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Veneziana is a classic Italian pastry that is truly exquisite. This traditional treat is made with a stiff sourdough starter and does not require any commercial yeast. The dough is prepared in two phases, similar to making panettone. The first dough is mixed in the evening, while the second dough is prepared in the morning.

It took me almost 2 years to try this recipe, and I made it already 3 times in a past 2 weeks, because it is absolutely exquisite. And what most exciting, it made with zero commercial yeast.

Important notes

  1. This is a 2-phase dough. The process is similar to  panettone making, first you mix the first dough in the evening and the second dough – in the morning.
  2. The dough will be very soft, so I recommend to bake the buns in silicone molds or in tart rings. You can bake them just on on a parchment paper, but note that the buns will spread a little during baking.
  3. Be patient, the process will take some time, but the result is incomparable to any baked goods you’ve ever tried before, it has cotton candy melt in your mouth texture…

First Dough

  • 80g stiff starter (40% hydration, refreshed 2 times every 4 hours at 29C)
  • 90g sugar
  • 100g water
  • 2 eggs 
  • 80g butter
  • 220g flour

Second Dough 


  • 200g milk
  • 20g yolk
  • 50g sugar
  • 30g flour 
  • Vanilla

Directions( first dough)

  • Mix water and sugar, add stiff starter and flour. Knead until dough will come up as a ball about 5 min in KitchenAid on stir setting.
  • Add butter, knead until well incorporated( about 10 min on speed 3-4 in KitchenAid, dough has to become strong)
  • Slowly add eggs, knead for 10-12 min on speed 3-4 in KitchenAid. Dough has to come up together and be strong.
  • Total mixing time about 25 min.
  • Round the dough and let it proof at 24-26C for about 12 hours.
  • Dough has to triple.
  • Transfer the dough to fridge to chill for 1 hour.

Directions (second dough)

  • Mix flour and a first dough, knead on speed 2 of KitchenAid for about 5 min, dough hast to come up together and clear the sides of the bowl.
  • Add sugar, knead on speed 2 of KitchenAid for about 5 min.
  • Slowly add egg yolks, salt and flavorings, knead on speed 3-4 of KitchenAid for about 10 min.
  • Incorporate butter, knead on speed 3-4 of KitchenAid for about 10-12 min.
  • Dough has to become strong, obedient, with clear windowpane.
  • Cover the dough and let rest for 30 min.
  • Spread butter on working surface, dump the dough on it.
  • Divide into 80g pieces, round each. Let rest uncovered for 30 min.
  • Round buns second time, transfer on tray covered with parchment paper, or into molds or tart rings.
  • Let buns proof for 4-5 hours at 28C.
  • Meanwhile prepare the custard: preheat the milk, in separate bowl combine yolk with sugar and flour. Mix with warm milk, cook over medium high heat until thickened. Let cool off before using.
  • Pipe custard on top of each Veneziana.
  • Bake at 350 for 25-27 min until golden.
  • Let Veneziana to cool down.


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42 thoughts on “Veneziana

  1. What does “stuff starter” mean? Does that mean it’s active and bubbling or it’s hungry?

    1. It means the starter should be stiff, hard as opposed to a soft/liquid starter

      1. The book “The Bread Bible” has an amazing chapter on sourdough and how to turn a liquid starter into a stuff starter ☺️

    2. So I just became a follower of you, and I’m sure this question has probably been asked, but I am tagging it on to the other one about the stiff starter…
      So I’ve tried Times to start sourdough starts out fine but I end up throwing it away. Is that what you’re talking about? What is a starter and how do you make it? That’s my question?

  2. Curious what you mean my refreshing the starter twice? Is the 80grams of starter after the refreshments? Thank you!

    1. 80 gr is the final starter needed for the recipe but you need to feed your starter twice before that, based on the instructions given

    2. I saw a recipe for sweet starter and it had yeast?

  3. Omigosh these look wonderful!!! Can a stiff starter be made from a normal 100% hydrated starter? Or can I use my normal starter?

    1. Wondering the same thing!

    2. It can be but you have to bring your 100% hydrated starter to a 40% hydration instead as the outputs are different based on the % of water content

    3. I took 113g of my normal 100% hydrated starter and added a mixture of 113g flour and 45g water (40% of 113) daily (removing enough so each day the starter contribution is 113g). After a week it was good to start the dough and I refreshed it twice that day with 4 hours between each. It is SUPER stiff and hard to combine but definitely works for these buns.

      1. Thank you!

      2. When you say you refreshed it twice, four hours in between, do you mean that you added 113g flour and 45g water each of those times?

      3. Yes, that’s what I did.

  4. Hi there, I have stiff starter made as per instructions in your blueberry scrolls. Can I use this for this recipe instead? Just curious what you mean to refresh it twice at 40%? Thank you so much 😊

  5. Can we use commercial yeast? If yes, how much would we need? Thank you

  6. Could you explain a bit more about the stiff starter and the double feeding?
    Thank you!

  7. Hello, can I use an yeast? And how many? 0:)

  8. Where and when does the 60g of heavy cream get used in the second dough ingredient list? Assuming to brush before piping custard? Or to brush before baking? Thanks.

    1. Hae which time are we adding the whipping cream because It is in the recipe but not noted in the second dough but not said where to put

      1. I did not get a response on this site or on IG and after researching other recipes (more authentic), cream can indeed be an ingredient in the dough. I did not add because I couldn’t see it on any of the photos or videos for this recipe so I assumed there was some sort of error. The batch I made sans cream were just “meh”, not even close to “exquisite” – not worth trying again for me.

      2. I really wanted to try this but not a fan of grams/Celsius/metric, and most of the instructions are too technical for a novice like myself. I have no idea what a “stiff starter” is or hydrating & refreshing it means, even after reading your answer above. Usually photos help but even your pictures are more confusing than helpful. Why is it shown in a jar then a Rubbermaid container? Do you do both? The instructions don’t specify. It just says proof it for 12 hours then put it in the fridge. Do you proof in the jar then put it into the plastic container for the fridge? When you make the second dough, do you use all of the first dough or part of it? It says “add a first dough”. Is “a” dough a portion or all?

        Lastly, I don’t have a KitchenAid mixer. I have a Beautiful by Drew Barrymore. Instead of settings, is there a word that could describe what your KitchenAid does on setting 3-4? Slow, medium, hard, fast?

        These look amazing but they seem like more work than they’re worth. I wish I understood the directions better.

      3. you put the whipped cream when the pastry has risen and is ready to put in the oven

  9. Hae which time are we adding the whipping cream because It is in the recipe but not noted in the second dough but not said where to put

  10. This recipe is divine. I did it yesterday. I used 7cm circles which turned out to be too small. I had a single 10cm circle which resulted in a nicer pastry. I made some without a circle and it is true that they stretch. No matter the taste, the sweetness and tenderness were there. Thank you for your lovely recipes.

  11. I think the instructions for the custard may need to be re-worded. I have made a custard in the past and thought the instructions were a bit off but followed exactly and ended up with a white roux with bits of cooked egg in it. Giving it a 2nd try using instructions from another recipe to make the custard then adding in the flour last to thicken.

  12. It seems everyone is asking what I came here to ask – what is a “stiff starter” and also the “hydrating and refreshing” twice part.
    I’ve just started to follow this recipe page (thinking it’s for everyone with an interest in baking) – but now I’m wondering if it’s either supposed to only be for advanced specialist bread bakers – or is it intentionally designed to make us regular bakers just feel wholly inadequate 😅 (yes we get it – you’re a great baker). But, if the page is truly meant for everyone of all baking levels (which I hope it is) – wouldn’t it be a good idea to perhaps link to an explanation somewhere on what these terms mean and how we can all do them?

    1. To me, this is written by a European ss they weigh their ingredients.

      1. A lot of Americans weigh their ingredients. I do and have for many years. I have found that weighing ingredients really makes a big difference in my baking, especially yeast and sourdough breads, even cakes and cookies. My baked items are much more consistent since I weigh everything. Especially when it comes to flour. If you scoop, you get a different amount each time. Check it out, I did and a few grams one way or the other makes a big difference. Also, you can check weights and measures on the internet. Put in, “How many cups of flour or whatever, are 200 grams? It also works the other way round, when I come across a recipe that is all in cups.

  13. Before I added the eggs, the first dough was looking promising but after mixing with eggs for nearly 20 minutes, the dough was not strong and I couldn’t round it because it was slightly runny. I’ve placed it into a bowl, covered it, and now I’ll wait til morning to see if spending the last 14 days making a sourdough for the stiff sourdough this recipe calls for is worth it.

    1. I felt the same and left it covered just in case and found a beautiful dough the next morning. 🤤 I’ve made it twice now and it’s worth it.

  14. Can I use vanilla and orange extract instead of paste? If so how much? paste isnt something i really usually have on hand

    1. I used vanilla paste but think extract would have been fine. For the orange I used orange zest and orange extract and it was perfect.

  15. For everyone wondering what a stiff starter is, the specific one she is referring to for this bread, as is used with most sourdough sweet breads such as challah, brioche and croissant is called a pasta madré or leivito madré starter.

    If you look up how to make one or how to convert part of your 100% hydration starter, it will take you down a rabbit hole that talks about these multiple refreshments required to make this bread as well as pannetone etc.

    Once you have an establish pasta madré, then you will be able to make this. Enjoy! 😊

  16. I would really love clarification on this

    Directions (second dough)
    Mix flour and a first dough
    It was asked previously and unanswered. Hoping to get an answer here, thank you!

    1. You have to make the first dough with your stiff starter and then use that to make the second dough. Is there anything else to clarify?

  17. Hi I’m allergic to custard! What other sweet sauce can I use with this? They just look so light and very yummy! 💖💕

    1. I’ve seen these made without custard. You could use pearled sugar.

      Or after cooking you could pipe on a little almond cream or Nutella.

  18. Hi, I know you all use starts but if I want to use normal yeast what will be the amount to add to the recipe ? Thank you

  19. Good morning I ask you the diameter of the rings thank you very much for Veneziana Andrea

  20. I noticed the author doesn’t reply to any of the questions. It would be nice if she did. Because the stiff starter needs more in details.

  21. The second dough ingredients include cream but the instructions don’t say when to add the cream to the second dough, can you please clarify?

    Do you add it the same time as the yolks and paste or when you add the butter or something else?

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