How to make ciabatta
Expert baker Paul Hollywood is on hand to help you make ciabatta, a classic Italian bread. This recipe requires overnight preparation – for simpler version click here.
For the overnight preparation, mix the flour with the water in a large bowl and add the yeast. Whisk for 3 minutes and leave to rise overnight (or at least 8 hours) in a cold room or the fridge.
To finish the bread, add the remaining flour and yeast to the bread mixture and mix well. Gradually add the rest of the water to the bread mixture. When nearly all of the water has been added, add the salt to the remaining water and mix together for a further 5 minutes, until a sticky dough is formed.
Transfer the dough into a large oiled bowl and leave to rise for an hour.
Transfer the dough to a heavily floured work surface and leave to rest for a further 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 240C/210C Fan/Gas 8.
Cut the dough into three strips and stretch them out to make long, flat ciabatta loaf shapes.
Place onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper and leave for 10 minutes.
Transfer the dough to the oven to bake for 15–20 minutes, or until risen and golden-brown. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
The dough is very wet so it's easiest to knead it using a freestanding mixer fitted with a dough hook.