This bread is such a treat. It’s soft, incredibly open, and light in hand — almost like a bushel of puffy marshmallows bound together by a crust poised to shatter at the slightest pressure. This is a loaf of bread that asks you to tear it with hands, dunked into the best olive oil in the pantry. That is if you can stop yourself from cutting it in half and sandwiching together all manner of delicious ingredients (I couldn’t, as you’ll see later). I hope this sourdough ciabatta bread recipe becomes a regular in your kitchen as it has been in mine.
Classically, ciabatta is intended to be used for sandwiches, or panino, of all kinds. The smaller ciabatta panini are wildly popular in Italy and even here in the US, and for a good reason. The wide footprint of these slippers — ciabatta means slipper in Italian — have a sturdy crust that provides the right platform for ensnaring anything and everything one could conceivably use for a sandwich. As you’ll see later in this post, I found myself making sandwiches with just about everything lying around in my fridge — not to mention all the fresh vegetables from the market.