Pane All’Olio Mano and Croissant

Have you ever wanted to make bread in the shape of human anatomy? The Italian panini, small rolls, and croissants seem to be the balloon animals of the bread world. Oh, you want a starfish bread? Panini. Round, braided, butterflied, curled knots—what can be made with pasta dura seems limitless. A quotation from The Village Baker which made me smile: “This recipe is for very dense dough used to to make rolls in everyday shapes as well as rolls that look like hands, fingers, and other more private parts of the human anatomy.” Well okay there.

We’ll keep it rated G and make some bread hands. Not to be confused with The Claw.Image

Pane All’Olio Mano

Olive Oil Bread

Adapted from The Village Baker


1 cup sourdough starter or 1 package dry yeast

½ cup warm water

½ cup hot water

½ tsp honey

1 tbsp olive oil

1 ½ tsp salt

3 cups all-purpose flour

Glaze: 1 egg white whisked into ¼ cup cold water or 1/3 cup olive oil

In ½ cup of hot water dissolve the honey, oil, and salt. When this mixture has cooled, combine with the yeast and add 2 cups of flour, mixing vigorously with a wooden spoon. Empty dough onto a worktable and add the remaining cup of flour, and knead for five minutes.

Let the dough rise for 1 hour, covered and in a warm spot.

Divide the dough into four pieces. Shape one piece into a mano (a little, rustic, four-fingered hand). There are many ways to shape a panini. For the mano, roll the dough into a long sheet and roll the ends up like a scroll.ImageImage

Turn two of the cis-sided horns up so they are parallel with their trans horns, connected by a flat piece of dough.


Flip over and marvel at the claw.Image

To make the croissant, instead of a double scroll and the twist, just stop at one scroll. When I saw this recipe had the word croissant in it, I thought it should have more butter. Yes. I was right. This is not the buttery, flaky croissant as we all know it and love it. But it is a really fun roll to play with.


Place the mano on a piece of lined parchment paper, and let rise for 50 minutes. The lines should still be visible. Glaze the mano in an olive oil and egg white mixture and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Confuse your bulldog into thinking that you do in fact now have a claw made of bread.Image

This olive oil-based recipe is a little softer than the pasta dura recipe. It is very plain by itself, but is nice to dip in olive oil and balsamic. Or you could spread a little soft cheese on each finger and nibble it down to the nubbins. I had way too much fun with this one–I couldn’t hardly stand to eat it.


As featured on, my favorite sourdough baking community.

7 thoughts on “Pane All’Olio Mano and Croissant

  1. Hahaha, I love this story and the photos, and also the 1989 stories – kids (:and adults) + dough = endless amusement! 🙂

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