Need Help Shaping Ciabatta Slider Rolls


Hi gang! I was asked to make ciabatta slider rolls. I have a great ciabatta bread recipe, but the dough is so soft, I'm a bit stumped as to the right method for shaping small round buns for sliders. Any ideas! This is an urgent request! THANKS!

badge posted by: bethbloomfield on April 12, 2012 at 10:19 pm in Baking, yeast
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reply by: Mike Nolan on April 12, 2012 at 11:32 pm
Mike Nolan

You might try doing some stretch and folds on the dough before dividing it into smaller pieces. After it has been divided it might be too small for a stretch and fold to work.

reply by: GinaG on April 13, 2012 at 2:32 am

What's throwing me here is a round ciabatta roll. My question to you would be, "Why?" Why not go square and keep the classic ciabatta shape? You can also form square patties for them.

You don't mention whether you have experience working with super-hydrated dough, but I'm guessing you've probably made a ciabatta or two? In that case, you already know that stretch and fold is the technique used to build structure, but there's next to no actual forming involved. Is there a special reason you want round rolls?

Once you have a properly developed ciabatta dough, the less you handle it the better. There are a few other reasons I wouldn't do round rolls, but I'll wait to hear your input first, because it might not matter. But I think I can help more if I get that "Why?" answered!


reply by: bethbloomfield on April 13, 2012 at 5:53 am

Not sure why, other than that the little slider burgers are going to be round (these are for church). I thought about using a small biscuit cutter, but was concerned it would deflate the dough too much. They can live with square if need be. What do y'all think?

reply by: Mike Nolan on April 13, 2012 at 9:29 am
Mike Nolan

Are they absolutely committed to a ciabatta roll, or could you make them using the Moomies buns recipe?

1 ounce of dough makes a perfect slider-sized bun. Roll it into a tight ball, let it sit for a few minutes, then flatten it into a circle.

An interesting variant on a burger bun is to substitute in 1/3 cup of rye flour in the Moomies recipe.

reply by: GinaG on April 13, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Those rye buns do sound tasty.

On the matter of the ciabatta rolls...In that case, I still think it's a better idea to stick with the classic ciabatta shape which is going to be squarish. Use a bench scraper to divide and cut your portions.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so take a peek at these pics from one of my favorite blogs:

Scroll to the bottom of the page.

I hope this helps you,


reply by: Mike Nolan on April 13, 2012 at 12:44 pm
Mike Nolan

Before I started making all our own breads, we were big fans of Roman Meal burger buns.

I've tried to approximate the taste a few times, with little success. Adding a little rye and barley flour seems to come closest.

reply by: GinaG on April 13, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Roman meal isn't a brand I see much of in these parts, but they were big in the Bay Area years ago. My mother used to buy it often.

Roman Meal used to make wheat crackers that were pretty good. They came in a package much like cookies do, in a double rowed tray. I just looked them up and apparently they come in a box now.

I haven't had those crackers since I was a child, but if memory serves me, they were very wheaty. I wonder if you could whir a handful of the crackers in the FP and replace some of the flour with it.

reply by: iamsuzie2 on April 13, 2012 at 1:57 pm

when I was a teenager, I made the round rolls for the restaurant I worked at. We buttered our palms and squeezed off a ball of dough about 3inches, but you could make it smaller for sliders.

the squeeze off method is this: butter palms and put you whole hand over an end of the dough and close a circle with your thumb and next finger while you bring fingers together around dough and touching fingertips like making an OK sign with your hand. The ball of dough will come through the hole between your thumb and next finger. Then you simply take two sides and wrap them under to the bottom, do east and west sides then do north and south sides - lay on tray to rise. They do rise alot so start small for sliders. Hope this makes sense.

reply by: bethbloomfield on April 15, 2012 at 8:56 am

Y'all are an awesome community of support! Well, I went with cutting the ciabatta into small squares with my bench scraper. What a comedy it was! The dough is so wet and elastic, as soon as I cut it morphed back into the dough around it. Hilarious! They did look pretty rustic, but they tasted great!

reply by: Mike Nolan on April 15, 2012 at 11:20 am
Mike Nolan

Sounds like you might have been better off cutting them after they were baked.

I've seen a couple of recipes that recommend cutting breads into portions (eg, squares) about half way through baking them, never tried it. Sounds like a good way to get burned.

reply by: GinaG on April 15, 2012 at 12:33 pm


All's well that ends well and I'm sure everyone just loved them.

Ciabatta or any super-slack dough does take practice in handling and before you know it you'll be such a pro, you'll wonder how you ever struggled in the first place.

I'm kicking myself for not thinking to send this earlier, but maybe this will help for next time. A swift and gingerly hand is an asset as is a very generous coating of flour on your work surface.

You hardly stand alone, m'dear...I mostly make super-hydrated dough and my first attempts at forming? Straight out of an I Love Lucy episode! It was watching videos which really helped me. Lots of different people have different ways of forming, but the common thread among wet doughs is easy does it and be swift.

If you look in my recipe box you'll find a recipe for Rustic Rolls. It's a very wet dough, but the directions clearly explain how to manage them and I do use a bench scraper.

Here's video which may help you:

Aren't you glad you didn't use a biscuit cutter? *wink & smile*