Wikipedia Article About Ciabatta on Wikipedia
Ciabatta (pronounced in English chuh-BAH-tah), is an Italian white bread made with wheat flour and yeast. The loaf is somewhat elongated, broad and flattish: in Italian ciabatta means ‘slipper’. Since the late 1990s it has been popular across Europe and in the United States.
It is not clear where in Italy this kind of bread was first produced, and at least one type of ciabatta can be found in nearly every region of Italy. The ciabatta from the area encompassing Lake Como has a crisp crust, a somewhat soft, porous texture, and is light to the touch. The ciabatta that is found in Tuscany, Umbria, and Marche varies from bread that has a firm crust and dense crumb, to bread that has a crisper crust and more open texture. The more open-crumbed form, which is usual in the United States, is made from a very wet dough, often requiring machine-kneading, and a sourdough starter.
There are many variations of ciabatta. When made with whole wheat flour, and is known as ciabatta integrale. In Rome, it can be seasoned with olive oil, salt and marjoram. When milk is added to the dough, it becomes ciabatta latte.