Naturally Leavened (Sourdough) Ciabatta Recipe

Home 9 Sourdough Bread 9 Naturally Leavened (Sourdough) Ciabatta Recipe

This is the ultimate ciabatta. I think the picture says it all.

If you like your sourdough bread, then this should definitely be on your list. And if you have never handled high hydration dough, then this is the perfect bread to try for the first time. 

Ciabatta is a very simple bread to make. It may look like something that requires a lot of skill, but that could not be farther from the truth. Most other breads have to be preshaped, shaped and scored. Ciabatta does not require any of those individual steps as it is divided, shaped and scored at once right after bulk fermentation. This makes them practically fool proof.

Watch the video down below to see detailed instructions.


For the levain –

200g (7.05oz) strong white bread flour

200g (7.05oz) room temperature water at around 20 – 22C (68 – 71F). If your kitchen is warmer then lower the water temp by 1 – 2C (2 – 3F), if cooler, then vice versa.

20g (0.7oz) sourdough starter


For the main dough –

200g (7.05oz) strong white bread flour

110g (3.9oz) water at room temperature around 20-22C (68-71F). If your kitchen is warmer then lower the water temp by 1-2C (2-3F), if cooler then vice versa

8g (0.3oz) salt

15g (0.5oz) olive oil

To learn more about dough temperature control when using a preferment click here.


  1. Make the levain by mixing the water, flour, and sourdough starter. Ferment for 12 – 16 hours or until at least doubled in size and strong.
  2. Once the levain is done add the rest of the flour and all but a couple of tablespoons of water and mix until well combined.
  3. Autolyse the dough for 30 – 60 minutes. Dissolve the salt in the left-over water to make it easier to work into the dough.
  4. Add the salted water and the oil to the dough and mix to combine.
  5. Knead the dough using the stretch and fold method for around 10 minutes until good gluten development. Desired dough temperature 22 – 24C (72-75F). If your dough is warmer, then it may take less time to ferment. If it is cooler, then it may take longer. Adjust the proofing times accordingly.
  6. Ferment for 45 minutes.
  7. Fold #1.
  8. Ferment for 45minutes.
  9. Fold.
  10. Ferment for 45 minutes.
  11. Divide and place on to a well-floured couche or a thick tea towel.
  12. Final proof 45 minutes. During the final proof pre-heat your oven and your baking vessel to 240C (460F) no fan. 
  13. Invert the ciabattas and bake them for 15 – 17 minutes.

Cool down and enjoy with your favourite fillings.

Remember that every sourdough starter is different and the condition in every kitchen are different, so take the given fermentation times with a grain of salt as they may vary for you.


Watch the video here

Understanding the principles of bread making will let you be in complete control every time you make bread. It will reduce the failure rate and turn you into an even more confident home baker.

I highly recommend you check out the Learning page where I have detailed, easy to understand explanations on each step of the bread baking process and the principles behind it. You can find all the equipment I use and recommend in the Shop (UK) & Shop (US) pages.

Show/Hide Comments (6 comments)


  1. PattiAnn

    Question? I want a good sour flavor in my bread. So can I place the leavin in the refer after the 12-16 hour period? Maybe 24 hours total? Will this create a more sour loaf?
    Thank you.
    Just found your site & videos and enjoying them very much.

    • ChainBaker

      Hey! If you want your bread to be more sour then I would suggest fermenting the dough itself for a longer time. Depending on how rapidly it’s rising you can either place it in the fridge to cold proof right after final shaping or if it’s a bit slow, then perhaps wait an hour after final shape and then refrigerate for 12, 18, 24h. This will depend on the activity of your starter.
      I’m glad you like my videos and find them useful! Welcome 🙂

  2. Mary

    Made a double batch and they turned out fantastic! I used whole wheat bread flour to make the levain and white bread flour for the main dough. Was my first time handling high hydration dough and second ever fully naturally leavened bread. This recipe combined with your video on kneading made it such a fun, easy to follow and rewarding bake. Trying the sourdough Bialys tomorrow!

    • ChainBaker

      Hi Mary! I’m glad you enjoyed it. Good luck with the bialys and on to many more delicious sourdough bakes 🙂

  3. Tim Spears

    Just a small correction note. Where you discuss the water temperature you suggest increasing or decreasing weather temperature by 1-2C (33-35F).

    I assume this is just from a systematic conversion, but I’d you increase your water temp by 33F your dough will be running a fever 🙂

    Should be 1-2C (2-3F)

    • ChainBaker

      Thank you Tim. I still can’t get my head around Fahrenheit 😀


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