Making Pan de Ramerino

These little Tuscan breads are ingenious. Neither completely savory nor sweet they’re scattered with raisins, perfumed with rosemary and olive oil and lightly painted with an apricot glaze. They’re a variation on the hot cross bun, and as such appear around Easter in Florence. Traditionally this bread was made in loaves on Holy Thursday for the observance of the Last Supper. The loaves would be baked, taken to church for a blessing then eaten after mass. Nowadays I’m told this bread is mostly baked up in buns, and no longer just for Holy Thursday. You’ll want to eat yours all year round as well. Begin by assembling your ingredients.

Pour the olive oil into a medium saucepan and heat it over medium-high heat until it shimmers in the pan. Add the rosemary and sauté about 30 seconds.

Remove the rosemary from the (now flavored) oil and add the raisins to the pan. Sauté those another 30 seconds.

They’ll be pretty and plump.

However they’ll shrink and harden again as they cool. Strain them, reserving the oil. Let it all cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle. Stir everything together on low.

Next whisk all the wet ingredients (including the cooled oil) together in a bowl with a fork.

Pour the wet into the dry and stir them until the dry ingredients are moistened. Oh, nice thumb, moron! Jeez…the production values around this joint. Crikey!

Anyway. Switch to the dough hook and knead about 5 minutes until the dough is elastic yet still sticky.

Add the raisins and knead them in for about 2 minutes and…oh good Lord. Hey! You with the thumb! Get a job!

Excuse me, where was I? Oh yes. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and roll it around a bit.

Let the dough rise 1 – 1 1/2 hours until it’s about doubled in size.

Cut the dough into 12 pieces about 2.75 ounces each and roll them into balls according to the bun rolling post right here.

Place them on a parchment-lined sheet pan and paint them with more olive oil.

Let the buns rise another 30-45 minutes until they’re about doubled in size again and the dough still springs back a bit when you poke it. Meanwhile preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. When they’ve finished proofing score them in a tic-tac-toe pattern. I do one direction first…

…then the other. This uglies them up a bit, but who am I to argue with tradition? A sharp serrated knife works best for me.

Paint them with egg wash…

…and bake 20-25 minutes until they’re well browned. You can go darker than this if you like.

While they’re still warm paint them with either apricot glaze or heavy syrup.

You’re gonna love these, I can tell already.

26 thoughts on “Making Pan de Ramerino”

  1. Joe, these sound delightful. How do you get your dough in such precise weight measurements? I presume you weigh it, but what happens if you cut off a piece that is, say, 2.4 ounces instead of 2.75? Do you just roll in a little extra? I’ve had lousy luck trying to add bits of dough to a piece I’ve already lopped off of the main hunk.

    1. Hello Chelsea!

      The nice thing about yeast doughs is that you can just stick odd bits together and no one ever notices. I rarely cut the pieces perfectly, so I have to trim/stick on bits all the time. I just roll them right together!

      Let me know if you try these! Cheers,

      – Joe

      1. Hi Joe,
        Reporting back to say that I made these this past weekend, adding some orange zest and subbing an orange glaze for the apricot to appease a bloggers’ baking challenge I was doing this month. They were quite tasty – we liked the herbal notes a lot. Thanks for the tasty introduction!

    1. Thanks, Katherine! Nothing hard about ’em. Start to finish in about 3 1/2 hours!

      Let me know you try them!

      – Joe

  2. Hi Joe,

    Those look really good and are seem so easy to make. But we don’t have that herb over here. Any substituties?


    1. Hi Melody!

      Rosemary is uniquely strong, so the oil infusion step probably isn’t necessary with milder herbs. You could use just about anything you like: a few chives or even some roasted garlic would be nice. Sage or thyme would also work well. A chopped tablespoon of any of any of them would probably do the trick!

      Let me know what you think!

      – Joe

      1. Hi Joe,
        Ohhhh, great! We have looks of thyme and herbs like that. So ill try it. Thanks


  3. These look wonderful!

    If, for some reason, one wanted to make a loaf or loaves (using a standard loaf pan) how would the rising time, baking time and oven temperature change?
    Is there any rule of thumb for converting times and temperatures in roll recipes for loaves, or loaf recipes for rolls?


    1. Hey Elizabeth!

      You’ll need to experiment with the dough amounts, since this will probably be too much dough for a standard loaf pan. You could split it into two smaller free-form boule-tyle loaves is my thinking. Rising and proofing times will be the same. In general as a mass gets bigger you want to lower temperature and increase time to allow heat to penetrate all the way through the loaf. However I don’t think I’d go too much cooler in this case: maybe 375 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for about half an hour. Have fun!

      – Joe

  4. Hey Joe,

    My dough is rising as we speak (or as I type…) While sauteeing the rosemary, my olive oil got a bit dark, and when I tasted it, the oil seemed a touch bitter. It was late enough in the day, and I was tired enough, that I didn’t feel like trying again. But my question to you is, did I burn the oil? Or would that have happened because my rosemary was getting a bit old and on the dried out side? Here’s hoping the bitter flavor doesn’t come out too much!


    1. Hi Ashley!

      A little bitterness in the oil shouldn’t make a difference in the final buns. Sounds to me like the oil got a little hot and smoky. Olive oil has a low smoke (burn) point relative to other oils. But you should be good. let me know what you think!

      – Joe

      1. They turned out great, Joe. Thanks! My sister’s family, whom I was serving them to, loved them. I made them without the raisins and apricot glaze this time around, but I think another round, with those sweeter touches, is due!

  5. Just made these and they are delicious. I would like to serve them for my Easter brunch, I have a large crowd coming over, would I be able to double the recipe? and second question could I shape them and then put the dough balls in the fridge overnight to bake them the next morning, I would love to have these “fresh baked” for my guests.

    1. Hey Kathy!

      Yes to both. Herbs can get strong when you double them of course. Maybe add 5 sprigs of rosemary to the oil at the beginning. Unless that is you’d like a little stringer rosemary flavor. Refrigerate them after they’re shaped into buns, then give them an extra half hour or so of proofing time after you take them out.

      Have a great brunch!

      – Joe

  6. You!
    Yes you!
    How dare you let me taste such an elegant bread.. aargh..
    I have to say many thanks for your recipe. I used to make only hot cross buns. This is way better in my opinion. Light and airy and boy.. pure bliss!
    I did make some change though:
    -I only used 3 tsp of instant yeast
    -Went overboard and use 1 cup, perhaps more of the raisins. I happen to have some beautiful golden raisin from Medinah which taste so heavenly.
    -I made the heavy syrup with some rosemary.

    Thanks again 🙂

    1. You want a piece of me???

      Hehe…it a lll sounds good to me, Amy! Glad these worked out so well for you!

      – Joe

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