The Bread of ANCIENT ROME | Pompeii's Panis Quadratus

In 79AD, a baker in Pompeii fled for his life as Mt. Vesuvius erupted, leaving his bread to burn. Join me in recreating the Panis Quadratus and explore the history of Pompeii and this iconic loaf of bread.
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PANIS QUADRATUS (Ancient Roman Bread)
- 1kg Flour (Any combination of flours mentioned in the video)
- 250g Biga / Freshly Fed Sourdough Starter
- 3 Teaspoons of Salt
- 400ml - 500ml lukewarm Water
- 1 - 3 tsp Dried Herbs (Fennel, Hyssop, Coriander, Anise, Oregano, Caraway, etc)
1. Mix your herbs into the flour, then, on a clean surface, create a ring of flour.
2. Dissolve the salt into the lukewarm water.
3. Pour the Biga/Starter into the ring of flour and slowly work in the flour adding water as needed. Note that, depending on the flours you use and the liquid content of your starter, you may not need the full amount of water, so add it slowly. Stopped mixing once the dough comes together.
4. Knead the dough until smooth (about 12-15 minutes). Then place it in a bowl, cover, and let rise approximately 2 hours or until the dough doubles in size.
5. Preheat your oven to 400°F/205°C. Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured surface, knock the air out, and form it into a ball. Place the loaf on a baking sheet or bread cloche, cover, and allow to rise for 20 minutes.
6. Once the loaf has puffed up, take a piece of baking string and tie it around the middle (the waist) of the loaf, cinching it and creating a bow. With another piece of string, make four intersecting lines across the top of the loaf creating 8 equal triangles. These marks should be fairly deep as they will lessen as the loaf bakes. Then, with your finger, poke a deep hole in the center of the loaf.
7. Bake the loaf approximately 40 minutes. If you are using a cloche, remove the lid 30 minutes in to allow the loaf to darken. Once baked, remove the loaf and set on a wire rack to cool.
Photo Credits:
Pompeii Loaf: Beatrice / CC BY-SA 2.0 IT (
Barley: I, Dschwen / CC BY-SA (
Rice: By © 2009 Jee & Rani Nature Photography (License: CC BY-SA 4.0), CC BY-SA 4.0,
Spelt: Sten / CC BY-SA (
Sesame: Krish Dulal / CC BY-SA (
Pompeii Map: MapMaster / CC BY-SA (
Villa San Marco: Mentnafunangann / CC BY-SA (
Ruins of Pompeii: ElfQrin / CC BY-SA (
Pompeii Bakery: Wknight94 / CC BY-SA (
Bakery of Popidius Priscus: Carole Raddato from FRANKFURT, Germany / CC BY-SA (
Music Credits:
Blood Eagle by Alexander Nakarada |
Music promoted by
Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Prelude Cello Suite 3
Exzel Music Publishing (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
#tastinghistory #panisquadratus #romanbread #pompeiibread #ancientrome


  1. Robin


    Kun oldin

    Just got a vision of Gordon Ramsay jumping into a time machine and arriving in ancient Pompeii, haha.

  2. Kevin U.K.

    Kevin U.K.

    Kun oldin

    You get flavour from longer fermentation. Just like a beer, bread needs time to ferment for the flavours to develop. They did not have modern fast acting yeasts back then. They used long fermentation times instead. You seem to be a home baker. How can you not know this? I see you did not read some of the very well informed comments about why they probably did not use string. That poking your finger into the middle of the bread is the clue. That is a technique used in Europe certainly as far back as the middle ages to make one dough placed on top of the other join together. Did they use two dough discs one on top of the other? And, did your string bake inside the the crust like Locatelli's ;)

  3. Appuleius Diocles94

    Appuleius Diocles94

    2 kun oldin

    Hey Max, love the channel! I was wondering if maybe you'd do a video or two on pirate/naval food? I heard that a popular dish was beef Rendang, owing to the fact that it kept well during long voyages and is consistently rated as one of the best dishes in the world

  4. dgarrard100


    5 kun oldin

    0/10, you didn't use a weight with your logo on it.

  5. Tomartyr


    7 kun oldin

    11:07 My Granma after meeting my new girlfriend.

  6. Racker


    8 kun oldin

    I am sure you are confounding many bakers with your measurements. This country (the US) resist your measurements for the local traditional cups and spoons. It would be nice if you put both in the recipe. Thanks for the video.

  7. Mike P

    Mike P

    9 kun oldin

    You might not knead all that water..... 4:50

  8. John Stancliff

    John Stancliff

    10 kun oldin

    interesting.... doesn't Italy have any ancient recipes from other areas that would have been the same recipe?

  9. Still Deubell

    Still Deubell

    11 kun oldin

    No worries, Max. This I swear: I will never. NEVER. Miss sn episode of Tasting History. *crisp salute*

  10. Ali Zejli

    Ali Zejli

    11 kun oldin

    While i am fasting now and seeing this black fosilised bread i get very hungry

  11. J


    11 kun oldin

    that wasn't funny a lot of people died in that disaster!!11!!!!1!eleven!!!

  12. Kathleen Hensley

    Kathleen Hensley

    12 kun oldin

    It was said he was rather overweight... and well, weight, age, stress and exertion ... Also, I think no one realized how serious the eruption really was, until it was far too late, very few really understood it was a volcano and were shocked when it blew up. By that evening you were doomed if you hadn't fled. The cloud collapsed and pryoclastic flows burnt everything in their paths. I suspect they did what Italians do, or at least, I do.... soak it in olive oil or wine or vinegar as a sop. I like it even for breakfast. I have a classical Italian bread recipe I bake all the time. I'll take my day old bread, pour some olive oil, add a bit of salt and garlic and eat it. My mother told me I ate bread just like my grandmother did. Not a clue why I knew. I make Italian bread with 3 flours.

  13. Kevin Maher

    Kevin Maher

    12 kun oldin

    The bread would take a lot longer to proof. A biga or sourdough starter takes a lot longer to develop those yeast farts and structure.

  14. Gigi Quillian

    Gigi Quillian

    15 kun oldin

    My daughter and a couple of the kids are gluten sensitive. Awful gut and skin issues when they eat wheat in ANYTHING. ...SO she makes OAT bread. Its really good but different brands of oats make for a whole different flavor. The dark oats make for the best. Is there any oat breat s from your history books that you can cook up for us!?!

  15. Jason Martin

    Jason Martin

    15 kun oldin


  16. Ohad Sebbag

    Ohad Sebbag

    15 kun oldin

    hmmm.. maybe doing stretch & folds for 3-4 times each ~30min and then letting the dough rise a few more hours would make it better

  17. BatteredSkullSummit


    16 kun oldin


  18. Myra Madd

    Myra Madd

    17 kun oldin

    I like darker bread, so that looks good.

  19. Anthony Bufort

    Anthony Bufort

    17 kun oldin

    Beautifully made

  20. Nocti Nox

    Nocti Nox

    17 kun oldin

    buckwheat are seeds are they not? i think i used to pick these in the forest because they look like nuts, are not poisonous and kinda tasty if you like earthy+nutty tastes.

    • Nocti Nox

      Nocti Nox

      17 kun oldin

      Yes it are them, i would spend days and weeks as a kid picking these, eating them as snack and as my mother taught make cookies of them :D

  21. Nocti Nox

    Nocti Nox

    17 kun oldin

    lol. penis quadratus. I'm not immature at all. screw you.

  22. Rachel Hubbell

    Rachel Hubbell

    18 kun oldin

    My brother loves this recipe! It goes really well with soups and stews, and adding herbs, toasting it, and covering it in butter is just **chefs kiss**

  23. The Vintage Gamer

    The Vintage Gamer

    20 kun oldin

    So crazy how big your channel got in like 2 years.

  24. Leo Phumin

    Leo Phumin

    20 kun oldin

    I hope you’re ready for a second wave of Vesuvius eruption near your home...with that bread Hehe

  25. Cookbook Adventures

    Cookbook Adventures

    20 kun oldin

    I like how he is honest about the taste of the bread. I have to sub now.

  26. Nembula 2002

    Nembula 2002

    22 kun oldin

    Many years ago I made all our bread so when the interest in sourdough heated up again I was on board. My mother and I had a starter for a year plus so I had some experience. If you want some control over your finished product you choose your yeast source. I chose the wild grapes that grow by our front lawn. It took several weeks to slowly build a decent strength in my starter but yesterday I made my first serious loaves with it. I only had white flour but the flavor imparted from the grape yeast was actually a little floral and a little like a nice red wine. I am quite pleased. If your bread tastes blah source some better yeast. I bet they used the same yeasts they used in their beer and wines.

  27. thexbigxgreen


    22 kun oldin

    I love the use of Magmar in the background, talk about à propos!

  28. Keyos


    22 kun oldin

    Clearly, you missed the colour here

  29. Teb Tengri

    Teb Tengri

    23 kun oldin

    Buckwheat bread and injun batter. Makes you fat or a little fatter.

  30. Laura Scott

    Laura Scott

    24 kun oldin

    I adore your channel! Thank you for all you do!

    • Tasting History with Max Miller

      Tasting History with Max Miller

      24 kun oldin

      Thank you!

  31. JessicaTryingToFarm


    28 kun oldin

    Merch idea: "Bye Boeotia!"

  32. sassysarah39


    Oy oldin

    How many pokemon plushies does he have I love them

  33. ansatsushiya


    Oy oldin


  34. Ηλίας Παπαδάτος

    Ηλίας Παπαδάτος

    Oy oldin

    In Greece bread is still baked in some villages, some times even by profesional bakers, in traditional ovens, by burning olive tree wood. This gives the bread a unique flavor. We can assume that bread was baked this way back then in Pompeia.

  35. fuferito


    Oy oldin

    Totally missed his chance. When recreating Vesuvius carbonized bread you _always_ make a volcano from the dry ingredients mound; never a 'fontaine.'

  36. Craig Richo

    Craig Richo

    Oy oldin

    have you done the roman door mice ???

  37. 3 V

    3 V

    Oy oldin

    Sooooooooo cute.



    Oy oldin

    You're forgetting one key aspect. Europeans love bland food, especially bland bread. They think American bread is too sweet lol. So the first one you made was probably spot on. People didn't really eat for taste back then either. They mostly ate for sustenance.

  39. Nardo Vogt

    Nardo Vogt

    Oy oldin

    True Roman bread for true Romans. Nice "Rome" reference

  40. Mark Seubert

    Mark Seubert

    Oy oldin

    Could you ever do a episode on german blood sausage and the various forms in other countries around the world

  41. Jonas Grenabo

    Jonas Grenabo

    Oy oldin

    Id do you in a heartbeat. Thanks for being fun on telly!

  42. Haley Selene

    Haley Selene

    Oy oldin

    The color of his second loaf really reminded me of Ethiopian flatbread

  43. Zachary Mathews

    Zachary Mathews

    Oy oldin

    Thats funny, he has a Magmar Pokemon in the background. How fitting!

  44. Anthony Parente

    Anthony Parente

    Oy oldin

    I've tried so hard to like Buckwheat. While I will eat it, it is definitely not my preferred grain. It adds a very unique flavor to any loaf and even when doing mixed grain breads the buckwheat flavor always overshadows the grains. I'm currently experimenting with spent beer grains now and moving into barley loaves.

  45. Justin Macarrhur

    Justin Macarrhur

    Oy oldin

    Water, yeast, flour and salt is not bland ,depening on the yeast time n cooking ways.

  46. Chris Downey

    Chris Downey

    Oy oldin

    There’s actually a lot of fun history behind Roman bread. Since it was guaranteed to be free to the people, government sanctioned grain was needed for the free loaves. Thus, bakers faced high scrutiny if they tried to pilfer the free grain for their other, not-free bread loaves. That’s why on many surviving loaves from Pompeii you see markings reminiscent of a stamp. From what archaeologists can determine in surviving writings and artifacts, bakers were required by law to identify themselves by stamping their products with their name and town. That way if anybody complained about a bad loaf the authorities would know who to arrest. This also applied to undersized loaves or bread full with additive filler like sawdust.

  47. leung


    Oy oldin

    Here's an interesting text by Philostratus the Elder, that might be of interest for you: "If you care for raised bread or *“eight-piece loaves,”* they are here near by in the deep basket. And if you want any relish, you have the loaves themselves-for they have been *seasoned with fennel and parsley and also with poppy-seed,* the spice that brings sleep-but if you desire a second course, put that off till you have cooks, and partake of the food that needs no fire." (Imagines, Book II 26, Xenia) Maybe that will help you to make your roman bread tastier...

  48. DFX2KX


    Oy oldin

    you say you don't like the color, but that's about the same shade as Outback Steakhouse bread, so that's what came to mind for me (though that's a sweet bread of some kind and probably tastes nothing like this)

  49. Rocky Bing

    Rocky Bing

    Oy oldin

    Erbs? What happened to the 'H'?

    • Tasting History with Max Miller

      Tasting History with Max Miller

      Oy oldin

      Got left back in England. They hate pronouncing french words properly 😆

  50. Gioseanu Andrei

    Gioseanu Andrei

    Oy oldin

    I imagine they put some olive oil in the dough.

  51. Taargus


    Oy oldin

    they are wonderfully preserved, but tourism is ruining the preservation

  52. Chris Olds

    Chris Olds

    Oy oldin

    One easy source (and usually reasonably priced) of multi grain flours is to go to a market that largely carries items from the Indian continent and/or caters to Indian folks. There's the usual white & whole wheat bags of flour, there's also mixed flours with many different grains. Some of them even have different ground legumes in the mix which not only improves the nutritional content, they may well more closely resemble some of the early cooking flour mixes used.

  53. Armin


    Oy oldin

    Say Panis 5 times fast with an English accent!

  54. Davey647Returns


    Oy oldin

    Oh that's dark having a Magmar in the background while talking about Pompeii.

  55. s Gobtop

    s Gobtop

    Oy oldin

    Where do you get sourdough starter?

  56. Christine Loggie

    Christine Loggie

    Oy oldin

    'Sucks for him' I can't stop laughing!

  57. Azure Cresent

    Azure Cresent

    Oy oldin

    I have so enjoyed your show. Fun and informative and I love that you make the history relative to now. Which is as it should be.. Great job, I look forward to watching more

  58. Nate Martinez

    Nate Martinez

    Oy oldin

    I'm a simple man I see peni- I mean panis I click

  59. Logan 0-0

    Logan 0-0

    Oy oldin

    You look like if mat pat decided not to be a gamer and instead a chef that works out in his spare time.

  60. Nobody


    Oy oldin

    i actually love the color of that bread !!

  61. Arch Angel

    Arch Angel

    Oy oldin

    Forgive my ignorance, I’m hardly a language expert, but is “pains” where we get the word “panini” from?

  62. mahomy1000


    Oy oldin


  63. brian floyd

    brian floyd

    Oy oldin

    Wow! What presence. I happened on to one of your other episodes, saw this one and subscribed

  64. Martin Badoy

    Martin Badoy

    Oy oldin

    Why is it called quadratum when it was made as round loaves?

    • Tasting History with Max Miller

      Tasting History with Max Miller

      Oy oldin

      It refers to the 4 lines on top

  65. IIGrayfoxII


    Oy oldin

    I wonder if someone could make a cupcake version of this.

  66. Angelia Parker-Savage

    Angelia Parker-Savage

    Oy oldin

    Ugh...does it have to be SOURDOUGH? I loathe sourdough...

  67. Jennifer Burgess

    Jennifer Burgess

    Oy oldin


  68. Bobby Siecker

    Bobby Siecker

    Oy oldin

    At my Roman re-enactment group we put laurel leafes on the baking tray and put the dough over it. This way the bread gets infused with the laurel taste during baking. It's quite nice.

  69. Cap'n CeltBlood

    Cap'n CeltBlood

    2 oy oldin

    You didn't use the string for its intended purpose... The string had 2 functions ... to allow it to be hung in the shop.. and second it was used to slice the loaf in half by pulling the 2 ends. Like you would cut a cake to make 2 half's with thread. and your third use seems very plausible to portion the bread into eights.

  70. Bloodletter8


    2 oy oldin

    "With pillows strapped to their heads to ward off falling objects." I just can't stop chuckling at this part XD

  71. J Rideout

    J Rideout

    2 oy oldin

    Generally I don't love when the internet is creepy and suggests things to me but in this case I don't mind. The youtube algorithm nailed it.

  72. Kirin Earl Lee

    Kirin Earl Lee

    2 oy oldin

    What kind of a dude matches a discussion of Pompeii with a Magma... That's cold blooded, ironically

  73. shiny paint f

    shiny paint f

    2 oy oldin

    he: "sounds like he would have been a fan of wonderbread :^)" everyone who knows about the wonderbread guy of our age: (ʘ言ʘ╬)

  74. Matthew Rosa

    Matthew Rosa

    2 oy oldin


  75. Hannah King

    Hannah King

    2 oy oldin

    “Not offensive to the stomach” my gluten intolerance is quaking

  76. Abigale Reich

    Abigale Reich

    2 oy oldin

    "It is white, destitute of all flavour, and not oppressive to the stomach." As a celiac, I call a lie. It's oppressive to my entire body's normal human functions. I miss it so much.

  77. J B

    J B

    2 oy oldin

    The Flavian dynasty of Rome were one of biggest monopolies supplying grain to the early empire. They are called "Flavian" due to the grain in their fields, because of its yellow color. This led into future politics, etc etc.

  78. Robert Emerson

    Robert Emerson

    2 oy oldin

    Eat the darker bread with smoked salmon or any other savory topping, although that said, there is nothing like good maple syrup of buckwheat pancakes. Do you do anything with Sago?

  79. Paavo Bergmann

    Paavo Bergmann

    2 oy oldin

    The traditional herbs present in almost all german breads, especially rye, are caraway and coriander. So....watching this, I get the idea, I would find roman bread absolutely normal.

  80. A19201593


    2 oy oldin

    Lol, in the middle of watching this video I got the Alexa ad about the destruction of Pompeii. Couldn't have been more fitting. 🤣

  81. richard nichol

    richard nichol

    2 oy oldin

    The Romans used vast amounts of olive oil do you not think they would have put olive oil in tge recipe??

  82. Tina


    2 oy oldin

    My sourdough bread is made of flour, water, yeast and salt. That’s all. I like it very much. I don’t worry about catching wild yeasts; I use regular dry yeast and make a sponge 1-2 days before baking and let it ferment in the fridge.

  83. Kathy L

    Kathy L

    2 oy oldin

    That uncle at 7:16 would have been an anti-masker today.

  84. Monica M.

    Monica M.

    2 oy oldin

    Dip it in olive oil. That’s where the flavor is!

    • 「 Deadpoppin 」

      「 Deadpoppin 」

      2 oy oldin

      or honey

  85. Jm96RoCk


    2 oy oldin

    Imma start callimg weed 'Panic Grass'

  86. paper aviation 147

    paper aviation 147

    2 oy oldin

    the baroque music is chef's kiss, prelude from the 3rd cello suite in c major - J.S. Bach

  87. Fuck me Daddy

    Fuck me Daddy

    2 oy oldin


  88. WhiskeyTango Sierra

    WhiskeyTango Sierra

    2 oy oldin

    "A loose starter." I like my starter to be thicker than pancake batter. Wouldn't that be a better description? That is NOT Southern, that is also not Johnny Cash. Had high hopes for this loaf. Buckwheat, however, is best used for feeding animals, at least that's what I heard.

  89. Sarah Eaton

    Sarah Eaton

    2 oy oldin

    I love the bread color lol I think it's authentic and unique lol

  90. TeeComedian


    2 oy oldin

    That Magmar plush makes me regret the fact I can only subscribe once!

  91. Brenda Harper

    Brenda Harper

    2 oy oldin

    I love the meal discovered on a family table in a modest villa in Pompeii: this same kind of panis; a dish of eggs; and walnuts. It was amazing-looking..only one of the eggshells was cracked..and looked almost as if the family would come in and sit down to it at any moment. Pompeii and Herculaneum are make it a cliche': "Moments Frozen In Time". I was 5 years old when my older bro first read me the story of Pompeii from our Popular Science Encyclopedias. Didn't I look the Smartypants when I told about it in 1st grade Show & Tell?! Made my classmates look like they'd been drugged. But THE TEACHER was impressed!

  92. dustboxednorth


    2 oy oldin

    Instructions unclear; licked a mummy at the Smithsonian and was promptly dragged out.

  93. Randy Hall

    Randy Hall

    2 oy oldin

    I love that color.

  94. randomgirlxrulz


    2 oy oldin

    If someone asked me to investigate a large, potentially fatal black cloud on a mountain with them, I would absolutely say I need to stay home and finish my homework

  95. yacine fadhel

    yacine fadhel

    2 oy oldin

    Ember island magmar

  96. The Iconographer 24

    The Iconographer 24

    2 oy oldin

    Oh man. The Bayeux Tapestry apron is amazing!!

  97. Naelinor


    2 oy oldin

    That bread looks so goth

  98. Катерина Барановська

    Катерина Барановська

    2 oy oldin

    Like colour of this darker bread

  99. the wolf studio

    the wolf studio

    2 oy oldin

    I like to just picture how that guy must feel knowing that his style of bread making is still talked about to this day.

  100. Haunted Strega

    Haunted Strega

    2 oy oldin

    2:48 “and not oppressive to the stomach” *me w celiac disease* : pfffttt sure