Ciabatta integrale - (a wholemeal ciabatta with multi-grains)

Johnny's picture

Really I was just in search of a nice fat loaf of sourdough with big fat holes and a moist chewy crumb. After seeing the remarkable effects of adding some oats to bread, I thought I would experiment with this idea and also the addition of some cracked or kibbled multi-grains soaked in boiling water.

I was following Dan Lepard's advice that "the addition of cooked, soaked whole-grains add a moist heartiness to any bread".

I was wanting the bread to be lighter and milder so I opted for a 3:1 ratio of white bakers flour with wholemeal and soft fine 00 Italian flour combined with a high hydration rate of around 80%. I guess I was sort of thinking of a long ferment, low yeast sourdough ciabatta but not really sure if you could call it that or that a multi-grain, ciabatta existed.

After a little research I discovered it happens that the Italians do make whole-grain ciabatta. They call it ciabatta integrale (integrale means “with everything”)

The Dough

Ingredient Metric Imperial Baker's Percentage
Flour 500 grams 17.65 oz 100.00%
Water 390 grams 13.77 oz 78.00%
Salt 10 grams 0.35 oz 2.00%
Starter (100% hydration) 200 grams 7.06 oz 40.00%
Diastatic Malt 10* 5 grams 0.18 oz 1.00%
Mixed-Grains (rye, wheat, oatmeal & maize) 50 grams 1.77 oz 10.00%
Instant Dried Yeast 2 grams 0.07 oz 0.40%
Total Flour Weight:
500 grams

Percentages are relative to flour weight (flour equals 100%) and every other ingredient is a percentage of this. Flour from the starter is not counted. This recipe was originally in grams and has been automatically converted to other measures.


Diastatic Malt 10* (This is Malt blended with Bread Flour at 1g Malt to 10g flour. Diastatic Malt is normally added at 0.1% of flour weight)

I used a very small amount of instant dried yeast (1/4 tsp) to help boost the rise but if you wish you can leave this out.

 Flour Proportions               


White Bakers Flour300g
Wholemeal Flour100g
00 Fine Italian Flour100g


I started by refreshing a small amount of my starter with equal amounts of water and flour in two stages over 24 hours so that I ended up with 200g of active white starter at 100% hydration. 

For the multi-grain soaker I got out my large granite mortar & pestle and roughly ground up a small amount of rolled oats and some organic wheat grains which I added to some cracked rye and multi-grain mix of oats, rye and maize. You could use any multi-grain mix, however I wanted extra oats in the mix. 

Place 50g of this mixture in a small bowl and cover with 190g of boiling water. Let the multi-grain mix soak for 5-10 minutes while you get on with preparing the other ingredients.

Dissolve and mix the starter with the rest of the water (200g) and let this sit for a few minutes while you weigh up the flour. 

If you are using instant dried yeast, mix 1/4 tsp with 20g warm water and let sit for 5 minutes before mixing into the liquids. 

Weigh out your flours and mix these dry ingredients with the malt powder. 

Mix the soaker into the thick liquids and then combine in all the flour to form a wet dough. Keep mixing the dough for a minute or two by hand before letting it sit for 20 minutes.

Add salt to the dough and knead it into the dough by hand. 

Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover in a plastic bag to seal it, before putting it in the fridge overnight. 

In the morning take out the out the dough and fold it once and return it to the fridge. 

That evening, take out the dough and over the next 4-5 hours gently stretch and fold it once every hour on an oiled surface. Fold it once every hour and kept it from drying out in-between folds by keeping it inside the plastic bag.

The dough should by fairly smooth and blistered by the time it is ready for shaping. Test it by slashing and looking for bubbles. 

Shape into a rough loaf and place it in a cane Bannerton seam side up. 

Again cover with a plastic bag and let prove for another hour or so before putting the whole lot back in the fridge for baking in the morning. Be sure to cover the dough in the fridge so it does not dry out too much. 

After pulling out of the fridge allow the dough to warm up while your oven heats up. I bake using my oven at it’s maximum which is 250ºC. I use a baking stone, which I have allowed to heat up for 40 minutes before baking.

Just before putting the loaf into the oven, dust the top with some fine ground oatmeal (I painted on some white chia seeds) and slash the top of the loaf with a razor blade. 

To provide steam I place my bread in the oven at maximum temperature and then turn it off and throw a handful of ice-cubes into the bottom of the oven. I turn it off because my oven is fan-forced and the fan would blow all the steam away. I leave it steaming for 10 minutes and then turn the oven back on and set the temperature at 210°C and bake for a further 30 to 35 minutes longer. 

The result?  

It is not exactly what many would consider ciabatta given the shape, but it’s a remarkably light-textured whole-grain loaf with a full flavour.

This bread certainly has those nice big irregular holes and moist chewy texture I was after. If you are on the hunt for tips about opening the texture, Dan Lepard  has some great advice here. 

505 users have voted.


Maedi's picture
Maedi 2009 October 15

This is a great take on a Ciabatta, thanks so much for posting Johnny. I see that the 'Mixed-Grains' weren't automatically added into the total flour weight. Would you like these included into the percent?

Graham's picture
Graham 2009 October 15

Great to see oats used in a lighter style bread. I like the way the starter's activity is intensified over several short stages, then a long-cool method used to develop the bread's texture. Absolutely sensational looking loaf with multiple styles of cutting and sesame seeds. I'd dribble on olive oil and munch away. I don't see how this could have turned out any better.

Karniecoops's picture
Karniecoops 2009 October 16

........... here we come!  We have a long weekend in NZ next weekend, and I can already see what I'm doing!  Thanks Johnny!  Can't wait.  Nice slashing by the way.  I've been using a knife to slash my loafs, which hasn't been bad, but have just bought a lame, and used it first time this morning.  The blade is curved so it might take me a while to get the knack of it.  Yours look great! K.

Johnny's picture
Johnny 2009 October 16

 Thanks all for the nice comments :) ....just finished the last of these 2 loaves I made last weekend today and it is still reasonably soft and works great for a toasted sandwich. Doing another one tonight for baking in the morning. I love Saturdays when the bread is just cooled enough to cut.



rossnroller 2009 October 30

Hiya Johnny. Just thought you might be interested to know that I made your ciabatta integrale and turned out a loaf that was not a true ciabatta, but was probably the best tasting bread I have made yet. So thanks for the recipe - it's a keeper.

I suspect the reason mine turned out a little heavier in texture with a tighter crumb than yours appears to be was my wholemeal flour: I used whole grain organic wholemeal flour - I suspect you used the finer wholemeal? I'll try that next time, but I have a feeling I'll go back to the whole grain organic...the end result was so damned tasty!

My grain combo was whole-grain organic rye, oats, millet and barley.

And I didn't have any diastatic malt, so left that out. Here are a couple of pics...and thanks again.


Based on Johnny's ciabatta integrale

Karniecoops's picture
Karniecoops 2009 November 6

and I did accidentally cut it before I remembered to take a photo!

Like rossnroller's the crumb wasn't as open as I'd like so think I'd add more water next time ...

but I liked the grains in the integrale (used millet, rolled oats, rolled rye and bulghur wheat).  Couldn't find any malt so left it out.  Tasted wonderful plus nice and moist!  My parents and friends thank you for the recipe :o)



TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2009 November 5

TP reporting with my version of this great recipe...

Made this with 300g high protein flour, 100g wholemeal flour and 100g plain flour (italian soft flour no where in sight), zero baker's yeast, and, my soaker consisted of golden flaxseed, millet and oatbran. Cut the dough into a pair of slippers. Has soft open crumb but not the huge huge ones I'm after. I was thinking perhaps the cutting nature of my soaker prevented the huge bubbles forming, but, just look at Johnny's and Karnie's!!

Karniecoops's picture
Karniecoops 2009 November 6

That looks beautiful and moist TP - great looking crumb!  Golden flaxseed I haven't seen before and I like the idea of a seed in it.  I only used high grade and wholemeal flour, I couldn't get any of the Italian job either, didn't think to swap it with plain flour though.  I'm just going to have to make it again aren't I?!  Did you use malt? 


TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2009 November 6

Thanks, Karnie...yes, I used a teaspoon of malt which I found in the fridge...expired by 3 months...oops.

Johnny's picture
Johnny 2009 November 6

 Just home from work and TP's bread got me drooling...I agree with KC.. that crumb looks really yummy :)

TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2009 November 7

I was trying to get as little cleaning done as possible, so, I did the stretching and folding in a tight-ish bowl. I should have plopped it out and given it a gooood stretch. Make it again I will! Good to see my family enjoying it.

Johnny's picture
Johnny 2009 November 8

Made some more Ciabatta Integrale this weekend. I made 2 loaves with exactly the same hydration but one had 50g of light rye which replaced 50g of the wholemeal. I think it was this one that gave me lots of trouble as it was much stickier and like trying to fold batter. I could not believe the difference in the 2 doughs when the only difference was 50g of light rye.

I used a couch this time for the more traditional shape and they both turned out with a nice texture and good holes. The really wet one was hell getting into the oven and ended up with the end hanging off the stone and squashed to the oven door! Needless to say it did not hold it's shape very well. However the other loaf had some good spring and a nice chewy crust


I have run out of batteries in my camera so I had to use the phone camera...


Johnny's picture
Johnny 2009 November 8

 Yeah, the crumb structure was pretty much the same TP but the loaf collapsed a lot more and was a lot flatter. Just that 10% rye made a big difference to the water absorption and stickiness factor, which was surprising given it was a light rye flour. So while not as high a rise the taste was better with the added rye.

Pic of the crumb of 10% rye ciabatta with multi-grains - again a la phone camera

Melian 2010 May 16

I did this bread on monday, and because we are just two people we are still eating it and is still soft! I am so pleased to have done this recipe, I absolutely hate the idea of wasting bread, and this recipe just solve the problem! I will do it quite often!

Dumbledough 2014 April 25

Soft, squishy texture, yet able to hold ham, cheese, and mustard between two slices. Fantastic! And leaves such a filling flavor in the mouth!

Again I forgot to score it! Oops!

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