This garlicky spin on classic ciabatta bread, with it’s chewy and porous texture, is perfect for sandwiches and mopping up sauce.
Thanks to my partnership with Red Star Yeast over the last few years, I have made huge strides in my bread baking. What once scared me to death, I now feel like I can almost do in my sleep. It’s incredible what practice can do. That being said, I still have a lot to learn and many more recipes to explore.
So when Red Star Yeast approached me about developing a ciabatta bread recipe, I jumped at the chance to stretch my comfort zone even farther.
While researching ciabatta, I was surprised to learn that it was only invented in 1982— coincidentally the same year I was born. Bread has been around for centuries, but I like knowing that new stuff is still happening.
Ciabatta is characterized by it’s broad flat loaves, chewy texture, and holey interior. It’s definitely one of my favorites for sandwiches (and everything), although this is the first time I’ve baked it myself. And it was perfect.
I love how the roasted garlic practically melts into the dough of this variation. It’s subtle, but there for sure, and it’s scrumptious.
It’s not very difficult to create, but ciabatta does require a bit more attention than other simpler yeast breads.
A few recipe notes:
>>It does require the forethought to begin a starter or biga the night before you want to bake the bread. Letting it sit overnight helps develop the flavor and texture, definitely worth it. The next day the biga will be soupy with a bubbly surface.
>>The dough is very wet, almost like a batter, and cannot be kneaded by hand. A stand mixer is your best bet.
>>Because it is such a wet dough, it is kneaded on a higher speed than usual. Watch your mixer to make sure it doesn’t wobble off the counter!
>>As you work with the dough with your hands, be as gentle as possible. You want to keep all of those bubbles you can see under the surface intact.
>>Not a fan of garlic? Feel free to leave it out!
>>If you need any help getting started with baking yeast breads, I love the section on Red Star Yeast’s site dedicated to Lessons in Yeast & Baking. Lots of great help!
Roasted Garlic Ciabatta Bread
- ½ cup water (118 ml)
- ½ teaspoon Red Star Active Dry Yeast
- ¾ cup bread flour (90 grams)
- 1 head of garlic
- 2 cups water (475 ml)
- 1 teaspoon Red Star Active Dry Yeast
- Starter , from above
- 4 cups bread flour (480 grams)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
To make the starter:
- Dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the bread flour and stir to make a wet dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for at least 8 hours and up to 15 hours. The next day the starter should be soupy with a bubbly surface.
To make the bread:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Wrap the garlic in foil and bake for about 30 minutes until fragrant. Let cool, then slip garlic cloves out of their skins and roughly chop.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, dissolve the yeast in the water. Add all of the starter and use a dough whisk or spatula to break it up into the water. It doesn't have to completely dissolve into the water.
- Add the bread flour, salt, sugar, and chopped garlic. Knead the dough with the mixer on medium speed for about 12-15 minutes. At first the dough will be very wet, but eventually it will thicken somewhat and clear the sides of the bowl, and turn glossy and smooth. When you turn off the mixer, it will pool at the bottom of the bowl, and that's okay.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until tripled, about 1 ½ hours.
- With generously floured hands, scoop the dough out of the bowl onto a floured surface. Divide the dough in two. Working very gently, and re-flouring your hands as necessary, shape dough into oblong loaves and place each on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
- Let rise, uncovered, until doubled, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 475°F.
- Bake until golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped, 20-25 minutes. Let cool slightly and serve warm or at room temperature. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Disclosure: This recipe was developed in partnership with Red Star Yeast. All opinions are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting partnerships with brands I believe in.