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The crescente, a typical focaccia from Bologna

Crescente, The Typical Focaccia Of Bologna

Have you ever visited Bologna?
Do you know or have you ever tasted the local focaccia called crescente?


From Pellegrino Artusi (Recipe No. 194) to the Simili sisters, legendary Bolognese cooking teachers, no cookbook does not mention this focaccia. I leave it to the Italian gastronome to introduce it in his own words:

When I first heard the Bolognese mention a crescent, I thought they were talking about the moon. Instead they were discussing the schiacciata or focaccia, the ordinary fried dough cake that everybody recognizes and all know how to make. The only difference is that the Bolognese, to make theirs more tender and digestible, add a little lard when mixing the flour with cool water and salt.

The origins of the focaccia crescente


Crescente originated as a recycling recipe.
The word has the same root as the verb crescere (to rise). In the Bolognese dialect, carsent means “growing.” And the name comes from kneading the surplus of the dough.

That focaccia, enriched with ranzétt (small cubes of discarded prosciutto crudo with a somewhat rancid taste), was originally the bakers’ breakfast.

The crescente is a bakery and grocery product already known and appreciated in the nineteenth century when the baker’s shop was often also a grocer with a salumi corner. For that reason, today you can find crescente in bakeries and delicatessens that sell cured meats (the old grocery shops).

After World War II, the Bologna Bakery Association understood the potential of this product. They pushed for introducing top-quality meats in the filling (usually now a mix of pancetta and prosciutto crudo or prosciutto crudo alone) to give a second life to the Crescente focaccia.

Since 2013, the recipe has been registered at the local Chamber of Commerce to preserve memory, ingredients, and process.


Crescente, focaccia from Bologna


Food tips about crescente


That focaccia is low and has a dark crust. What makes it delicious is the flavor of the ground ham mixed with the dough.

The recipe is in every way that of a focaccia, except you don’t have to expect much leavening, especially during baking.

Should the ham be cubed? No, this is another recipe from the Bolognese school: it is a taller rising with cubes of bacon or lard to die for.

But precisely, it is a different recipe. The thing about crescente is that the prosciutto crudo, which you can mix with sweet bacon, has to be finely minced.

Crescente is a focaccia you can serve in the bread basket or for appetizers. Even stuffed.

Buona cucina, Monica

Keep in Touch
Typical bakery products from Bologna

Do you know the story of Streghe (witches) of Bologna?
They are thin, crispy, and savory crackers you can buy everywhere in town. But you can easily bake them at home!

Historical anecdote

The central raised pavement of Piazza Maggiore is of pink and white granite.
It was built in 1934 in front of the facade of San Petronio. If you see it from the above, in color and shape, it recalls the crescente focaccia. And ever since, the Bolognese people have called that step the Crescentone (big Crescente).


Crescentone, Piazzza Maggiore, Bologna
Crescentone, Piazza Maggiore, Bologna
Crescente, focaccia from Bologna
Crescente, focaccia from Bologna

Crescente, the focaccia from Bologna

The crescente is a Bolognese focaccia that originated in the 19th century as a recycling recipe and bakers' snack.
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine Bolognese
Keyword Focaccia Crescente, Italian focaccia
Prep Time 3 hours
Cook Time 35 minutes
Servings 8 servings


  • one 27x34cm rectangular mold


  • 50 ml of lukewarm milk
  • 25 g fresh yeast cube
  • 10 g of honey or 5 g of sugar
  • 500 g of 00 flour
  • 100 ml of room-temperature milk
  • 100 ml of room-temperature water even sparkling
  • 100 g of ground prosciutto crudo
  • 50 g of ground sweet bacon you can also use 100 g of it
  • 50 g of olive oil or 30 g of lard
  • 8 g of fine salt


  • Add honey and crumbled yeast to warm milk and stir to dissolve yeast.
  • Pour the flour into the bowl of the planetary mixer, hollow out a small crater in the center, and pour the yeast batter, milk, water, olive oil, and ham and bacon mixture inside.
  • Knead with the hook whisk for 10 minutes, then add the salt and knead for 5 minutes more.
  • Make a crosswise with a knife on the surface and let the dough rest covered for two hours or until doubled.
  • Roll out the dough with a rolling pin without kneading it to 1 cm high on a sheet of parchment paper that you will use to transfer the flatbread to the baking sheet. Brush the surface wiith a little of olive oil. Let it rest for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180 degrees (356F).
  • Bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until the surface is golden-brown.
  • Remove from oven and let cool before cutting.
  • Store out of the refrigerator for two days and in the freezer for one month.

Recipes from Bologna

Recipes from Bologna

Recipes from Bologna


  • Corinna
    Posted 21 March 2024 at 2:04 AM

    Dear Monica,
    There is probably no way of finding sweet bacon over here in Germany. How can I substitute it, do you have any idea?
    Many thanks

    • Post Author
      Posted 21 March 2024 at 10:11 AM

      Ciao Corinna, you could substitute with guanciale or not substitute by using only prosciutto crudo. When I don’t have bacon, I just use prosciutto. Buona cucina, Monica

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