Ciabatta vs. Sourdough – What’s The Difference?

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Bread comes in many different shapes, sizes, and flavors. It is amazing when we stop and think about how using the same raw materials can produce so many different loaves of bread. Most of us are used to seeing and consuming the same type of bran, whole-wheat or white bread every day.

But if we keep our minds open and look at our options, it is guaranteed to make our lives much more interesting. It will take a while if we start talking about every type of bread. But we can talk about two of these bread today; Sourdough and Ciabatta.

When nothing else works, you can rely on Sourdough to make anything. Despite being one of the most versatile bread (after white bread), it’s not easy to make. So, if you are a beginner bread maker, you might want to start with white bread. Ciabatta bread is also a versatile bread, and it has a lot of similarities with Sourdough.

If you search the internet for bread to replace Sourdough, you’ll come across Ciabatta. It is known for its use in making sandwiches. But If you want to take things to the next level and start making complex dishes using bread, it would be best to understand what these two types of bread are made of, their uses, and their differences.


Sourdough is made using a different type of yeast as a starter. While making white bread, we usually use dry yeast, which is not alive. But Sourdough uses a slow-fermented wild yeast; this is a live variety of yeast, and its effects are different on the dough than dry yeast.

But It is not easy to make the perfect starter for Sourdough; you will need a lot of patience for perfecting it. This is important because if you get one wrong move, all your efforts will go down the drain, and you’ll end up with a bad starter and a lot of disappointment. But if you get things right, you’ll get a thriving starter with which you can make plenty of loaves.

But it is not easy to pinpoint what Sourdough tastes like, primarily because no two loaves are the same. Even if you make the loaves from the same starter, you’ll end up with different loaves. But this is the fun part; no matter what you do, you’ll end up with a slightly different flavor and texture that you might’ve never tasted before.

Flour Type and Nutrition

It is important to choose the right type of flour if you are serious about making good Sourdough. But that’s a topic for another article. Sourdough is considered among the healthiest type of bread, even though it is made using white flour. White flour is processed flour that has its outer covering removed.

This outer covering, called the hull and husk, is removed from the wheat grain in hulling and husking. Removing these decreases the fiber content and increases the Glycemic index (the speed at which a particular food increases blood glucose level). But Sourdough is packed with probiotics, which makes the nutritional value of Sourdough incredibly good.

Probiotics are food for the healthy bacteria that live in our intestines that can supplement their growth. This is important because bread is usually considered bad for the gut.


Ciabatta is a new type of bread that was first made in 1980. But because it is Italian, most people assume that it is an old and traditional type of bread. Like Sourdough, Ciabatta is made with white flour, which is a recent invention.

The Italian bakers produced the Ciabatta to meet the demand for the world-famous French baguette. Baguette is long round bread, also made with white flour. So, Ciabatta worked wonders to replace the baguette, despite having differences like shape.

Ciabatta is made using Wheat flour (high gluten) like most other types of bread. But the main difference between Ciabatta and most other types of bread is that the dough for Ciabatta is wetter than the other dough. This is mainly because of the olive oil used during making dough.

Nutrition and Unique Features

Olive oil is a good source of unsaturated fats like omega 3s and omega 6s. These unsaturated fats are essential for many different reasons; they decrease joint inflammation, improve brain function, and lower blood pressure.

The olive oil adds a deep, distinct, and fatty flavor to the bread. But unlike Sourdough starter, Ciabatta dough is not fermented for long, which gives less time for the taste to develop. But this means that you won’t have to spend a lot of time making Ciabatta.

Some chefs also use biga to start making the bread, and it is similar to the starter used in making Sourdough. But doesn’t matter if you use biga or starter, because the result is an incredible loaf that can be used to make sandwiches, paninis, or toast. The olive oil used in making Ciabatta adds a mild flavor to the bread, but this flavor is very hard to pick because it’s mild, and most people don’t consume the bread for its flavor, but for its soft texture.

So What’s the Difference Between Ciabatta and Sourdough

Ciabatta and Sourdough are different in several areas. For starters, Ciabatta has a mild taste while Sourdough, as its name suggests, is sour. The texture of these two breeds differs slightly, with Ciabatta having a Crispy crust and a few air pockets, while Sourdough is chewier. The Ingredients used to make Ciabatta are: flour, water, dry yeast, salt, and olive oil, while the Ingredients used for making Sourdough are: Sourdough starter, salt (as per requirement), flour, and water.

Preparation time is another important factor that is different in these bread. Ciabatta is made in under two hours, while Sourdough might require twenty-four to forty-eight hours. The baking time is also different for the two, with Ciabatta requiring only 25 minutes and Sourdough requiring 45 – 50 minutes. Other differences include:

  • Uses
  • History
  • Place of origin