Whole Wheat Ciabatta Bread Recipe
Enjoy this whole wheat ciabatta bread recipe from health advocate and writer, Brandy Pan. It's better than store-bought!
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Why Ciabatta Bread?
If you’re not already making your own ciabatta bread, following an easy at-home ciabatta bread recipe is going to make your weekly meals so much better!
Ciabatta is a great bread choice and accompaniment to your meals. It makes for an amazing sandwich bread that’s tasty, delicious, crunchy, and easy to bake.
Ciabatta also holds its own at room temperature, and you don’t have to separately toast before a meal. It will stay fresh for a few days without hardening like a store-bought French bread loaf can.
I fell in love with the crunchier-style bread from my first taste.
I grew up trying a variety of foods and breads -- and loved good foods so much I grew closer to my passion starting my career in hotel catering, and then family-style party planning in Italian, Spanish, and Lebanese restaurants.
Being in those atmospheres inspired me to travel to Italy, Spain, and Morocco and deeper appreciate the cuisines there. I spent time with new family and friends. With every meal, fresh or local bread is served as is common with American meals.
My last visit to the Mediterranean areas was in 2019 where ciabatta comes from.
How Ciabatta Bread Became Popular
Ciabatta originated in the northern Veneto region of Italy.
Unlike many Italian food traditions that have passed down since ancient times, ciabatta is a fairly new bread variety. In the 1980s, French baguettes were popular and spreading into Italy, so Italians sought to make their own versions.
Today there are many versions of ciabatta throughout Italy. The ciabatta versions in the Tuscan region and further south, are crispier than northern versions. The southern regions of Italy have a drier climate, good for thriving flour, pasta, and olive oil making.
By the late 1980s, the U.S. and U.K. started selling ciabatta in mass production.
Whole Wheat Inspiration
I was inspired to make my whole wheat ciabatta bread recipe version after watching The Great British Baking Show.
Ciabatta is the first bread I made on my own and it’s so simple with just 4 ingredients that many loaves of bread and pizzas use.
I first tried with regular flour and realized that to get the right bake, you had to turn the oven on to higher temperatures beyond 350 degrees that’s not ideal for hot summers or apartment living.
When I switched to using whole wheat flour and coming up with the ciabatta bread recipe I now use (shared in this article), I found that I could bake on a common 350 degrees (Fahrenheit) without losing the well-baked doneness.
The second benefit is whole wheat flour in the dough stage isn’t messy on your hands!
When you get to pick up the dough (or slip off the dough hook on your mixing machine) and move to the proofing container, it’s a clean move, especially if you need to reach for your phone, you can just quickly wipe your hands off.
On a healthy note, whole wheat flour is also higher in fiber than most other flours. It's the recommended flour on the Mediterranean Diet.
When I can add healthier ingredients that enhance and don’t compromise taste, that’s a huge bonus! I like the King Arthur brand flours but you can use any brand you like.
What to Serve With This Ciabatta Bread Recipe?
Better yet, make a delicious and healthy sandwich with our Tahini Chicken Salad. So many amazing options!
Our Favorite Bread Baking Tools:
Here we wanted to share some of our favorite bread baking tools to make your bread baking journey easier!
Proofing Container - The measuring marks help to conveniently track the dough as it rises!
Bread Cutter and Bench Scraper - Cut your dough and easily transport from bench to proofing basket or dutch oven.
Dough Whisk - Provides a double mixing effect for the most efficient mixing of dough.
How We Can Help:
If you love great, healthy meals and want to make your life easier, check out our Mediterranean Meal Plans. They were created by our Dietitian Nutritionist Jamie with you and your family in mind. Each meal plans comes complete with an organized grocery list to save you time and features Mediterranean Diet principles.
Meet Our Recipe Developer: Brandy Pan
Brandy is a good health advocate, writer, and blogger. Her hospitality career experiences sparked her passion for good foods and exploring Mediterranean countries where they know secrets to eat healthy and living optimal, happy and balanced lives. You can get her weekly living healthier and happier tips at www.healthyhappylifesecrets.
Whole Wheat Ciabatta Bread Recipe
Side Dish, Baking
Enjoy this whole wheat ciabatta bread recipe from health advocate and writer, Brandy Pan. It's better than store-bought! Read more about her in the bio section.
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup water + 1 tablespoon water or so, as needed (you want the dough to be moist but not gloppy wet or too dry where flour is not adhering to the dough ball after a couple minutes)
- ½ teaspoon rising yeast (I used the little instant yeast quick rise packets that have perfectly round yeast balls that are pin head size)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- This can make 3 – 7” loaves enough for 2 people for daily fresh bread consumption
- Add the flour, yeast and salt to a mixing bowl. Try to keep the yeast and salt on separate sides of the bowl when you add. If use a Kitchen Aid mixer with a bowl and dough hook, that will make your bread making life easy.
- Then gradually add water and start mixing on medium speed with the dough hook (or blending and beating up by hand if you don't have a dough hook). This will mix the ingredients and break down the gluten. With a machine, it will take about 10-15 minutes.
- While waiting, prepare a square or rectangular plastic or glass tub(a 4″ square all around will work well). Then lightly coat the proofing container with olive oil before proofing.
- When the dough has been mixed and worked enough (10-15 minutes), it's ready for proofing. Slip off the dough hook and place directly in the proofing container. Close the top or put a piece of plastic wrap on top and let the dough proof for 3 hours or more at room temperature. You can also leave overnight.
- When proofing is near done (minimum of 3 hours), prepare a baking sheet with sprinkled flour or bench flour. You can use any bench flour you like, including semolina flour. I like to keep it simple and stick with the flour I used for making the bread (so whole wheat in this case).
- After the dough has proofed enough, you can pour out slowly, letting the dough land on the flour on the baking sheet. It will maintain the same square or rectangular shape that it was sitting, making the final shapes more uniform.
- Then cut 3 same-size rectangular loaf pieces. I use a pizza roller but you can alternatively use a professional flat bread cutter tool where you make sharp straight down cuts.
- Then add a little bench flour sprinkle to the top of the bread loaves.
- Let the dough on the baking sheet rest for about 15 minutes before placing in the pre-heated 350 degrees Fahrenheit oven.
- Bake for about 25 minutes (adjust as needed as each oven is slightly different).
- I leave the bread in the oven a little longer after I turn off the heat, just to give the bread a 'lil more crunch.And presto!… you have better or as good as fresh store bought or restaurant prepared ciabatta.
- You can eat and enjoy the ciabatta while it’s still piping warm.