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Starter (polish):
600 ml water – approx 18°C
1/4 tsp instant yeast
600 gm bread flour

1200 gm bread flour
1 1/4 tsp instant yeast
600 ml water – approx 18°C
100 ml olive oil
1 tsp salt

75 gm bread flour
75 gm cornflour
sq water


To make the starter (known as a polish in Italian):

  • Place the cool water in medium bowl; add yeast and stir in flour until well mixed
  • Cover with a tea towel and stand at room temperature overnight (10 - 12 hours ) or until the mixture has doubled in size, is light, foamy with large bubbles


  • In an oversized, large bowl mix the flour and yeast
  • In a medium bowl whisk together the water, olive oil and salt
  • Add to flour mixture
  • Add the starter and mix
  • Continue mixing for approximately 10 minutes or until dough holds together and is slightly smooth (scrape down sides of bowl as required) - the dough will be sticky, but DO NOT add more flour, as the dough will become less sticky as the process continues, due to the flour swelling and absorbing more liquid
  • Cover with a tea towel and allow to stand for approx 30 minutes
  • Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface work surface and knead until the dough loses its stickiness and a soft, stretchy dough is obtained (this process develops the gluten strands and makes for a well textured bread).
  • Place into a bowl lightly dusted with flour, cover and allow to stand for more 30 minutes
  • Punch the dough (this is known as 'knocking back' and evenly distributes the CO2 and yeast)
  • Knead for 5 more minutes
  • Combine the flour and cornflour and sprinkle three-quarters of it onto baking trays
  • Shape the dough into two slightly flattened ovals and place onto the trays
  • Cover with a damp tea towel and allow to stand for one more hour
  • Sprinkle with remainder of flour and cornflour
  • Place into a pre-heated oven (225°C), middle shelf and bake for approximately 30 minutes (at this time also place a roasting tray on the bottom shelf to pre-heat)
  • After 30 minutes pour half a cup of boiling water into the roasting tray and continue baking for approximately 30 minutes or until bread is cooked (loaves should sound hollow when tapped on the base)
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool on wire rack

Chef's Tip:

Ciabatta literally means 'slipper' in Italian and denotes the shape of the bread
As with all breads it is totally reliant on the quality and choice of flour you use, any flour designed for a sourdough would be good.

Enjoy and bon appetit . . . . .

sufficient quantity (add to taste)
piece, meaning a whole one of