Turkey Sub on Ciabatta Bread

Each week, I purchase different types of buns or rolls to make sandwiches for Wednesday Service Lunch. But on Tuesday, as I was browsing through the bread aisle, I realized how little selection there really is at a typical grocery store and the price of buns is so outrageous. It nearly kills me that I have to pay three to four dollars for a pack of these too soft, very little flavor bread. So I thought I would attempt at ciabatta (pronounced chuh-BAH-tah) bread for the first time for our sandwiches.

Sponge is made the day before by adding bread flour, yeast, and water and allowing yeast to do its work for a day in a cool place. This fermentation process adds wonderful yeasty flavor in the bread.

Rest of the ingredients is added the next day and after the dough rises, it is shaped and baked.

True to its name, we made ours into small "slippers" for individual sandwiches. And for added flavor and color, tops were brushed with olive oil, then sprinkled with four-blended cheese, dried thyme, and granulated garlic.

Bigger loaves were cut into thick slices and served with Spinach and Strawberry Salad.

Boy, it is going to be so HARD to go back to store bought bread! I almost regret that I started this....but warm Turkey and Swiss on Ciabatta never tasted so good. I guess I'll have to fit bread making into our schedule.

Ciabatta Bread Recipe
For Sponge:

1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm water (110 degrees
F/45 degrees C)
1/3 cup warm water
1 cup bread flour

1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm milk (110 degrees F
/45 degrees C)
2/3 cup warm water
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups bread flour
1-1/2 teaspoon salt

Optional: Brush with olive oil, sprinkle granulated garlic, dried thyme, and four cheese blend mix.

1. To Make Sponge: In a small bowl stir together 1/8 teaspoon of the yeast and the warm water and let stand 5 minutes, or until creamy. In a bowl stir together yeast mixture, 1/3 cup of the water, and 1cup of the bread flour. Stir 4 minutes, then over bowl with plastic wrap. Let sponge stand at cool room temperature for at least 12 hours and up to 1 day.

2. To Make Bread: In a small bowl stir together yeast and milk and let stand 5 minutes, or until creamy. In bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with dough hook blend together milk mixture, sponge, water, oil, and flour at low speed until flour is just moistened; add salt and mix until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Scrape dough into an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

3. Let dough rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours. (Dough will be sticky and full of air bubbles.) Turn dough out onto a well-floured work surface and cut in half. Transfer each half to a parchment sheet and form into an irregular oval about 9 inches long. Dimple loaves with floured fingers and dust tops with flour. Cover loaves with a dampened kitchen towel. Let loaves rise at room temperature until almost doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

4. At least 45 minutes before baking ciabatta, put a baking stone on oven rack in lowest position in oven and preheat oven to 425 F (220 degrees C).
5. Transfer 1 loaf on its parchment to a rimless baking sheet with a long side of loaf parallel to far edge of baking sheet. Line up far edge of baking sheet with far edge of stone or tiles, and tilt baking sheet to slide loaf with parchment onto back half of stone or tiles. Transfer remaining loaf to front half of stone in a similar manner. Bake ciabatta loaves 20 minutes, or until pale golden. Cool loaves on a wire rack.

To make sandwiches, add your favorite deli meat and cheese.

Note: If you are putting cheese topping, lower the temperature to 400 degrees F. And since we had to make two dozens of of these, I lined regular cookies sheets with parchment paper and put shaped bread directly on them, let rise and baked in oven. The crust was not as hearty but the texture of the bread was wonderful.


  1. Kay,
    The perfect vacation for me would be to spend a week in your kitchen with you. You make beautiful food. And I love to eat! See. What fun we'd have! No, seriously, I aspire to turn out food this good-looking and as delicious as I've had the privilege to taste.

    Have you seen http://smittenkitchen.com/? A good food site you might enjoy.

  2. I love that site! Too many wonderful blog sites and so little time!

    Anytime you are in Savannah, come and cook with me! My kitchen and church kitchen is open to all my friends!