ciabatta

I don't have an airing cupboard for proving, instead I have a cheap bread machine (£20) and just use the dough setting.

500g white bread flour

400ml lukewarm water

75ml good quality extra virgin olive oil

7g yeast

2 tsp sea salt


  • Pop all the ingredients into a bread machine on the dough setting.
  • At the end of the programme - trying not to knock the air out of it, with a plastic spatula carefully ease the very wet sticky dough on to a thickly floured surface. 
  • Cut in half with a dough scraper and with well floured hands gently shape into a rough rectangle. 
  • Liberally dust two baking trays with flour, place each dough on top and dust each with more flour. 
  • Preheat oven to gas mark 7 and place a roasting tin with water on the bottom.
  • When the dough has risen to double its size (around 1hr), pop into the oven and bake for approximately 25 minutes. I usually rotate the tray 180 degrees midway through.
  • I then tend to turn my bread upside down and bake for a further 5 minutes, to ensure a nice firm base. At the end of baking time tap the base, it will sound hollow when baked through. 
  • Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack.
  • Even though it will be tempting to scoff straight away, leave to cool on the wire rack to allow the proteins in the bread to relax.