Ciabatta Bread – an overview
“I feast on wine and bread, and feasts they are” – Michelangelo
As ‘ciabatta bread’ continues to be the #1 search term via which people stumble onto TriniGourmet.com I thought I’d dig up some more information about this increasingly popular bread! 🙂
If you are in a rush for a recipe – click here to see my step by step illustrated tutorial!
Ciabatta is an Italian white bread made with wheat flour and yeast. The loaf is somewhat elongated, broad and flattish: in Italian ciabatta means ??????slipper??????. Since the late 1990s it has been popular across Europe and in the United States, and is widely used as a sandwich bread.
It is not clear where in Italy this kind of bread was first produced, and at least one type of ciabatta can be found in nearly every region of Italy. The ciabatta from the area encompassing Lake Como has a crisp crust, a somewhat soft, porous texture, and is light to the touch. The ciabatta found in Tuscany, Umbria, and Marche varies from bread that has a firm crust and dense crumb, to bread that has a crisper crust and more open texture. The more open-crumbed form, which is usual in the United States, is made from a very wet dough, often requiring machine-kneading, and a sourdough starter.
There are many variations of ciabatta. When made with whole wheat flour, it is known as ciabatta integrale. In Rome, it is often seasoned with olive oil, salt, and marjoram. When milk is added to the dough, it becomes ciabatta latte.
A toasted sandwich made from small loaves of ciabatta is known as a panino (plural panini).