Spelt ciabatta

Made from spelt and regular baker’s flour, this Italian loaf requires almost no kneading at all. The trick is leaving your dough to prove in the fridge for 6-8 hours. Prepare the mix before going to bed, then pop it in the oven when you wake and enjoy fresh, crispy bread for breakfast. Bellissimo!

MAKES: 1 loaf


  • 200 g spelt flour
  • 350 g baker’s flour
  • 425 ml water
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt


  • Proving time 6-8 hours
  • Resting time 30 minutes
  • Cooling time 1 hour
  1. Place the flour in a large mixing bowl, add the yeast and mix it through. Slowly pour in the water and work with a wooden spoon to incorporated into the flour. Add the salt and olive oil and keep mixing until all the ingredients are combined. This is a rather sticky dough that doesn’t require kneading as such.
  2. Place the dough back in the bowl, oil the top to prevent a film forming and cover with plastic film. Allow to rise at room temperature for 6–8 hours or overnight in the fridge until doubled in size.
  3. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Using a spatula or dough scraper, tip the risen dough onto the baking tray and stretch it out to a rectangle about 30 cm x 8 cm. The dough will feel gluey and wet, but don’t be tempted to mix in more flour. Simply dust some flour over the top, then cover with a cloth and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat your oven to 220ºC (200ºC fan-forced) and place a metal bowl or skillet on the bottom shelf of the oven to heat up.
  5. When the dough has rested place the tray in the oven, fill the metal bowl or skillet with cold water to create steam and immediately close the oven door. Bake for 30–35 minutes or until well risen and crusty. Tap the bottom with your fingers – if it sounds hollow, the bread is cooked through; if not, bake it for a few more minutes. You can flip it upside down to encourage the bottom to crunch up. After all, who enjoys a soggy bottom?
  6. Transfer the bread to a wire rack and leave to rest at room temperature for at least 1 hour before slicing into it (this will allow the crumb to dry slightly).


  • Enjoy with piquant extra virgin olive oil, cold cuts of meat and cheese, or good old butter and jam.

Cook’s notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.