With its lovely, crisp crust and soft, airy interior, ciabatta bread is a perfect accompaniment to soups or sandwich bread. It’s easy to make, requiring only water, flour, yeast, and a bit of salt. You might wonder, is ciabatta bread gluten-free with such a short ingredient list?
Ciabatta bread is not gluten-free because traditional recipes use wheat flour. You can bake ciabatta bread using gluten-free mixes or other grain flour such as sorghum and millet. Some large-scale bakeries also sell gluten-free ciabatta made from corn and rice flour.
Let’s take a closer look at how you can ensure your ciabatta bread is gluten-free and what alternative options you can take.
How To Determine if Your Ciabatta Bread Is Gluten-Free?
Buying premade ciabatta bread in stores is always a gamble when trying to watch out for gluten. That’s because bakeries automatically use wheat flour with their products. Sadly, that won’t work for those with Celiac disease.
Checking the ingredients list is the best way to determine if the ciabatta bread you’re about to buy is gluten-free. If the list only contains vague names such as “bread flour” without revealing its components, always assume it has wheat flour. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
You can also ask the bakery directly about the flour they use to make the bread. Or, if the ingredients list doesn’t go into enough detail, feel free to ask a bakery employee for clarification. They’ll be able to tell you if that particular ciabatta bread has wheat flour or not.
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Can You Buy Gluten-Free Ciabatta?
Thankfully, there are commercial brands that sell gluten-free ciabattas. One such company is Schar, which specializes in gluten-free bread and other related products. Schar’s gluten-free ciabatta costs about $5, and there are four rolls per pack.
Schar turns daily bread recipes into gluten-free versions by substituting wheat flour with corn and rice flour. Reviewers praise Schar’s ciabatta rolls for their great taste and comparable quality to ones made from wheat flour. Some buyers even mention that this bread feels and tastes just like the regular thing.
Some stores, especially health-focused ones, also bake their own gluten-free goods onsite. Be sure to visit your local health-foods store to see if they sell any gluten-free ciabatta. If they don’t, there’s a chance they sell premade gluten-free products from other manufacturers.
How Do You Make Your Own Gluten-Free Ciabatta Bread?
If you don’t want to pay for the slightly higher price tags of gluten-free ciabatta from stores, you can always bake your own. Doing so ensures you always have complete control over the ingredients. You’ll know it’s fresh and doesn’t have miscellaneous additives.
When making your gluten-free ciabatta bread, you can follow Schar’s lead and use a combination of corn starch, corn flour, and rice flour. Or you can use something else entirely depending on your preferences and requirements. Remember that each gluten-free flour has its own flavors and qualities, so take that into consideration when making your recipe.
For example, oat flour has a gentle flavor which shouldn’t affect the final product. Sorghum flour is another great option, thanks to its smoothness and delicate qualities. On the other hand, bean flour imparts an aftertaste to your baked goods.
Once you decide which flour you’ll use, everything should be smooth sailing from there. You can make your starter ahead of time with just water, your flour of choice, and yeast. Let the starter dough rise for a few hours before kneading and baking it.
Is It Better To Buy or Make Your Own Gluten-Free Ciabatta Bread?
Baking your own ciabatta bread or buying a premade one has its advantages, depending on your situation. Both are viable options, so it’s ultimately down to your preferences whether you should buy one or make it yourself.
If you buy premade gluten-free ciabatta bread, you pay for the convenience and guarantee that the product is what the packaging says. You don’t have to spend hours waiting for your dough to rise, nor do you have to spend time baking it.
On the other hand, baking the bread yourself ensures you know what is included in your bread. You can make ciabatta bread with just four ingredients. You’ll also be able to lower your costs, as your ingredients will last over several servings.
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While it can be distressing to find out that ciabatta bread is not gluten-free, it’s good to know that some brands do make a gluten-free version of it. It might be a bit more expensive than a regular ciabatta, but at least you know your product isn’t detrimental to your health.
And with various gluten-free flours available nowadays, you have plenty of options for making your ciabatta at home. Will you be making a delicately-flavored one, or will you keep a slight hint of nuttiness on the finished product? The choice is yours.