Easiest bread ever! Dutch Oven Spelt Ciabatta.

Whole wheat Ciabatta!
Spelt Ciabatta!

Fresh out of my new cast iron Dutch oven. I can’t wait to cut into this bread with Andy tonight!!

There are so many reasons to make your own bread. I can’t even count them! Not the least of these is the way commercial breads are made, not according to traditional (and intuitive) bread-making knowledge. Without getting into a health shpiel at this point, I’ll just say that a lot of our gluten issues would probably resolve if we made our own bread the old-fashioned way.

If you ever hesitated, thinking it’s just too time-consuming…think again! This bread is incredibly easy. It’s a bonafide fast food. So without more ado:


  • 1-1/2 cups organic wheat flour (white)
  • 1-1/2 cups spelt flour
  • 1-3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. yeast
  • 1-1/2 cups warm water

Add all the dry ingredients to a large bowl. Stir in the water until all is blended and comes away from the sides of the bowl. Don’t over-stir. I added a few drops of extra virgin olive oil to the bowl and rolled the somewhat sticky bread ball in it. Cover with plastic and leave out on the counter for a minimum 12 hours. I left it for 18 hours.

When you’re ready to make the bread, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the uncovered Dutch oven and the lid in the heated oven for 30 minutes.

Turn the bread out onto a well-floured board. Pat down and fold in thirds, turn and fold in thirds again. Roll slightly to make a ball.

Place the ball, seam-side down, into the Dutch oven and cover. Bake in the covered Dutch oven for 30 minutes. Remove the lid, and bake another 5 minutes.

When I cut into the bread later this evening, I’ll add a picture of what that looks like. In the meantime, I’ll salivate some.

The bread was delicious. I think I'd like it with larger (and more) airholes tho. Will try it next time with a 3:2 flour:water ratio.
The bread was delicious. I think I’d like it with larger (and more) airholes tho. Will try it next time with a 3:2 flour:water ratio.

P.S. I spent some time reviewing Ciabatta recipes. Authentic Italian recipes use a Biga, somewhat like a sourdough starter. I might try that sometime, but I’m going to work with this method for awhile first. I like this way because it’s one-step. I do want to try adding more water, though. Many of the recipes seem to have about 2/3 the amount of water as flour, I.e., for 3 cups of flour, 2 cups of water. This should make a much looser dough with larger (and more) air holes. I also want to incorporate some of Monica Shaw’s techniques, especially adding seeds to the crust. You can check out her version at smarter fitter.com. I’ll keep you posted! 

14 thoughts on “Easiest bread ever! Dutch Oven Spelt Ciabatta.

  1. Hi Leslie. I would love to try this bread. I’m living in a vacation rental in Tucson for the winter and the kitchen equipment is not so good. There’s a Dutch oven with a nonstick (Teflon-like) finish that is probably covering aluminum. Do you think I could make the bread in that if I adjusted the cooking time?

    1. Hi Jane – I wouldn’t be comfortable to do anything like this — or anything for that matter — in a nonstick pot of any kind. They’ve pretty much confirmed those are a health hazard. I got my Lodge Dutch oven thru amazon – free shipping – and it wasn’t expensive at all. Worth every penny. It would be really hard to fly back with tho! Kinda heavy.

  2. I just mixed this bread up and put it on the counter to rise overnight. As I mentioned before, the cooking equipment here is not the best, and the Dutch oven can’t be used in the oven because it has plastic handles. But I found a North African tagine with a cover that I’m going to bake my loaf in. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

    1. Sounds like it should work, Jane! Yes, let me know. We really enjoyed ours! Great crust and that nice, spongy or maybe chewy texture of Ciabatta. Not as many air spaces as I would have liked – but that could have been a function of the whole grain. I’m going to do it again over the weekend. It’s a great bread to have around all the time because it’s so easy.

  3. Hi Leslie. If you’ll send me your email or cell phone#, I’ll send you a photo of the Spelt Chiabatta that I baked this morning in the tagine. I don’t think it had ever been used for anything but decoration. The bread came out beautifully. It’s cooling, and I’m drooling, waiting to cut into it.

  4. After posting the previous comment, I figured out that I could email this photo to you at this blog. I hope you received it, since it said that vegetatingwithleslie.org appeared to not be a legitimate email address but gave me the option to send it anyway. Let me know if you didn’t receive it, and we’ll do it one of the other ways.

  5. I just had to try this recipe, I followed it just as prescribed and it turned out better than I ever expected!
    We used Bob’s Red Mill organic ingredients.
    We will be making this again very soon!

  6. This sounds fabulous. I think Monica bakes something very similar. When she comes to visit there is always freshly baked bread around, and yes, she uses my cast iron (enameled) dutch oven for this! She knows the science behind this and has blogged about it…. all I know is that she’s made many variations and it’s always a huge hit. She even has neighbors who pay her to bake it weekly for them. http://smarterfitter.com/easiest-no-knead-bread-with-variations/

    1. I’ll have to check it out on her site — see what she’s doing. It really was wonderful and so easy. I make spelt challah (braided) twice a week, but I may reduce to once and do this one instead. So good!

  7. Thanks for the shout-out! I have been making a LOT of spelt bread recently (and spelt pitas, and spelt chapatti). Your loaf looks great! Let me know how you get on with the seeds. 🙂

  8. Hi Leslie. Since tomorrow is National Sticky Bun Day, Feb. 21, I’m going to attempt to make sticky buns using your Spelt Ciabatta bread dough. Some of the recipes that I looked up used frozen white bread dough, or even Pillsbury biscuit dough, so I figured, why not use this healthier dough base. My plan is to roll out the dough, as in cinnamon rolls, apply a cinnamon filling, and use a honey-lemon juice mix of some kind in the bottom of the pan.

    1. Great idea, Jane – let me know how it comes out! Years ago I used to make coffee cake with my challah recipe. I did a single thicker braid instead of the double braid like I do now. I flattened each strand of the braid, spread my sweet mix over the flattened strands, rolled the strands lengthwise, then braided the three strands – sprinkled a little more sweet nut mix over the top. It was yummy. Yours will be too, I’m sure!

Ideas? Would like to hear from you!