Ciabatta 100% Hydration

Ciabatta 100% Hydration pinit

Please read the article before you attempt to bake this high hydration ciabatta. For beginner bakers, I would advise to first experiment with my other recipe called “Easy Ciabatta“.

So what does 100% Hydration mean? It simply means that you use the same amount of water and flour. This recipe uses 500g Bread Flour and 500g Water. It’s a simple calculation: 500g Flour / 500g Water x 100 = 100%. Where the other ciabatta recipe uses 500g Bread Flour and 400g Water and that calculates to an 80% hydration.

What should I know before attempting this recipe? Ok, for starters, you won’t be able to knead this dough. You either mix it by using a stand mixer with the beating attachment OR you can do a series of the stretch and fold method. Secondly, because of the sloppy dough, it is very difficult to shape and you need some experience. But hey, watch the video and see for yourself…

What method should I attempt, the mixer of stretch and fold? Personally, I would do the stretch and fold method. It is hands-on, and you get a better understanding of how gluten forms because you can actually feel it tighten as you do the stretch and folds. Yes, it is quicker with a machine, but where is the fun in baking? If you decide to use the machine it should at least run for 10 – 12 minutes or until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and it forms a ball in the center of the bowl.

Ciabatta 100% Hydration
Just look at all those air holes!

What is the difference between 80% and 100% loaves? Only the air holes. That is it. With the 80% hydration ciabatta, you do get air holes but not as prominent as the 100% hydration ciabatta. The wetter the dough, the bigger the air holes.

What are the instructions if I want to make this bread with a machine mixer? Ok, that is simple: Add the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar (if using sugar) into the bowl of a stand mixer with the BEATING attachment. Not the dough hook. Turn the mixer on at a medium speed and slowly add the water. Beat for at least 10 – 12 minutes or until the dough pulls away from the sides and forms a ball in the center of the bowl. Continue as from point 5 in the recipe instructions, see below.

Why is the water measured in grams and not milliliters? I have zillions of measuring cups and jugs… and not one of them is correct. Therefore I believe in weighing the water rather than to hope it is the right amount. Electronic scales are really not that expensive and I would recommend using one instead of measuring cups.

What should the water temperature be? Personally, with this recipe and the use of instant yeast, I prefer to use room temperature water. The biggest reason why I prefer room temperature water is that it takes longer to proof. With a longer proof, the gluten gets more time to develop and you will have more air holes in the final dough.

Any other tips for working with such a wet dough? There are always tips. Coat the knife or bench scraper with olive oil when cutting the dough. That will help that the dough does not stick to the knife.

Ciabatta 100% Hydration

Prep Time 210 min Cook Time 25 min Total Time 3 hrs 55 mins Calories: 467.55 kcal



  1. Add the flour, salt, (sugar if using) and yeast into a clean bowl and use a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients.

  2. Make a well in the center and add the water. Start mixing with a wooden spoon until well combined. The dough is very soft and runny.

  3. Tip the dough into a clean plastic bowl that is lightly oiled. Cover with a damp tea cloth and set aside to rest for 15 minutes.

  4. Begin a series of stretch and fold for about 1 - 2 minutes. Cover again and set aside for another 15minutes. Repeat this process 3 more times.

  5. After the final stretch and fold, lightly oil a 3-liter square plastic container. (It’s important to use a square tub as it helps shape the dough).

  6. Tip the dough into the prepared tub, cover with a damp cloth and leave until at least trebled in size 2-3 hours or longer.

  7. Heat your oven to 220°C and line 1 or 2 baking tray(s) with baking parchment and dust with flour. **(Please see notes)

  8. Dust your work surface heavily with flour. Carefully tip out the dough (it will be very wet) onto the work surface.

  9. Coat the top of the dough with more flour and cut the dough in 3 or 4 pieces. Carefully place each piece on the prepared baking trays. **(Please see notes)

  10. Leave the ciabatta dough to rest for a further 30minutes, then bake for 25 minutes, or until the loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the base. Cool on a wire rack.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 3

Amount Per Serving
Calories 467.55
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 2.27g4%
Saturated Fat 0.33g2%
Sodium 592.1mg25%
Total Carbohydrate 93.81g32%
Dietary Fiber 3.67g15%
Sugars 2.5g
Protein 15.99g32%

Vitamin C 0.01%
Calcium 2.36%
Iron 30.96%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.


* I prefer to use room temperature water for this recipe because it leads to a longer proofing time, which gives the gluten more time to develop. ** You have the option to cut the dough in 2 or 3 or 4 pieces. Because this is a very wet dough, I prefer cutting it into 3 OR 4 pieces because it makes it easier to transfer to a baking sheet. *** You don't have to cut the dough, you can tip it out directly onto a prepared baking tray and shape a loaf (wet your hands with water if you shape it) and bake. Adjust the baking time to 35-40 minutes if you are only baking 1 loaf.

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Lukas Coetzee

Lukas graduated from the Francois Ferreira Academy with distinctions in all his subjects and received a special "Top student in 14 years" award. He is currently Chef de Cuisine at Belle Vue Weddings and Functions. He is also a part-time lecturer at the Francois Ferreira Academy and teaches patisserie and cake decorating.