WHAT IS CIABATTA BREAD?
This Italian classic is not as old as you might think. It’s the Italian version of a French baguette whose name means “slipper.” Despite the name, ciabatta is a long, flat rectangular bread filled with irregularly shaped holes. This Italian loaf is made from a mix of white and rye flour. Famous for its airy texture, it was invented by Arnaldo Cavallari in a small mill near Venice in 1982. His ambitious goal was to challenge the popularity of French bread (which was flying off store shelves for use in sandwiches). And he succeeded! Ciabatta is a chewy bread being made from a lean yeast and a soft, very wet dough. Sometimes milk is added to the recipe resulting in a ciabatta al latte. In the States it’s a popular choice for paninis and cuban-style sandwiches.
WHERE IS THE BEST CIABATTA BREAD MADE?
While there are many bakeries that do a great job in New York City, Sullivan Street is hard to beat!
WHAT KIND OF FLOUR AND STARTER SHOULD I USE?
A mix of white and rye, or just unbleached white flour will work. For a great recipe that includes the biga (starter) click here!
HOW SHOULD CIABATTA BREAD BE STORED?
It will keep for 2 to 3 days at room temperature or wrap in clingfilm and freeze for up to 3 to 4 months. But when heating your bread up no need to thaw it first, just pop it directly into a hot oven.
HOW CAN I BRING STALE CIABATTA BREAD BACK TO LIFE?
So this loaf like most bread doesn’t keep for a long time. However Bon Appetite came up with a great way to revive stale bread (so long as there is no mold). Instead of throwing it away, put your loaf under running water! But wait, as crazy as it sounds, then bake your loaf again in the oven. For detailed instructions on how to do this, click here!