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Tortano bretzel flip

Bretzel Bakery's tortano crown recipe

This recipe from William Despard of Bretzel Bakery accompanies the feature about him in the upcoming November 2020 issue of FOOD&WINE Magazine.


The November issue of FOOD&WINE Magazine will be available for free with The Business Post newspaper this Sunday, November 1st. Don't forget to pick up your copy!

This month, we spoke to William Despard who owns Dublin's Bretzel Bakery about his recent Blas na hÉireann award: the baker's pain de maison took home the Supreme Champion award, adding to the company's stellar reputation. However, this year hasn't been all that William hoped for due to the global pandemic - find out more about how Bretzel Bakery has survived and thrived during 2020 in the November issue of FOOD&WINE Magazine, available this Sunday. 

Alongside his interview, William shared a gorgeous recipe for tortano crown bread with us - check it out below and if you try it out, let us know how you get on!

Tortano crown bread

"Our Tortano Crown recipe is an interesting one - what is not to like about bread that includes potatoes and organic honey? The name is Italian, literally meaning crown of thorns, and this recipe was devised as our original take on this classic bread for the opening of Jamie’s Italian in Dundrum. The name refers to the shape - the dough is proved in a ring-shaped basket and then puckered with the points of scissors prior to baking to resemble Christ’s crown of thorns. Many recipes call for potato flour, but we baked our spuds, skins and all. It got a great thumbs up from the executive chef and Jamie Oliver himself.

A ring proving basket will give you the classic shape, but any size basket or tub lined with a flour-dusted cloth will do. If you have oven/pizza stone you will get great results, but a preheated baking tray will work just as well." - William Despard

William Despard of Bretzel Bakery
William Despard of Bretzel Bakery

Makes one kilo of dough

For the biga:

  • 133g strong white flour
  • 61g water, at room temperature
  • 2g yeast

For the bread:

  • 208g potato, baked and cooled, skins left on
  • 315g strong white flour 
  • 204g water, room temperature
  • 21g honey
  • 11g yeast
  • 9g salt


  1. First, make the biga 24 hours in advance of making the bread. Combine the flour, water and yeast and leave to develop for four hours, then cover and leave in the fridge overnight. 
  2. The next day, take the biga from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature before making the bread.
  3. To make the tortano, place all of the bread ingredients, excluding the cooked potatoes, and the biga into the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix for two minutes on slow, then six minutes on fast. 
  4. Add the potatoes, skins and all, and mix for a further three minutes on slow. Make sure the potatoes are broken into small pieces - use your fingers to break up any lumps if necessary. Place the dough into a bowl and leave to rest for an hour.
  5. Divide the dough into two equal pieces, both weighing 500g each. Mould each into a round shape and leave to rest for 15 minutes. If you have a ring basket or tin, give the dough a final mould and shape into a ring and place into the dusted tin. If not, shape roughly into a round and place into a dusted round baking tin to shape. Prove for at least 40 minutes. 
  6. Preheat the oven to 220C and heat baking tray or pizza stone. 
  7. Turn the dough out onto the stone or tray and use scissors to pucker the top of the dough to create the thorn shape. Bake for 10 minutes at 260C then reduce the temperature to 220C and bake for a further 25 minutes to finish.

For more from William, check out his feature in the November 2020 issue of FOOD&WINE Magazine, available with the Business Post on Sunday, November 1st.