m. c. de marco: The New Kitchen Cookbook


This recipe is adapted from The Il Fornario Baking Book, in which it is a variant of pagnotta. It also requires a biga and an infinite amount of time between all the kneading and rising. Unlike no-knead ciabattas, it’s actually slower to make than the peasant bread/pagnotta version.

Makes: 1 large loaf.


  • ⅜ c. biga (defrosted if frozen)
  • ¼ c. warm water
  • 1 tsp. yeast
  • 3 ½ c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 T. vital wheat gluten (adjust for the protein content of your flour)
  • ½ T. salt
  • 1 ⅜ c. cool water
  • cornmeal (optional)


  • baking stone
  • broiler pan (or spray bottle)


  1. Let the biga warm up some (if it was refrigerated).
  2. Mix the yeast into the warm water in a small bowl and let sit 15 minutes.
  3. Mix the gluten, flour, and salt in a large bowl. Don’t forget the gluten.
  4. Add all remaining ingredients (except cornmeal) to the flour and mix with a spoon until incorporated.
  5. Knead by hand in the bowl for 5 minutes.
  6. Knead on a floured surface for about 15 minutes.
  7. Transfer to an oiled bowl (flipping to coat with oil) and cover.
  8. Let rise 1 ½ hour or until doubled.
  9. Press into a 6x6 or 8x4 oiled baking pan.
  10. Let rise 1 ½ hour.
  11. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board. Fold one third over.
  12. Place loaf onto a heavily floured board and cover.
  13. Preheat oven (with stone and broiler pan) to 425°.
  14. Let loaf rise about 45 minutes, until it springs back from your touch.
  15. Dust some parchment paper (on/or a cutting board or other peel-like surface) with cornmeal, semolina, or flour.
  16. Gently flip the loaf onto the parchment paper, revealing the floury side of the loaf.
  17. Let rise 15 more minutes.
  18. Slide the loaf (with paper) onto the stone.
  19. Carefully pour 1 cup hot water into the broiler pan (or mist the oven with water).
  20. Bake about one hour, removing the parchment paper partway through.
  21. Cool on a rack.



If you came here looking for no-knead ciabatta, it’s pretty simple: With wet hands, slather a lump of no-knead dough into a flat rectangle on parchment paper. Let it rise while the oven is preheating to 450° (with a bread stone and water pan), dust it with flour, add water to the pan, and bake for 20 minutes.