*written by Andrew Akhaphong, Mackenthun’s Fine Foods Registered and Licensed Dietitian
Love ciabatta? The easy part is done for you –
Take and bake with New French Bakery® Ciabatta, your Dietitian’s Choice this week from July 8th to July 14th for $3.49 ea on 14 oz portions.

What is Ciabatta?

The word “ciabatta” is Italian for slipper due to its shape resembling like one when it is sliced. Thought to be a traditional bread from the old world, ciabatta was in fact invented in the 1980’s by a small baker in Rovigo, Veneto, Italy, as an affinity towards the French baguette.

Ciabatta is simply made with water, a high-gluten yielding flour, and dry yeast. Unlike the French baguette, ciabatta it is made with a higher hydration volume which helps develop ciabatta its iconic holes in its interior. Ciabatta is also similar to that of sourdough (which uses active yeast) as ciabatta is a fermented bread; however, it is not fermented long enough to get that sour, lactic acid flavor that sourdough has.

Culinary Benefits


Image Source: King Arthur Bakery

Although ciabatta is not known for its nutritional benefits, you may have noticed how many times its been featured as a bread item on many menus at your favorite dining establishments.

With a crusty exterior and a soft interior, ciabatta is quite a popular choice as the bread for sandwiches. Given its high-gluten content and hydration volume to create its interior and strength, it is not as much prone to getting soggy from condiments and other sandwich stuffing compared to other breads.

In addition…

  • Serve it with extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Slice ciabatta bread into thick slices or triangles and serve warm, as an appetizer alongside a small bowl of extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. You can also use flavor the oil with chili flakes, basil, oregano, and garlic.
  • Burger Buns: Swap out your usual burger buns with ciabatta bread. Spread mayonnaise on toasted ciabatta bread slices and fill with a veggie or meat patty, lettuce, and tomatoes.
  • Garlic Bread: Brush slices with melted butter or olive oil and spread minced garlic on top. Toast in the oven until the edges are golden.
  • Croutons for salads: For the best croutons, use stale ciabatta. Chop or tear the bread into bite-sized pieces and tossed in olive oil, oregano, and minced garlic. Bake the pieces until they become lightly browned and crispy.

Cubano Ciabatta Sandwich

By Liz Berg of That Skinny Chick Can Bake, February 1, 2018

Cuban Roast Pork:

  •  3 pound pork shoulder roast
  •  4 cloves garlic, minced
  •  1 teaspoon cumin
  •  1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  •  2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano
  •  1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  •  2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  •  2 tablespoons olive oil
  •  1 teaspoon kosher salt

For sandwich:

  •  1 loaf ciabatta bread
  •  2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  •  2-3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  •  3/4 pound sliced deli ham
  •  Sliced garlic pickles
  •  1/4-1/2 pound sliced Swiss cheese (I used 1/4 pound)
  1. Directions:
  2. Combine the garlic, cumin, pepper, oregano, orange juice, lime juice, olive oil, and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine. Place the pork and marinade in a large Ziploc bag and refrigerate at least two hours or overnight, flipping a few times.
  3. To roast, preheat oven to 275°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with two layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Place pork plus some of the marinade on the pan and fold up the top layer of foil, crimping the edges together while leaving an air pocket inside the foil.  Place in oven and roast for 3 hours.
  4. At the 3 hour mark, open the foil, and set the oven to 325°. Roast 2-3 more hours, basting on occasion until the meat is fall apart tender. Remove pork from the oven and let the pork rest until it’s cool enough to shred into bite-sized pieces, discarding excess fat.
  5. To make sandwiches, cut the ciabatta in half lengthwise.
  6. Mix together equal amounts of the mayonnaise and Dijon and spread on one half of the loaf. Top with a layer of cheese, then sliced ham, shredded pork, pickles, and then more cheese. Top with the other half of the bread.
  7. Cut into slices and grill on your panini maker or cook in a skillet weighing down the top of the sandwich with a cast iron pan or another weight. Sandwiches are ready when the cheese is melted and the meat is warm.