This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please visit the disclosures and privacy policy page.
Jun 1, 2013

Spaccatini | Little Cleft Rolls

According to The Italian Baker by Carol Fields, these Spaccatini rolls originate from Lugano, Italy. These rolls have  a little split down the middle that is formed by pressing down on the dough with the handle of a wooden spoon.

Spaccatini rolls require a little bit of advance planning but it's worth it. The dough begins with a biga, which is a starter dough made the day before. In fact, it can be made up to five days in advance. The use of a starter dough definitely adds more developed flavor to the bread and supposedly makes it stay fresh longer.

These rolls are crispy on the outside, and soft and airy on the inside. They make great dinner rolls and sandwich rolls. We used these for barbecued tri-tip sandwiches....

And barbecued hamburgers...

Doesn't this make you excited about summer barbecues? Are you hungry yet?




1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 C warm filtered water (about 95-105 degrees F)
3/4 C room temperature filtered water
330 g/2 1/3 C unbleached all purpose flour


3/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 C warm water
all of the biga
250 g/a little less than 2 C unbleached all purpose flour
1 tsp salt


To make the biga (one to four days prior to baking the rolls):

  1. Place the yeast in a medium bowl and add the warm water. Let it stand for about five minutes.
  2. Add the rest of the water and the flour and stir with a dough whisk or large spoon for about four minutes. 
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit room temperature overnight (up to 24 hours). If you are not using it after 24 hours, refrigerate it until you are ready to make the rolls. 

To make the rolls:

  1. Add the yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer and add the warm water. Let it sit for about 5 minutes. 
  2. Add the biga and squish it into the water with your fingers until it is in smaller pieces.
  3. Add the flour and salt and mix with a dough whisk or the paddle attachment of your mixer until the ingredients come together. 
  4. Switch to the dough hook and knead on low for about 2 minutes. Switch to medium speed and knead for another minute. 
  5. Place the dough into an oiled bowl or dough rising bucket, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rise until doubled, one to two hours.
  6. Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 16 equal pieces. 
  7. Form the pieces into balls and then press the floured handle of a wooden spoon (I used a chopstick) into the rolls to form the cleft. 
  8. Place the rolls, cleft side down, onto parchment lined and then floured baking sheets. 
  9. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  10. Once they have risen (about an hour), flip them over, and re-press back into the cleft (I had a little trouble finding the original cleft on some of them). 
  11. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, spraying the oven with water a few times during the first ten minutes.
  12. Cool the rolls on a wire rack. 
Leftover rolls can be wrapped individually and frozen. Thaw, wrapped, at room temperature. 

Recipe adapted from The Italian Baker: The Classic Tastes of the Italian Countryside.

Would you like to comment?

  1. Karen, is it wrong to want one of your tri-tip sandwiches for breakfast? They look do your spaccatini buns :)

    1. Not wrong at all. I actually had this one for breakfast!

  2. Your spaccatini are spectacular, Karen! You are such a great bread baker...I always look forward to seeing what you've come up with. A couple of these with some homemade jam would be so nice right now...(and a caffe latte;) Thank you for being a part of the group!

    1. Thanks so much Lora. Thanks for creating this group!

  3. I like how the line is made with a spoon! I love bigas. They seem to add a deeper flavor, more developed and less "yeasty" for lack of a better word. I love these adorable little rolls!

    1. Thanks Dionne, and I agree, such great developed, less yeasty flavor.

  4. Your rolls turned out beautifully! I haven't baked bread with a biga yet and am a bit intimidated but if this is the type of result I can hope for then I should jump in and give it a try.

    1. You should Holly! It's really amazing and not that hard. Let me know if you need any help.

  5. What great little rolls...these look great! I'd definitely like a BBQ now with one of these! Your photos are lovely too :-)

  6. Yes, it does make me excited about summer BBQ's and is getting me hungry. Wow your sandwiches look fabulous!!!

  7. As soon I read Spaccatini I became very curious. I've made then. They look really great.

  8. Oh Karen, these are awesome! I can´t tell you how much I adore that book, the pandoro recipe alone is worth the entire book. I´m glad you made these, since there are so many recipes I marked but never get to most of them. And breads with biga are such a simple way of getting good flavor and nice crusts! And then you go on and add those sandwich pics...!

    1. That's so cool Paula! I've made two of the recipes, but will be making more for sure.

  9. These look fabulous! They look beautiful and hearty enough to hold up to a burger or other grilled wonderfulness this summer! Love them :) Krista @ A Handful of Everything

  10. These look delicious, I love rolls with a nice crust on them. Great job for this month's theme.

  11. In step number 4, it doesn't say how long to knead the dough for.

    1. I need to hire you as my editor. It should be "minute." So, just one minute! Thanks!


I would love to hear from you! Be sure to leave your name so I can answer you personally.