Roman Bread – Panis Quadratus

By DisinclinedOwl

Roman Bread - Panis Quadratus
roman bread - panis quadratus 3

I present the Panis Quadratus! A truly old recipe dating back to Ancient Rome. Seen often in frescoes and sculpture, and in specimens of carbonized loaves from Pompeii and Herculaneum.

I attended a webinar hosted by Excellence Through Classics and presented by Farrell Monaco on the history of bread in Ancient Rome, and it included a bread baking portion!

Recipe here:

Ingredients for dough:

800 gr (6 cups) of whole wheat or spelt flour;

500 gr (2+1/4 cups of water)*

10 gr (2 tsp) salt

Additional flour on hand for dusting

*Water amount will depend on the coarseness of the flour used. Coarser flour will absorb more water.


Kitchen twine or string Sharp knife Baking sheet or baking stone


Make the dough a day or two before baking

Once mixed into a low hydration ball of dough, let is rest.

Place the dough in a closed or air-tight container and leave it rest on the counter, not in the fridge.

Knead the dough twice a day for a few minutes. Keep it covered during resting periods.

On the day of baking, shape the loaf into a round boule and press to flatten a little. Tie kitchen twine around the circumference to make a “waist” that remains on through baking. Let rest for an hour or two. Just prior to baking, dust the top with flour and use a strand of twine to make four deep indentations. Bake at 350-400F for 45-60 minutes, until the dough reaches an internal temp of 190-200F.