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Apr 23, 2024

Italian Pane di Genzano

Pane di Genzano is a wonderful soft country bread, ideal for a picnic in the Italian countryside with cheese and salami. 

Italian Pane di Genzano slices in a basket.

This Pane di Genzano comes with a crunchy and thick crust which belies its super soft interior. 

The bread comes from a town in the province of Rome, located about 20 miles south of the city of Rome, in the Lazio region of Italy. It is the only bread in Italy that has been given the IGP, Indicazione Geografica Protetta. This certification, usually reserved for cheese or wine, means that no bread may be called Pane di Genzano unless it has been produced within the geographic region. 

Italian Pane di Genzano with pastry flour cut open to show the crumb.

Oh man! I could be in BIG trouble if the bread police show up. 

In Genzano, the dough for the "real" Pane di Genzano was traditionally prepared at home, using a lievito natural (starter) and grano tenero (tender wheat), and then taken to a public wood fired brick oven to be baked. In addition, the crust was coated with wheat bran prior to baking. 

The original loaves were very large, up to eight pounds, resulting in a very dark crust due to the long baking time. My loaves are only about one and a half pounds, and were baked in my home oven. I used a mixture of all purpose and pastry flour to simulate the Italian type 0 or 00 flour that is usually used to make this bread. 

Every September since 1989, the town has a festival to celebrate its bread tradition. 

Italian Pane di Genzano Loaf coated in bran.

The dough is very wet and sticky, and almost impossible to shape. I placed the "shaped" dough in a metal pie tin to keep it all in one place as it rose (more like spread). 

Slashing the dough is not necessary, and would probably deflate it. Fortunately, the bread rises up in the middle the minute you put it on the baking stone in the oven, creating an airy, soft loaf. 

The bread stays fresh for days because of the high percentage of water in the dough. I made two loaves, one with white pastry flour, Pane Casareccio di Genzano, and one with whole wheat pastry flour, Pane Lariano di Genzano. 

Both versions are in my bread baking rotation. Please don't tell the bread police... I use yeast instead of the lievito natural to make these loaves, but I let them rise in a cool place to proof very slowly and develop flavor. 

The bread is amazingly tasty, and the bran adds such a wonderful aroma and a nutty flavor. 

Italian Pane di Genzano slices in a basket.

This bread is fabulous for sandwiches and toast and stays fresh for quite a while. 

When you toast it and add butter, the melty butter seeps through the airy crumb. This also works if you use this bread for patty melts or grilled cheese. 

Who doesn't love oozy and crispy cheese on the outside of grilled cheese sandwiches? Amirite? 


Flours: You will need all purpose flour plus some pastry flour, either whole wheat pastry or white pastry flour. I've found whole wheat pastry flour at the grocery store in the Bob's Red Mill section. For the white pastry flour, I've ordered it from King Arthur Baking. You could also experiment with cake flour. 

You will also need wheat bran for coating the loaves before baking. 

Additional Ingredients: Salt, yeast, and water. 


First, mix all of the bread ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer, beginning with the paddle attachment and then switching to a dough hook. 

Next, let the dough rise until tripled, about three to five hours depending on your room temperature. In the meantime, sprinkle a pie plate with wheat bran. 

After that, pour the dough out onto your work surface and, using a dough scraper, gather it up into a ball as best you can and place it into the pie pan to rise, about two hours. 

Finally, bake the loaf in a 425 F degree oven for about 45 minutes. 

Let the loaf cool completely before slicing. 

Italian Pane di Genzano cut open to show the crumb.

Tips for Success:

If you have one, use a baking stone along with some kind of cover such as a large stainless steel mixing bowl, foil roasting pan, or cloche for capturing steam to help the bread rise and develop a crust. 

You could also set up your oven for steam, with a broiler pan under the baking sheet or pizza stone. 

Another option is to lightly spray the top of the dough with water right before placing it in the hot oven. 

Alphabet Challenge! 

This week, we are all making dishes starting with the letter I: 

Italian Pane di Genzano slices in a basket.

Italian Pane di Genzano

Italian Pane di Genzano
Yield: 30 slices
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 1 HourCook time: 45 MinInactive time: 7 HourTotal time: 8 H & 45 M
Pane di Genzano is a wonderful soft country bread, ideal for a picnic with cheese and salami.


  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 2/3 cups minus 1 Tablespoon / 385 grams water
  • 14 ounces / 400 grams unbleached all purpose flour
  • 3.5 ounces / 100 grams white or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 teaspoons table salt
  • 1/2 cup / 25 grams wheat bran


  1. Add all of the ingredients except the bran to the bowl of a stand mixer, and mix with the paddle for about two minutes.
  2. Switch to the dough hook, and knead for three minutes at low speed, and three minutes and medium speed.
  3. Pour the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place it in a cool place to rise until tripled, about 3 to 5 hours.
  4. Lightly oil the bottom of a pie pan and sprinkle the bottom with some of the bran.
  5. Sprinkle a work surface with flour, and turn the dough out onto it. With floured hands and a dough scraper, shape the dough into a round, as best you can. Place the round, seam side down, into the pie pan. Sprinkle the top of the dough with the rest of the bran and gently pat it to make sure it sticks.
  6. Cover the loaf with oiled plastic wrap or a towel and let rise until doubled, about 2 hours. The dough will be very jiggly.
  7. Preheat the oven with a baking stone (if you have one) to 450 degrees F. with an optional metal bowl, cloche, or foil baking pan on the stone (you don't need the cover, but it helps a lot with oven spring).
  8. Place the pie pan on the stone and invert the bowl, cloche, or foil baking pan over the loaf.
  9. Close the oven and turn it down to 425 degrees F. Bake for 30 minutes, remove the cover, and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until the bread reaches an internal temperature of 200 to 210 degrees F.
  10. Cool on a wire rack.

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)

0 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

0 g

Carbs (grams)

19 g

Fiber (grams)

3 g

Net carbs

15 g

Sugar (grams)

0 g

Protein (grams)

5 g

Cholesterol (grams)

0 mg
Pane di Genzano
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Recipe adapted from The Italian Baker: The Classic Tastes of the Italian Countryside by the late Carol Field. Published in 2011. 

This post was first published March, 2015 and updated April, 2024. 

Would you like to comment?

  1. I love pane di Genzano living in Rome. You really made great breads.

  2. Beautiful! I enjoyed the history and background you shared about this loaf too. Wouldn't it be fabulous to visit Italy some day for a festival celebrating bread? Heaven!

    1. Totally wonderful. The town must smell heavenly that day!

  3. Look at that incredible crumb! Lovely baking with you this month for #TwelveLoaves!

  4. Your pane di Genzano is quite fantastico! I think the police in Italy would enjoy a loaf of this non-IGP bread after they confiscated it from you;) Pane perfection, as always!!

  5. Bravo, Karen, for all the fascinating food history research you do...And thank you for figuring out a delicious version of Pane di Genzano which is less than 8 pounds!

  6. Wow ... this looks amazing! What I wouldn't give to have a slice or two with some cheese and salami right now!

  7. No way the bread police would be upset with such lovey looking loaves. The crust and texture of these look wonderful. Don't you love when you find bread you love enough to add to the roatation?
    Renee - Kudos Kitchen

  8. The bread police have nothing on you Karen! This bread is just gorgeous! I love the shape that resulted from baking it in a pie tin! I would love a slice or two of this with some cheese and salami ...and a glass of wine. Perfection! : )

  9. What a beautiful loaf of bread! I'm so scared of baking bread but you make it looks so easy!

  10. I promise I will not tell the bread police (I often have to duck them myself). Wouldn't it be amazing to go to that festival!? And I love the tradition of taking the loaves to the wood-fired oven. I think I was born in the wrong time and/or country....

  11. Your crust is perfect as is the crumb. But the crust, thick, but not unchewable, is what gives this bread so much flavor. I don't know where you got your recipe but I was introduced to this bread by reading of it in Daniel Leader's "Local Breads". His story of visiting the bakers of Genzano was so intriguing that my wife and I visited the town on a trip to Italy. We became good friends with the owner of the "Forno a Legna Da Sergio" - Sergio, himself, of course. His son took us on a tour of the bakery where we watched him place the fully proofed loaves into the wood fired oven. Most interesting was the fact that these were not the wet, difficult to handle, loaves that were produced by Leader's recipe, but well supported by their air hardened crust: probably 8 inches in height by a foot and a half in length. They shook like jelly when on the peel while being placed in the oven. I got hold of the generic recipe on an Italian website and Leader's recipe is just plain wrong. His baker's percentage of water is 80 percent and yours looks to be about 77. The recipe I saw cut that by 10 percent. Next time I bake this bread I am going to try that as I have always had to support the bread mechanically just to get it in the oven. Good baking, (and you must use a liquid levain to get the real McCoy and the authentic flavor!!!)

  12. Can I use a brotform for the second rise and shape and invert it into a preheated dutch oven?

    1. I would not, although I haven't tried it. The dough is just too soft.

  13. Not to worry....if they show up I will bake a Pane di Genzano with a file in it and visit you.

  14. I have never heard of this bread, but I would eat it in a heartbeat. Thanks for always inspiring us, Bread Goddess!

  15. A crunchy, thick crust with a soft center...Karen, you've done it again...BREAD PERFECTION!!!

  16. Don't know how many times I said beautiful, awesome and wow to your bakes Karen. Truly amazing, the bread looks so inviting. And thank you so much for introducing me to another authentic bread recipe with the history behind it.

    1. You are welcome! Same to you Mayuri. Your breads are amazing.

  17. Seriously, you need to teach bread classes, you'd have waitlists! This would be a perfect loaf to have my Italian Beef on, beautiful crust and crumb!


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