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Helen Webber’s Shaggy (Ciabatta) Bread Recipe

By November 9, 2009May 21st, 2021One Comment
Shaggy Bread & Home Made Buns

Helen Webber's Shaggy (Ciabbata) Bread

Shaggy Bread Ciabatta Bread Recipe


  • 3 cups warm water
  • 1 ¼ tbsp. sea salt, kosher salt or 1 tbsp. table salt
  • 1 ½ tbsp. yeast, instant or regular
  • 6 cups flour – unbleached or all purpose – I often substitute 1 cup of some type of whole grain flour for a total of 6 cups
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal


  1. Mix the water, salt and yeast, stirring to dissolve in a 16-cup container preferably with a lid. I use a gallon ice cream pail.
  2. Add the six cups of flour and stir with a wooden spoon until all the flour is moistened. It should look like shaggy dough when you’re done. It will not be a smooth like regular bread dough and it will be quite sticky.
  3. Cover dough lid (don’t put it on tightly) or plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for two hours. Refrigerate until ready to bake.
  4. Cut off about a third of the dough and shape into a ball on a well floured counter. Place on a baking sheet that has been well sprinkled with cornmeal. The whole sheet doesn’t have to be covered with cornmeal, just an area a little larger than the dough ball. Be sure the top is well covered with flour.
  5. Let rise for 40 to 50 minutes on the counter. Slice the top two or three times.
  6. Begin preheating the oven to 450 degrees F about 20 minutes before it is time to bake the bread. Place a broiler pan on the floor of a gas oven, or on the bottom rack of an electric oven.
  7. When the oven is hot, place the bread on the rack above the pan and then immediately throw a cup of hot water into the pan. Close the oven quickly. Bake for 20 minutes and then reduce the oven to 400 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes.
  8. Remove from the pan and cool on a rack.

Notes: This bread dough will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. It just gets to be more of a sourdough as it ages. There is no need to wash the container between batches. This recipe can also be doubled if you have a big enough container. A little wetter dough will give a different but still delicious result, as will slightly heavier dough.

Experiment and have fun!

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