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Ciabatta from the wood fired oven

A great ciabatta is a marvellous thing – a crispy outside with an airy, light internal crumb ready to stuff with your favourite fillings.

Check out how David makes our ciabatta in this week’s video and do try it at home; a perfect project for your wood fired cooking for these times if you’ve got the flour – we do seem to have turned into a nation of bakers….

It may look like there is a lot to do but just small amounts of action over a reasonably long period of time which will give the bread the lovely airiness. If there’s one thing we have plenty of at the moment if we’re self-isolating, it’s certainly time!

Makes 4 large ciabatta or 6-8 smaller ones.

Do let us know how you get on – we love to hear from you

Stay safe everyone

David and Hollyx

Ciabatta from the wood fired oven


  • 1kg 00 flour
  • 850g water
  • 20g fine seas salt
  • 10g dried quick yeast
  • 3 onions, peeled and thinly sliced and cooked slowly in olive oil until reduced; then drained and cooked over a higher heat to make them crispy. Drain on kitchen paper and cool before adding to the dough. Optional – see below for other ideas of things to addCiabatta from the wood fired oven

Oven State, equipment etc:

Oven cleared and at 250C or 3-4 Mississippi

Door shut

2 dough scrapers

Baking parchment or Teflon sheet

Method:Ciabatta from the wood fired oven

  1. Mix the flour, water and yeast together in a large bowl (without the salt) and beat vigorously together for 2-3 minutes using a dough scraper. Cover the bowl (we do this with another smaller bowl) and leave it for 15 miuntes.
  2. Beat the mixture vigorously again with the dough scraper for another 2-3 minutes this time with the salt added until the dough comes away from the side of the bowl. Leave the bowl covered for another 15 minutes.
  3. Beat the dough vigorously for another 2-3 minutes in the bowl with the dough scraper to reenergise the dough. The dough should come away from the sides of the bowl completely.
  4. Turn the dough on to a wet work surface or into a wet plastic tray. Stretch the dough with wet hands and a wet dough scraper once in each direction and turn it over so the seams are on the base. Put the onions on top if you are using them. Cover and leave for 45 minutes – we use another plastic tray of the same size but if it’s on the work surface you can just invert a large plastic bowl. (Plastic as they are lighter and easier to handle).
  5. After the 45 minutes are up, gently stretch and fold the dough 4 times and turn over again. Cover and leave again for 45 minutes adding more water to the undersides to stop the dough sticking. Do this 3 times altogether. After the last stretch and fold, mop up any excess water with some kitchen paper and generously scatter round some fine semolina so the dough is sitting on that. (You can use flour if you haven’t got semolina but the semolina helps give a great crust). Cover this again for 45 minutes.
  6. Make sure the oven is ready to cook the bread – cleared and 3-4 Mississippi.
  7. Sprinkle a line of semolina over the dough where you are going to cut it and then use a dough scraper to roll through the dough. Scuff the cut piece of dough away from the large piece and then use 2 dough scrapers, one at each end of the cut dough, to confidently pick up the dough and put it on the sheet of baking parchment. Try not to saw through the dough as you’ll just compress it. Treat it really gently now. Do this sprinkling and rolling to get 3 more loaves if you are making large size ciabatta. Try not to break into the insides of the dough as it is REALLY !! sticky!
  8. Relax for 5 minutes – the dough not you!
  9. Use a peel to put the baking parchment of ciabatta into the oven. Spray with lots of water and shut the door.
  10. Bake the ciabatta for 10 minutes and then turn the sheet of parchment round to get an even bake. Bake for another 6 minutes or so until the base of the loaves sound hollow.
  11. Leave to cool on a wire rack and then serve with fillings of your choice – ham, salami, cheese, olives….Ciabatta from the wood fired oven


Add some of the following for different flavours –

  • chopped, pitted olives
  • chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • chopped fresh rosemary
  • cooked mushrooms – cooked until they are really dry so you’re not adding extra moisture to the bread

You can freeze the bread so you may as well make a 1kg flour batch. Just refresh it when you defrost it by putting the loaf in a hot oven at about 210C for 4-5 minutes with some water spray to crisp back up.


Happy baking and do let us know how you get on

David and Holly

Ciabatta from the wood fired oven