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Updated: Oct 24, 2021

This bread is from the Italian city of Mantova. It will surprise you because it is easy to make but very tasty, crunchy and soft. The dough folding part is interesting, you need to stretch and roll the dough to give each piece the characteristic shape.

​Difficulty level:

Cooking Time:

27 minutes

Oven Temperature:

210˚C first 15 minutes then 180˚C

​Cooking Method:

​Static Oven, No Water

Ingredients for 10 pieces (90gr each):

Using Sourdough Starter

  • 400g Strong bread flour (W370, P/L 0,5/0,6)

  • 100g Re-milled semolina

  • 2g Diastatic malt

  • 250g Water

  • 15g Salt

  • 100g Sourdough Starter

  • 15g Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Using Dried Yeast

  • 470g Strong bread flour (W370, P/L 0,5/0,6)

  • 110g Re-milled semolina

  • 2g Diastatic malt

  • 270g Water

  • 15g Salt

  • 10g Dried yeast

  • 15g Extra Virgin Olive Oil


  1. In the mixing bowl mix the yeast with the water and the malt until the yeast is almost dissolved.

  2. Add the sifted flours and start kneading it. If you use a stand mixer attach the dough hook and mix at speed 2 for about 12 minutes.

  3. Add the salt and the oil and continue kneading until the dough is smooth, elastic, and it will stay on the dough hook.

  4. Remove the dough from the mixer and leave it to rest on a wood surface, covered with a bowl for about 1 hour.

  5. Fold the dough 3 times and give it a cylindrical shape.

  6. Place the dough on the working surface and divide it into 10 pieces of about 90g. Round each piece to give a ball shape, this will make the next step easier. resting for about 10-15 minutes.

  7. To give the dough pieces the classic shape of the Mantovane, follow the instructions illustrated below:

    1. Roll out each dough ball with a rolling pin and fold it as shown (repeat this step 4 times:

    2. Roll and fold the dough in half, then roll it tightly and put it on the baking tray

  8. Cover the rolled doughs with cling film and put to in a warm dry place (ideally 26°C/28°C) until it has doubled the volume (between 12 and 16 hours using sourdough).

  9. Using a very sharpened blade make a cut on the top 1 or 2 cm deep.

  10. Preheat the oven to 210°C.

  11. Bake for 15 minutes at 210°C then reduce the heat to 180°C and bake for other 12 minutes or until the bread get a nice golden colour.

  12. Once baked let to cool down on a grill.

Enjoy the Mantovane with a "Pane & Salame" (Bread & Salami) party or with a BBQ with grilled Italian sausages. You will need to find some good Italian salami you cut to slice, not one already sliced, packed and full of garlic..., or a good Italian Sausage (in Italy we use the so called "Salamelle Mantovane) to grill. Cut a Mantovana in half fill it and enjoy with a nice glass of Lambrusco.

How to shape the Mantovane

Step1: divide the dough into pieces of the same weight (about 90gr each):

Step2: Repeat this step 4 times. Roll out each dough ball with a rolling pin and fold it as shown in the pictures.

The dough will get more strength after every repetition. To make this, and the next, phase easier you can use a Pasta Machine instead of the rolling pin. Just set the rollers at the maximum distance.

Step3: Roll the dough and fold it in half, then roll it tightly and put it on the baking tray.

The rolling phase is critical for the final result, as it will allow the bread a particular structure.

Step4: Once the dough has doubled its size make a cut across this will also allow the bread to cook better at its center..

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