Ciabatta bread is a popular item on modern menus offered at a variety of restaurants, from major fast food chains to traditional sit-down establishments. Meaning "carpet slipper" in Italian, ciabatta bread is an Italian white bread which was invented in the early 1980s. Popular in Europe since the 1990s, the ciabatta bread craze crossed the Atlantic around the turn of the century and has seen near universal acceptance by bread eaters.
Restaurant goers might also recognize it in the form of a panino, which is a toasted sandwich made using ciabatta bread. A piece of ciabatta bread will characteristically possess a soft, chewy inside with a thin, crispy crust.
Caloric Composition and Nutrition of Ciabatta Bread
When investigating the nutritional value of Ciabatta Bread, consider that it is a standard white bread and as such will not be touted as having high nutritional value. A full serving of ciabatta bread will contain approximately 260 calories and will generally offer up to 6 grams of fat, 10 grams of protein and 40 grams of carbohydrates.
It is important to note that 240 calories generally represents a piece of ciabatta bread and that at a restaurant a standard "serving" may suggest there are fewer calories in it, only because a slice is large enough to contain two servings.
Graphically speaking, a piece of ciabatta bread is composed of approximately 70 percent carbohydrate, 12 percent fat and 18 percent protein, so it is difficult to consider this food a low fat or fat-free option for any diet menu.
Main Ingredients of Ciabatta Bread
The main component of ciabatta bread is flour, and many recipes call for "bread flour," which is a rather gluten-heavy type of flour. Some restaurants do offer a whole wheat version of this bread, but much of the allure of this food comes from its unique texture and taste when created with standard white flour. This is why most major restaurant chains will only offer it made with standard white flour.
Most of the components of ciabatta bread fall under a typical ingredient list, including such items as sugar, salt and yeast, but recipes do generally call for olive oil as well, which is a highly nutritious type of oil that offers healthy monounsaturated fat that has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels.
Ciabatta Bread Is a Treat, Not a Diet Food
With rather specific ingredient restrictions imposed on bakers due to the requirements for the texture of this bread, ciabatta bread will very nearly always include the same standard components. Even if a restaurant menu fails to provide the nutritional values of its ciabatta bread, it is safe to assume that it is a more delicious type of bread than something which might be offered on the shelf of a health food store.
As with all carbohydrate-heavy foods, ciabatta bread should be eaten in moderation and used as part of a diet that includes regular exercise.