Traditional Italian bread that is formed into an oval or rounded rectangular shape loaf. Baked with a hard crust, Ciabatta bread contains a soft-textured, open to dense crumb. The bread is typically identified by its shape, which is that of a slipper, and thus the meaning of the word "ciabatta" in Italian. There are numerous recipe variations for this bread, some of which alter the shape as well as the crust and crumb textures. It is excellent bread for dipping in olive oil, for stacking high with meats and cheeses, or for use as a grilling bread.
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