Ciabatta bread is a classic Italian style bread typically made for hearty sandwiches. The dough is actually a bit loose and wet and is a cross between a dough and a batter. You can make the Ciabatta dough in your bread machine, but resist the temptation to add more flour. You want it loose and wet so it’s pourable. You can make the dough in your bread machine using the dough setting but the actual Ciabatta is finished on an oiled or buttered baking sheet in the oven. The loose, dough will spread across the baking sheet so pour it on wisely so you don’t overflow. Like we said, this is a great bread for sandwiches from pastrami to ham and sliced beef. It’s great toasted and you can simply top with butter or jelly if you like. This approach worked and soon bakers all over Italy were following this recipe and it’s spread across the world. Some recipes include the addition of various herbs and the end result is a bread with large air pockets and a crispy crust
Place the ingredients in the bread pan in the order indicated and select the dough setting. Remember, the dough will be loose and sticky and that’s how you want it.
Drop it onto a lightly floured board or some plastic wrap and let it rise for 20 minutes.
You then line some baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly flour them and divide the dough into two pieces. Place the dough on the baking sheets and top them with a dust of flour. Work them into an oval. Cover them with plastic wrap and let them rise another 50 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
Spritz the top of the dough with water and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 30 minutes or until browned. Let rest for 10 minutes and serve.