Pane di Genzano #BreadBakers

Pane Di Genzano

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“I want my bread quickly!”, said I to the Kandur, the bread baker of our little town. Unfazed by my apparent impatience, he kept kneading his dough as though in a trance. When he was done kneading, he covered the dough with a moist cloth and addressed the trouble maker (aka me) with a lot of patience. “Making good bread takes time. You have to feel the “nabz” (pulse) of the dough and it will tell you when it is ready. There is no rushing the process because the bread always has a mind and life of its own.”

He finally gave me my bread and I paid him in cash and giggles and shaking of my head. Because all those years ago, when I was a teen, I never thought I would be repeating his words to the world and telling everyone that making good bread takes time.

Pane di Genzano is one bread that requires a lot of time.  This technically can not be called Pane di Genzano because it was not made in Genzano. This bread is IGP  certified which means only the breads made in Genzano  can be called that. But I went ahead and still called it Pane di Genzano because this bread is special. You do have to plan to make it if you don’t make bread every day. You also need a sourdough starter and a biga and lot of time to ferment the dough on the day of baking.

The bread is made in both a 4 kilo round and a long oblong loaf called a Filone, but I didn’t want all that bread at home. So I ended up making two boules.

But the bread rewards you with a webby network of crumb, and the most beautiful crust. Once you make this bread at home, you will never buy a loaf of bread from anywhere. Ok maybe you will buy it in Genzano when you visit Italy where it is a country bread.

This was my selection for the #Breadbakers theme ” Breads from Italy” That I am hosting this month.

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com
Pane Di Genzano

Let’s take you on a Breadventure across Italy with out #Breadbakers who have made breads from all regions in Italy.


Here’s a recipe for the bread that I minimally adapted from Daniel Leader’s Bread Alone.

Pane Di Genzano
5 from 1 vote

Pane Di Genzano

Pane di Genzano is baked dark. More dark than you would normally bake your darkest bread. It also doesn't go stale fast, so that makes it a great bread to use everyday. 

Course bread
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2 Boules


Biga Naturale

  • 50 gms Sourdough starter
  • 140 gms water ( warm - 105*F to 110*F)
  • 200 gms All purpose flour

Main Dough

  • 390 gms Biga Naturale
  • 400 gms water
  • 4 gms active dry yeast
  • 500 gms bread flour
  • 20 gms salt


  1. Feed your sourdough starter a few hours before making the biga. 

Biga Naturale

  1. Mix all ingredients together, cover and set it aside for 8 to 12 hours

Make the bread

  1. Put the biga naturale in the bowl of the mixer and then add the water. Using the paddle attachment, Stir to break up the biga.

  2. Add in the yeast, mix and then add the flour and salt.

  3. Mix until a wet dough forms. Switch to a dough hook, and knead on medium speed for about 7 to 10 minutes. The dough is ready when it forms a ball on the hook  and leaves the sides of the bowl while it is mixing. When you stop the mixing, the dough will fall back into the bowl.

  4. When the dough passes the window pane test, stop kneading and put the dough in a well oiled bowl, cover and let it ferment for about 1- 2 hours, until doubled.

  5. Punch and degas the dough by stretching and folding the outer sides into the center, turning around and repeating it. Then, divide it into 2 equal parts and let it rest for another 1- 2 hours or until doubled.

  6. Sprinkle a good amount of bran on the inner lining of two bannetons. Take the dough out of the bowl without tearing it and then degas it and form a tight ball. Place the dough with the seam up in the banneton.
Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 ½ – 2 hrs.

  7. Preheat the oven to 500*F a good 45 minutes before you are baking the bread.

  8. When ready to bake, tip the banneton over on a baking sheet and bake at 500*F for 20 minutes, then lower the temp to 450 and bake for another 10 to 20 minutes. Allow to cool for 3 hours before slicing.

Recipe Notes

Allow the bread to cool completely before slicing. It will take at least 3 hours. The cooling results in the nice crust that crackles. 

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Comments 28

  1. Hi Ansh, I want to sincerely thank you for posting this recipe. My fiancé is from Genzano and I found your recipe post as he was lamenting how he can’t get this bread in the UK (or most of Italy/or even Rome).
    I have only ever made one (failed) sourdough before,so this was a mission to start from scratch with a new sourdough starter.
    It is *amazing* – first attempt was good, my second attempt was even better, (I think as starter more developed and I watched prove temps more closely). My fiancé has sent photos back home – shame we can’t share in person yet.
    His grandmother (aged 97) shared a story of how her mother used to make it at home but take the final loaf to the local baker in Genzano to bake as they didn’t have their own oven!
    Making this might now be a new ritual in Cambridgeshire, uk! My fiancé, Mario passed on his sincere thanks!

  2. Wow, what a gorgeous bread that is Anshie. Such beautiful crumb and crispy crust — absolutely amazing. Thank you for hosting this month with this lovely theme. Loved all the awesome Italian breads that the bread bakers have baked.

  3. 5 stars
    loved the crumb there Ansh ! and thanks so much for the choice of theme ! lovely visiting all your posts too 🙂 great blog (and those potato clover leaf rolls from last month are beckoning to me :p )

  4. Wow what beautiful loaf of bread…I love the deep color of it and the crumb is just perfect. Awesome photos as well…thanks for stopping by…
    Have a wonderful week ahead Ansh 🙂

  5. First let me thank you for this wonderful theme. Got to know so may italian breads. And this bread looks absolutley awesome. I want to bake sourdough breads too but do not know how to start a starter.For now let me drool at the pics

  6. Wow this bread looks delicious Ansh!! Where do you get or how do you make sourdough starter? I can’t wait to try making this! 🙂

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  7. Even though I’m gluten-free, I can appreciate (with my eyes) a beautifully and thoughtfully made bread. I love that you’re in a bread making group. Nice job!

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  8. You’ve done it again– made a beautiful bread and taught me loads along the way. Your photography really adds to your post and is worthy of professional publication.
    Thanks for hosting this month!

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  9. Love the crust and the crumb. Its so true that a dough for bread has its own mind and life. Its either a success or a failure if we don’t follow the steps. Anshie thanks for such a wonderful theme. We got introduced to so many different kinds of breads from Italy.

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  10. Beautiful photos. I laughed when I saw your title, because I definitely got chewed out by a few Italian bread police for using it once. Now you have me tempted to get Leader’s book, probably the only iconic bread book I don’t own. Dang girl, you nailed this one!

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      LOL! They are pretty good at making everything a DOC and then chewing everyone up who even misses a slight step!! But We will go on and make our breads and enjoy them 😀 Thanks Karen!!

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  11. Wow Ansh you definitely know your bread. These boules came out beautifully and the crumb is just perfect. Thank you so much for hosting such a fun theme this month!

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  12. Hello Ansh, I loved the write up in the beginning of the post (where Kandur feels the nabz of the dough and knows when it’s ready). Your bread is awesome. So perfect and beautiful. Love your photography. 🙂

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