gluten-free ciabatta bread

Crusty airy ciabatta bread. You know the one. Perfect for dipping in seasoned olive oil. Or a steaming bowl of your favorite soup.  There’s a huge difference with this one, though. You can’t find this in most bakeries. This one is gluten-free! And please believe me when I tell you that it definitely can be done at home, thanks to the genius of Dr. Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François. It’s all outlined in their book, Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day. If you or your loved one cannot tolerate gluten, you’ll want to check this out.

I first used this bread dough recipe when making my Gluten-Free Artisan Bread. I learned the hard way that it is so important to follow along as it is written. My technique was fine …it wasn’t that difficult. Really. But I did find that you cannot substitute sweet rice flour for stone ground rice flour. And that potato starch and potato flour are two very different things. You shouldn’t have trouble finding any of the ingredients listed for the all-purpose flour mixture. They’ll most likely be available at your local market. If not, they can be ordered directly from Bob’s Red Mill. Then there’s always Amazon.

This may seem like a lot to go through to make a loaf of bread but, really, if you have a serious issue with gluten or someone close to you does …you’ll find that it’s worth the effort. And the best part is that once you mix up your customized gluten-free all-purpose flour, you’ll store it in a large container and have it handy for all of your baking needs. The key is to measure each ingredient carefully …I found that measuring in grams on my digital food scale by keeping a running total worked out well.

As the authors state …“The ingredients must be very well mixed, otherwise, the xanthan gum or psyllium will not be evenly distributed and your loaves will be inconsistent. Whisk and mix the ingredients in a 5- to 6-quart lidded container. Finish by picking up the container and vigorously shaking until the flours are completely blended.”

The yeast is sprinkled in with the flour mixture. Once the dry ingredients are well combined, the lukewarm water is added. It is recommended that it be exactly 100°. I know this all may seem to be a bit much but please don’t give up on it. It can be fun, like a science project. And the final product is so superior …it’s worth the effort. You just can’t buy this at your local bakery. Well, maybe you can if you live in a large metropolitan area. But, for the rest of us, we’re on our own.

If you have a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment to mix up the dough for about one minute. If not, give it a good stir for about two minutes until the mixture is very smooth. And the best part is …no kneading necessary!

After a two hour rest, your dough is ready for the fridge. This is where the “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day” comes into play. This recipe makes enough dough for four one-pound loaves. Over the next ten days, grab about a pound of dough, shape it into a loaf, let it rest for about an hour and bake. Just five minutes of your hectic schedule. The rest of the time it takes care of itself.  And the longer it hangs out in the fridge, the more developed the flavor is. Simply genius.

You’ll be shaping the dough into an elongated oval measuring approximately 9″ by 5″ with a thickness of about  3/4″. When you dust the prepared dough with flour, use a bit of your gluten-free all-purpose mix. Or, better yet, just use white rice flour.

Our baking specialists recommend that you bake this bread one of two ways. Either on a preheated baking stone or baking metal, using the steam method. Or you can bake it right in your preheated, lidded dutch oven. That’s the method I choose. Every time. It couldn’t be easier. Just lift the prepared dough, including the parchment paper, right into the dutch oven, cover it and bake. Please be careful. That preheated dutch oven is extremely hot!

For additional insight on what to expect with this unstructured dough, check out this video.

After 30 minutes, the lid is removed so that the bread can finish browning. Five more minutes in the oven and voilà! The bread is lifted from the dutch oven with the parchment paper and placed on a wire tray to cool. The paper will be somewhat brittle from the extreme heat so be sure to place a wide spatula underneath the paper as you lift the bread. Once again, be very careful of that hot dutch oven!

The bread needs to hang out on a cooling rack for two hours. That’s the hard part. It smells so good, you’ll want to cut into it immediately. After all, who doesn’t love warm bread straight from the oven? But don’t give in to the temptation. Gluten-free bread needs a full two hours of cooling to set completely.

Slice this up and serve it with your favorite dipping oil. Or alongside your next bowl of soup. Or just spread some butter on a slice. It’s all good. And it’s gluten-free.

5 from 4 votes

gluten-free ciabatta bread

Adapted from Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day

Keep a supply of this gluten-free all-purpose flour mixture in the pantry. With a batch of this master boule dough in the fridge, you can enjoy fresh bread every day. Just takes five minutes of your time.

Servings 4 one-pound loaves
Author Rosemary Stelmach


Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mixture

  • 6 cups stone ground white rice flour * (36 ounces / 1,020 grams)
  • 3 1/4 cups sorghum flour (16 ounces / 455 grams)
  • 1 3/4 cups tapioca flour or starch (8 ounces / 225 grams)
  • 1 1/4 cups potato starch ** (8 ounces / 225 grams)
  • 1/4 cup xanthan gum or psyllium husk powder (1.4 ounces / 40 grams)

Gluten-Free Ciabatta Bread

  • 6 1/2 cups Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mixture (990 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast or dry active yeast (10 grams)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt (10 to 15 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons refined sugar (30 grams)
  • 3 3/4 cups lukewarm water (850 grams)
  • parchment paper or cornmeal

Special Equipment

  • Lidded Dutch Oven
  • Or Baking Stone / Baking Steel


Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mixture

  1. Whisk and mix the ingredients in a 5- to 6-quart lidded container. Finish by picking up the container and vigorously shaking until the flours are completely blended.
  2. The ingredients must be very well mixed otherwise, the xanthan gum or psyllium will not be evenly distributed and your loaves will be inconsistent. 

  3. * Do not substitute with sweet white rice flour.

  4. ** Do not substitute with potato flour.

  5. If you’re measuring by U.S. cup-measures, be sure to pack the flour tightly into the cup, as if you were measuring brown sugar.

Gluten-Free Ciabatta Bread

  1. In a 5 to 6-quart bowl or stand mixer, whisk together the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar.

  2. Add the lukewarm water — lukewarm water (100ºF) will allow the dough to rise to the right point for storage in about 2 hours.

  3. Mix with the paddle attachment of mixer until mixture is very smooth, for about one minute. Alternatively, using a spoon or spatula, mix well by hand for one to two minutes. Kneading is not necessary. Transfer mixture to lidded (not airtight) food container.

  4. Cover with a lid that fits well to the container but can be cracked open so it’s not completely airtight. Plastic wrap is fine, too. Allow the mixture to rise at room temperature about 2 hours; then refrigerate it and use over the next 10 days. You can use a portion of the dough any time after the 2-hour rise. Fully refrigerated wet dough is less sticky and easier to work with than dough at room temperature, but whatever you do, do not punch down the dough — this is unnecessary with gluten-free bread baking.

  5. On baking day: pull off a 1-pound (grapefruit-size) piece of dough, then place it on a pizza peel prepared with plenty of cornmeal or on a large piece of parchment paper. Gently press the dough into an elongated oval of a 3/4-inch thickness measuring about 9-inches by 5-inches.  Use wet fingers to smooth the surface. Dust the top with rice flour and cover loosely with plastic wrap or an overturned bowl.  

  6. Allow it to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. The dough will not look as though it has risen much after the 30 minutes — this is normal.  Remove the plastic wrap and dust with more flour if most of it has come off or has been absorbed.

  7. While the dough is resting, preheat a baking stone or baking steel near the middle of your oven set at 450ºF for 30 minutes. Alternatively, preheat a lidded Dutch oven for 45 minutes at 450ºF. If you are using the stone or steel, place an empty metal broiler tray for holding water on the shelf below the stone or steel.

  8. Shimmy the loaf onto the preheated stone. Quickly and carefully pour 1 cup of hot water from the tap into the metal broiler tray and close the oven door to trap the steam. If you are using parchment paper on the steel or stone, remove it after 20 minutes. Bake loaf for a total of 35 minutes. Alternatively, use the piece of parchment paper as handles and carefully lower the dough-topped parchment paper into the preheated pot. Cover and place in the oven. No need for a steam bath with the dutch oven. If you are using the preheated vessel, remove the lid after 30 minutes, and bake for 5 minutes longer uncovered or until the crust is richly browned. 

  9. Allow bread to cool completely, about 2 hours, on a wire rack.  Gluten-free bread needs a full two hours of cooling to set completely.

  10. Store remaining dough in the refrigerator in your lidded or loosely plastic-wrapped container and use it over the next 10 days. If your container isn't vented, allow gasses to escape by leaving the cover open a crack for the first couple of days in the fridge. After that, it can be closed. 

gluten-free ciabatta bread

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    • You’re very welcome, Carol. I make this for family gatherings …often adding it to my appetizer or cheese trays. It’s great by itself but so much better with dips and spreads. My gluten-free daughter and granddaughter love and appreciate it. And the rest of the family have no idea they’re eating gluten-free bread!

    • Hi Melody. According to the folks at Gluten-Free Artisan Bread In Five Minutes A Day… “you can try proportionally increasing the other starches/flours in the flour mixture, but you may have to adjust the water to keep the consistency at about the level that you see in our video.” I have not personally tried to make this particular swap but it seems as though it is possible. There is a link to the video in this post that you may find helpful.

    • Absolutely! The main thing is that you make sure the loaf doesn’t touch the sides of the Dutch oven. That could cause excessive browning in those areas. But a 7 1/2-quart should certainly be large enough. Hope it works out well for you, Marilyn!

  • Absolutely! The main thing is that you make sure the loaf doesn’t touch the sides of the Dutch oven. That could cause excessive browning in those areas. But a 7 1/2-quart should certainly be large enough. Hope it works out well for you, Marilyn!

    • Yes, you can! Using a one-pound portion of the basic master recipe, dust the surface of the dough with rice flour then quickly shape into five balls of about three-ounces each. Allow them to rest, two-inches apart, on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet for 30 minutes. While they rest, place a baking stone in the oven and preheat to 350 for 30 minutes. Using kitchen shears, cut a cross into the top of each roll, keeping the shears perpendicular to the work surface as you cut. Brush the tops with melted butter or oil and place the baking sheet in the oven directly on top of the preheated stone. Bake for about 25 minutes until they are browned. Allow the rolls to cool completely on a rack before serving. And Teri, the more butter or oil you brush on before baking, the softer roll you’ll have.

  • I wonder if you might have an idea for how to replace sorghum flour. I made this recipe when it first came out, and had good fresh bread day after day — until I broke out in hives. I finally figured out it was the sorghum. People who have “leaky gut” — which is often a part of celiac disease, I believe — shouldn’t eat anything allergenic day after day. I wish I had taken this advice to heart. I forget about it over and over. Most recently, I enjoyed brownies made with almond flour on an almost-daily basis. The magnesium in the almond flavor really helped me out. But then I broke out in hives again. Almonds! \
    \At first it was just gluten, but now it’s corn, oats (even gluten-free oats), beef, eggs, bell peppers and almonds, and maybe walnuts as well. And sorghum, of course. And maybe lamb. Please, no!

    I have used millet flour, and it doesn’t have the taste that is so reminiscent of that wonderful wheat flavor that sorghum has, and I think it is a bit more nutritious than the starches and rice flour. And I just wonder if you have any advice for that, or any other substitution? I suppose I should probably try to develop a taste for any other flours that have significant protein in them, even though at this point I do not care for the taste of most of them. Maybe teff? (For a while, I could only find whole grain teff.) So far, I really don’t care for any of them, if I tell the truth.

    • Hi Ellen. So sorry that you have to deal with so many food allergy issues. Being gluten-free is tough enough on its own, right? I have not personally tried a sub for the sorghum flour but I have read that a good substitution would be an equal amount of brown rice flour. If you do try this, please let us know how it turns out!

  • 5 stars
    Simply the best. I keep a big batch ready and now always make two loaves at a time. Great for Bruschetta and today we used it for prosciutto, provolone and arugula sandwiches.

    • Thank you, Marcia! So glad you like it! We’re the same way in our household with all of the gluten free dough recipes. I like to have prepared breads and pizzas in the freezer for when our GF family members visit. Thanks so much for stopping by! And, by the way, that sandwich sounds amazing …now I’m hungry!!

  • This recipe looks amazing! I will be sure to make it soon. Thank you for the clear instructions and all of the tips you included throughout. Your blog is simply precious! Wishing you well!

  • 5 stars
    I’ve been making this bread for a couple months now. It is awesome and the recipe is versatile as well. I use it to make bread sticks, pizza, small loaves in a bread pan, I’ve made it in a Corning casserole pan on the parchment paper. I love this recipe and how I can mix at one point and come back to bake at another. Thank you so kindly!

    I’ve been getting my bulk flower at Baker’s Authority, because of the virus and I’m ‘at-risk’ and I am so grateful for their deliveries as well. Thanks @BakersAuthority50. I am grateful to have a supply of flour, it’s been so long since I had real bread! Blessings!

  • 5 stars
    Hi Rosemary,
    I just discovered your site when I was looking for a good gluten-free ciabatta bread recipe. Your entire site looks amazing!! Thank you so much for sharing these great recipes. Your eclectic taste buds tend to be very similar to mine except that you can create most of these delectables while I have a limited repertoire in my cooking styles. 😅 I look forward to trying your recipes.

  • 5 stars
    Thank you so much for posting this recipe! I have used it multiple times. I’ve made it as printed, I’ve switched things up a little and changed a couple ingredients at times and it always comes out beautifully. I liked the recipe so well, I bought the cookbook myself and it is a blessing. If I hadn’t wanted some ciabatta bread I could eat to match the bread my husband had, I would never have found what I was looking for, REAL GLUTEN-FREE BREAD!

    I volunteer bake at a summer camp and retreats for those with special dietary needs. I am gluten-free, vegan, corn-free. Others have various allergies to specific grains or whatever. Now, armed with this recipe and the book, I can substitute and provide real bread, delicious bread to virtually everyone that comes to the camp. Bless you!

    • Chrissie, thank you so much for taking the time to reach out in this way. I am sometimes not sure if I am including enough detail in my posts. Your words just gave me so much encouragement to continue as I have so far. You have literally made my day! ❤️❤️