About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.

« Broccoli and Ricotta Sfinciuni | Main | Pane Integrale - Whole Wheat Bread »

Mantovana-Olive Oil Bread

The closest that I have ever been to making bread in the past is by using a bread machine. I didn’t really like the consistency of the bread that it made, so I stopped using it. Why should I make inferior bread when we are so lucky here in St. Louis to have so many great Italian bakeries. I certainly didn’t want to waste my time trying to make bread that would be surpassed by the bread that they make. Well, I don’t have to worry about that anymore. This recipe makes the most delicious dense, crusty bread that is on a par with our bakeries.


Actually, Marconi Bakery, makes a very similar bread to this, and I know it well, since my husband makes a special trip down to pick up bread from them every Saturday to sell in our store. When he unloads his van, the bread is still warm, and it is a treat to smell the aroma wafting up from the warm loaves. Michael has admitted that the smell is so enticing that many Saturdays he doesn’t make it back to the store without cracking open a loaf and eating some on the way back. When my son was younger, he would have friends stay over on Saturday nights for sleepovers. There were many Sunday mornings that we would come downstairs and find two loaves of bread decimated by the boys late night cravings. You know it has to be good for adolescent boys to prefer bread and butter over chips or popcorn.


When I started this bread my fear was that I would mess up the recipe and I certainly didn’t have time for it not to work. I shouldn’t have feared because Marcella has made the process so easy, that if you just follow her direction closely, the bread will come out nicely. I really enjoyed the process although I have to admit, I almost beaned my son with the dough as I was picking it up by the end and forcefully banging it on the counter. Apparently I was a little aggressive and he almost got caught in my backswing! Not to worry though, we made it through injury free. When the bread came out of the oven, the first thing that I said was “I have made Marconi bread”. I was so happy. Finally a bread recipe that I know will be worth the time to make and my family will love. Actually, Michael said that this was better than Marconi bread. Now, in this family praise doesn’t come much higher than that.

Comments (2)

oh oh - you may find yourself making 100 loaves to stock in the store.

You did a brilliant job with this Beth. I had a fear of yeast for years that I am only just getting over. I shall have to give this one a try.

Beth responds-Thanks Jerry, if you try it just make sure that you are the only one in the room when you have to whack the bread on the counter!

Marcella Hazan:

It is so comforting to know that this turned out well for you. The recipe was a bone of contention with my former and unlamented editor Judith Jones.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 29, 2011 9:43 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Broccoli and Ricotta Sfinciuni.

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