Long before I got hooked on sourdough, I made yeast-based Italian slipper bread using Patricia Wells’s Trattoria. I used the recipe from the 1993 edition of her book without changes because it is so good.
Once I started into sourdough, I fell for the flavor and texture of long-ferment loaves, and Sourdough Cabin Bread, aka Auntie Julie’s Special Bread, became my go-to recipe. But one day I flipped passed the slipper bread recipe and was inspired to create a version that could use sourdough starter.
Wells describes Italian slipper bread, or ciabatta, as “ideal for those who want great flavor in a hurry.” This sourdough version takes a little more time to build than a yeast loaf but far less than long-ferment doughs that spend hours to days in the fridge. It’s definitely a high-hydration dough: expect it to be wet, sticky, and hard to shape. Your final loaf will look different every time, with lots of holes inside, and will cool and be ready to eat more quickly than denser loaves.
Learn to make Sourdough Ciabatta and bread variations