Tigelle – Crescentine Modanesi

Tigelle ready for fillingPopularly called Tigelle, they are often referred to as Crescentine Modanesi.

The tigella is an ancient Italian flatbread with origins in the Province of Modena, in the Region of Emilia-Romagna that is known as the breadbasket of Italy.

Traditionally, tigelle are consumed hot, sliced as a sandwich or as a pocket, and filled with rustic hams, salamis, cheeses, pesto, vegetable oil, or vinegar.

Tigella clay baking tileOriginally, this bread was baked between disc shaped fireclay tiles called tigelle (“tigella” is a derivative of the Latin “tegula” meaning “tile”) in the fireplace or open fire. These durable decorative tiles were about 5″ in diameter and 1″ thick, and are still made and used, though not widely.

A small flattened ball of dough was placed between tiles, which were then stacked over an open fire. The discs would impart the high, even heat required for baking, and their weight would keep the breads thin and imprint them with their bas relief geometric pattern.

The most common historical pattern was that of a six point star, and stylized versions like the “fiore della vita” (flower of life). This pattern is replicated on the plates of the Enrico Pruni “Due Torri” Tigelle Irons.

Made in Bologna, the capital of Emilia-Romagna, our Due Torri tigelle irons are designed to be used on a gas stove.

Tigelle on plate and the tigelle iron

Tigelle Recipe (makes approximately 30 tigelle):


  • 1000 grams (2 lbs 3 oz) of unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups of warmed milk (plus an additional 3 to 6 tablespoons as needed)
  • 17 grams (0.6 oz) active dried yeast

Dissolve the yeast in 2 cups of warm milk. The milk should be warm to the touch.

In a large bowl, add the flour and salt. Add the olive oil and milk with yeast.

(I like to start the initial process in the bowl and finish the final kneading on a pastry board.)

Mix the dough by hand, or use my favorite dough whisk.

Add the additional tablespoons of milk as needed, until you get a somewhat smooth, workable dough.

I then turned the dough out onto a lightly floured pastry board and knead for another few minutes.

Place in a bowl, cover the dough and leave to rise for about 1 hour or until double in size.

Dough in a covered bowl for the rising

Dough proving in the Fante's Fruit Ripener Bowl

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface, and roll out about 1/4″ to 1/2″ thickness. Using a 3″ round cutter, cut out into circles and place on a baking sheet.

Discs of dough ready for the next rising

Cover to rise with a lint free cloth. Flour sack towels are ideal for this.

Tigelle dough under a towel for rising

Allow to rise for 15 minutes.

Tigelle dough discs after 15 minutes of rising

Using a pastry brush, lightly coat the inside of the tigelle maker.

Preheat the iron for 10 minutes on medium heat. Place the dough circles into the cavities and cook for several minutes on each side, rotating and checking occasionally until cooked.

Tigelle iron heating over a gas stove

These taste the best just freshly made and warm, sliced in half with your choice of filling. They can also be reheated in the oven. I do find the easiest method is to slice and warm in my toaster.

Freshly baked tigelle still in the iron

My choice of fillings are sliced tomatoes, mozzarella drizzled with olive oil, salt and fresh ground pepper with homemade pesto.

Tigella filled with tomatoes, mozzarella drizzled with olive oil, salt and fresh ground pepper with homemade pesto

Shop for Tigelle Irons

#614868 Due Torri Mini Tigelle Stovetop Baker

#613462 Due Torri 4-Tigelle Stovetop Baker

#613464 Due Torri Tigellone Stovetop Baker

More Tigelle/Crescentine Italian Videos:

Traditional fireplace baking of Crescentine with clay tigelle:

La ricetta delle vere Tigelle modenesi

La crescentina – Modena

Crescentine o Tigelle Modenesi

Le tigelle di nonna Irene

Tigelle bolognesi

Photo credit:
Tigella Clay Baking Tile CC-BY-3.0