Soft and airy, artisan small batch sourdough ciabatta bread is light and fluffy inside with the perfect air holes and has a crunchy, crackly crust. It has that delicious signature sourdough taste that feels like it came straight out of a fancy bakery. This is the perfect bread to bake on the weekend with only 10 minutes of actual prep work required and no kneading. So easy.
We like to bake bread on the weekends, and love baking with our sourdough starter. It's normally a standard artisan-style loaf of bread like our small batch sourdough bread, green olive artisan sourdough bread, or fruit and nut sourdough bread, but this week we were craving our easy ciabatta rolls and decided to make it with sourdough. And wow, are we glad we did.
Ingredients in Sourdough Ciabatta
- sourdough starter - make your own sourdough starter using flour and water. It takes about 7 days to create a mature starter.
- all-purpose flour
How to Make the Best Small Batch Sourdough Ciabatta Bread
The steps in making this artisan sourdough ciabatta bread are essentially the same as making easy small batch ciabatta rolls, except we are using sourdough here instead of commercial yeast (so the proofing time will be longer), and we are making loaves instead of rolls. In summary, here is what you need to do:
Prepare the Dough (first rise)
In a large mixing bowl, whisk to combine sourdough starter, water, and salt until the starter dissolves. Add flour and mix well to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for one hour.
Then, apply some water on your hands and stretch and fold the dough in the bowl by folding the edges over to the centre, one edge at a time. Wet hands make it easier to work with the dough and it should take you less than a minute to fold over all 4 sides. Cover with plastic cling wrap and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
Stretch and fold the dough again, cover, and let dough rest until it almost doubles in size. It takes about 4 to 6 hours for the dough to double in size, depending on the room temperature (but it can take up to 8 hours if the room temperature is very cold).
Shape the Dough (second rise)
Transfer the dough to a floured surface. Note that the dough will still be very sticky and that is okay. Sprinkle dough with a little flour and shape it into an approximate 8x12-inch rectangle by gently pulling the dough from underneath. The dough should be soft and pliable. Be careful not to press down on the dough because the air holes trapped inside might get squeezed out.
Gently roll the dough into a log and press the edges to seal. Sprinkle some flour if the dough gets too sticky at any point. Cut the rolled dough in half using a bench scraper and place them a few inches apart on a well-floured surface. Sprinkle flour over the dough to prevent it from sticking, and cover with plastic cling wrap.
Let the dough rest for about 1 hour until puffy (second rise). The dough should be filled with air bubbles inside.
Bake the Sourdough Ciabatta Bread
Carefully slide each dough onto a large parchment-lined sheet pan using a bench scraper. Sprinkle flour to help with handling it and slowly stretch the ends a bit to shape the dough into approximately 12-inch loaves. Set aside.
Fill a deep baking pan with water and place it at the bottom of your oven. Preheat the oven to 420 F, and allow it to fill with steam from the water. When the oven is ready, slide the baking tray in and spray some water with a spray bottle over the dough immediately. Bake for 20 minutes until the crust turns golden brown.
Let the bread cool for 20 minutes. To check if the bread is done, you can tap the bottom of the bread with your finger. The bread will sound hollow when done.
How to Store Sourdough Ciabatta Bread
To store, store small batch sourdough ciabatta bread covered in a bread basket at room temperature for up to 2 days. You can also store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Slice and toast in the toaster, oven or air fryer.
To freeze, wrap the ciabatta tightly in plastic cling wrap and place into an airtight container or freezer bag, and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. If freezing, I would recommend slicing the bread in half or in slices so that it is easy to reheat a slice or two at a time.
- How to make sourdough starter: You will need 7 days create a fully mature starter using flour and water. Please refer to my sourdough complete starter guide for help. The guide also includes the top frequently asked questions.
- How to serve: Ciabatta loaves are perfect for making sandwiches. They are great for making an easy deli sandwich, egg salad sandwich, turkey sandwich or lemongrass chicken sandwich.
More Sourdough Recipes
- Small Batch Sourdough Bread
- Sourdough Cinnamon Roll Twist Bread
- Fruit and Nut Sourdough Bread
- Savoury Chive Pancakes with Sourdough Starter
- Small Batch Sourdough Pizza Dough
- Artisan Green Olive Sourdough Bread
- Seeded Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread
- Sourdough Discard Crackers with Sesame Seeds
Did you make this recipe? I would greatly appreciate a comment and rating below, letting me know what you thought of the recipe. You can also snap a picture and tag me on Instagram @aheadofthyme or share it on the Pinterest pin so that I can follow along.