Type Bread
Place of origin Italy
Region or state Veneto
Created by Francesco Favaron
Main ingredients Wheat flour or whole wheat flour, water, Olive Oil, yeast, salt
Cookbook: Ciabatta  Media: Ciabatta

Ciabatta (Italian pronunciation: [tʃaˈbatta], literally "slipper")[1] is an Italian white bread made from wheat flour, water, olive oil, salt, and yeast, created in 1982 by a baker in Verona, Veneto, Italy, in response to the popularity of French baguettes. Ciabatta is somewhat elongated, broad, and flat, and is baked in many variations.

While panino indicates any kind of sandwich regardless of the bread used (whether slices or a bun), a toasted sandwich made from small loaves of ciabatta is known as panini (plural of panino) outside Italy.


Ciabatta was first produced in 1982 by Arnaldo Cavallari, who called the bread ciabatta polesana after Polesine, the area he lived in. The recipe was subsequently licensed by Cavallari's company, Molini Adriesi, to bakers in 11 countries by 1999. Cavallari and other bakers in Italy were concerned by the popularity of sandwiches made from baguettes imported from France, which were endangering their businesses and so set about trying to create an Italian alternative with which to make sandwiches. The recipe for ciabatta came about after several weeks trying variations of traditional bread recipes and consists of a soft, wet dough made with high gluten flour.[2]

Many regions have their own variations on the original recipe or a bread that closely resembles ciabatta and has become accepted as a variety of ciabatta; 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, and in Rome, it is often seasoned with marjoram.[3]

New variations of the recipe continue to be developed. Wholemeal ciabatta is known as ciabatta integrale, and when milk is added to the dough, it becomes ciabatta al latte.[3]

Other countries

Ciabatta bread was introduced to the United Kingdom in 1985 by Marks & Spencer, then brought to the US in 1987 by Orlando Bakery, a Cleveland firm.[2][4] They brought over three bakers from Italy to develop the product and adapt it to mass production. They successfully introduced a fresh bread, and later, a frozen version. It was quickly copied throughout the United States and became widely available in Australia around this time, due to the large Italian Australian population.

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 biga or sourdough starter.


  1. Riley, Gillian (2007). The Oxford Companion to Italian Food. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. p. 129. ISBN 9780198606178.
  2. 1 2 Stummer, Robin (1999-04-30). "The secret life of ciabatta". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-12-13.
  3. 1 2 "Ciabatta Bread Suite". Retrieved 2015-09-20.
  4. "Orlando Baking Company". Archived from the original on 2015-02-21.
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