Sourdough or Ciabatta?



A question from NZ. A new bakery has just opened nearby and has bread they call sourdough. It’s not as sour as I remember from when I lived in California but it is nice and holey and has the right texture. Very good bread, as agreed by all the family. (Most NZ sourdough that I’ve tried is sour but dense and heavy as.)

I bought another loaf today and was told it’s ciabatta and that sourdough and ciabatta are the same thing.

Are they the same thing? I am thinking the best thing to do is ask the bakery if they use a starter or not – but perhaps that’s not the right question. Any advice you have would be very very welcome.

Thanks in advance, and I love your website. I can’t speak Yeast fluently, but my daughter does and I will pass the link on to her.


315 users have voted.


franc.castella.romeu 2012 June 24

It`s different thinks, sourdough is the kind of dough and ciabatta it`s the kind of bread, the "model". I do ciabatta with a sourdough and only change a few the taste it`s more sour than normal ciabatta but less than a whole grain bread.

shasta's picture
shasta 2012 July 5

Hi Mary,


Like mentioned above ciabatta is a kind of bread. You can make bread that is ciabatta from commercial yeast that is not sourdough.


If you make ciabatta from a sourdough starter then it would be considered both. Basicly, all you need to do is make a very wet dough with either commercial or natural leavening and allow it to set long enough to develop a bubbly texture. Then bake it without breaking down the bubbles.


HopesHope 2012 July 23

 Sourdough is wild yeast or natural yeast oppose to what you purchase in the market.  


Ciabatta bread is like buying whole wheat, whole grain, white, rye etc.   


You have the right to ask the baker anything with regards to what they are baking.    You can ask them if they only use sourdough starter, or do they add commerical yeast?  Do they use conditioners or other additives in their bread?  


The sourdough taste and texture can be different because you live in a different part of the world.


Hope that helps





Andrew Lale 2020 March 1

 'Sourdough is wild yeast or natural yeast oppose to what you purchase in the market.' There is no such thing as 'unnatural yeast'. All yeast is living organisms. Some of them come in little packets, and some as a slab of sourdough starter. Let's try to be scientific about this.  

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