensive, small in size, and easy to store.

All of my baked goods and bread use grams and cups to ensure you achieve great results.

SCALE I USE- only $12

Why weigh your flour and liquids in baking?

The key to measuring flour correctly is to use a baking scale and measure your cup every time. Weight is the most accurate measurement.

The correct balance of raw ingredients, both liquid and dry, will ensure not only the taste of the product but also the proper consistency and density.

Sliced ciabatta bread.

How to Get Delicious Air Bubbles in this Easy Ciabatta Bread?

The “Stretch and Fold” Method

This is an ESSENTIAL part of this fast ciabatta recipe. The stretch and fold method takes about 2 minutes for each fold, and you repeat it 4 times throughout the 2-hour rise.

You MUST do this step for the result of an airy, light, bubbly interior. The extra few minutes make a world of difference!

Italian Ciabatta Bread Story

There is nothing like a bread bakery in Italy or “panifoicio”. The smell of warm bread fills the air and instantly, I feel at home. One of the most common and popular everyday bread is the ciabatta loaf.

The literal translation of the word “ciabatta” is slipper because of its shape. The loaf is somewhat elongated, broad, and flattish and, like a slipper, should be slightly collapsed in the middle.

This is bread As a child, I remember carrying this bread under my arm on the way home from the market with my nonna and nonno.

It is an everyday bread that goes with anything from sweet to savory. You can slather Nutella, dip it in delicious olive oil, and sprinkle it with salt. This is a true classic Italian-style bread that can’t be beaten!

Try it as a side with- Italian Sausage Meatballs Recipe (In Sauce), Eggplant-Parmigiana or Eggplant Caponata

Read another story about BREAD Authentic Italian Bread Recipe (Elena’s Story)

From my Cucina to your Table! Mangia! Mangia! (Eat!)

Made with Amore, Elena

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Method and Recipe adapted from Merry Booster

Sliced Ciabatta bread.

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Easy- No Knead- Ciabatta Bread

Fast Italian No Knead Ciabatta Bread

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 11 reviews

Have this bakery style Ciabatta bread ready in 4 hours from start to finish! Yes, it’s that fast. You don’t need any special tools or bread baking pans. 

  • Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 cup (240 mL) lukewarm water (+1/4 cup (60 mL) in case you need to add more)
  • 1 small package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active instant dry yeast
  • 2 cups (256 grams) all purpose flour (plus more for sprinkling on top)
  • 1 tablespoons semolina flour or fine cornmeal (plus more for sprinkling on top)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl combine the flour and the semolina and stir to combine. In a large bowl add the water and stir in the salt until it dissolves. Add four tablespoons of the flour mixture to the water.
  2. Stir with a wooden spoon until it reaches the consistency of a thin crepe batter (The reason for this step is to ensure that the salt does not contaminate the yeast). Then add the yeast and stir until completely incorporated into the mixture.
  3. Add the rest of the flour mixture and mix until wet shaggy dough forms. It will be more wet than other bread doughs. Sticky to the touch.  If the dough seems a little dry start adding in the 1/4 cup reserved warm water ONLY 1 tablespoon at a time. Mix together with a fork or wooden spoon. The dough will be loose and sticky. 
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for a total of 2 hours. During the two hours you will “stretch and fold” the dough (this takes about 1 minute to do) every 30 minutes (set a timer!). Fold 3 times total during the two hours. 
  5. Stretch and Fold Method:  Set a timer for every 30 minutes to remember to “stretch and fold” the dough. Set a bowl of water near the rising dough to wet your hands before every time you touch it (the dough is very sticky). After the first 30 minutes uncover the dough. Wet your hands with water. Start clockwise- by taking the top corner of the dough (12 o’clock position) pinch a corner of the dough and lift it up and let the dough stretch by lifting your hands up away from the bowl.
  6. Fold the stretched dough back on itself (6 pm location). Turn your bowl 1/4 clockwise so (your 12 o’clock position is now 3 pm location). Repeat the same process of stretching and folding the dough onto itself 3 times total. This is a fast process that takes about 1 minute from start to finish.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and repeat the process 2 more times with these exact directions of stretching and folding every 30 minutes.
  8.  Shaping the dough: after the last 30 minute rise you will shape the dough instead of folding it. Start by flouring a clean surface with 1 tablespoon of flour and 1 teaspoon of semolina. Invert the bowl upside down onto the floured surface. DO NOT touch the dough. It will fall out of the bowl on its own.
  9. Lift up the bowl and gently shape the dough (with floured hands) into a large rectangle (do not press down too much on the dough). Try to keep the air bubbles nice and “alive”. After forming a rectangle roll the dough into a fat and long log (think rolling cinnamon rolls).
  10. Do not press down on the dough or the air bubbles will deflate. Pinch the end to seal. With a sharp knife or dough scraper divide the dough into 3 equal parts. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of flour and 1 teaspoon of semolina. 
  11. Transfer the 3 doughs to the cookie sheet dust the tops with flour, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise again for 45 minutes. 
  12. Bake: Pre-heat oven to 425F (220C). Flour your hands and very gently lift each dough and gently stretch to form a rectangular shape. Fill a 9 in round baking pan with hot water (about 1 inch) and set it in the bottom rack of the oven.
  13. Place the sheet pan with bread on the middle rack. Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes. Let cool and serve. Mangia! (Eat!)
  • Author: Elena Davis
  • Prep Time: 10 min (plus 3 hours rise)
  • Cook Time: 25 min
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

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About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

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29 Comments

  1. This bread is delicious! Slightly crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. Will def make again – my Italian fiancé approves!






  2. This recipe was easy to follow and made an excellent ciabatta. I also love your focaccia recipe which I have made many times.

    I would just comment that it would be nice to give approximate measurement to stretch into the first rectangle and the serving size says 12 people but for 3 loaves that is maybe 6 serving because it is so yummy I could not imagine only getting 1/4 of a loaf unless my loaves were pulled too small at around 6” in length.






    1. Happy you loved it! Yes, I supposed the serving size is thin slices of each loaf! I do understand what you are saying 🙂

  3. Very delicious bread! Nice chewy crust with a tender moist interior. It was so easy to make I was able to spoil my hubby with fresh bread on a weekday which he was delighted with.
    I used “00” flour this time and it seemed to give me a bit better structure than when I had used Gold Medal AP with this recipe in the past. Either way this recipe is a winner!






  4. Question: When you are stretching the dough how many times do you do this every thirty minutes? Is it only 12 o’clock and then 3 o’clock, or do you continue to 6 and nine?
    Thanks
    Catherine