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Traditional Panettone with the Daring Bakers

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Light in texture, filled with fragrant citron peels, lemons, candied fruits and spectacular to look at – The Traditional Panettone. The much loved sweet bread enjoyed on Christmas and New years in Italy, Southeastern France, Brazil, Peru, Malta, Germany and Switzerland.

There are many legends about the origins of the bread. One of them says that Panettone was born at the Sforza times, in Lombardy, Northern Italy, when an absentminded cook burnt the dessert he was preparing for a Court dinner on Christmas Eve. One of the kitchen helpers, whose name was Toni, made use of the leftover bread dough and added eggs, raisins, candied fruits, butter and sugar. When the resulting sweet bread was served,  it was a great success and since then it was called “Pan (bread) de Toni (of Toni)”.

There are some more interesting stories associated with the bread. I, for one, am just glad that I got to make a beautiful bread, that has so much history associated with it. This was my very first Daring Baker’s challenge that I took part in.  My friend Finla, who writes the beautiful blog : – My Kitchen Treasures and another friend pushed me on and said they believed in me, even when I did not believe that I could do Daring Baker’s challenges. It’s friend’s like these that I am ever thankful for.

The process of baking a Panettone looked daunting at first (when you are looking at the recipe, sitting in Denver, you tell yourself you are mad for even thinking of trying this at high altitude).   Then the baker in me woke up and said, “At the worst we are going to get an end product that may just fall onto itself but still taste good with the butter, candied fruits and almond glaze. So put the apron on and get the flour out.”

And I did. And am glad that I did.

The December 2012 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by the talented Marcellina of Marcellina in Cucina.   Marcellina challenged us to create our own custom Panettone, a traditional Italian holiday bread!     

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Traditional Panetonne

A sweet bread-cake with candied fruit and peel. The Panettone is traditionally made around Christmas. Panettone recipe slightly adapted from The Italian Baker by Carol Field. Makes 2 Panettone.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes
Servings 2 Panettones

Ingredients

Sponge

  • 7 gm active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup 80 ml warm water
  • ½ cup 70 gm unbleached all purpose flour

First Dough

  • 1 satchel 7 gm active dry yeast
  • 3 tablespoons 45 ml warm water
  • 2 large eggs at room temp
  • cup 175 gm unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 115 gm unsalted butter at room temp

Second dough

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 150 gm sugar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon essence/extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange essence/extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks 225 g unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 3 cups 420 gm (15 oz) unbleached all-purpose (plain) flour; plus up to (2/3 cup) 100 gm for kneading
  • Filling and final dough
  • cups 250 gm (9 oz) golden raisins
  • ½ cup 75 gm (2-2/3 oz) mixed candied fruit (
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons 30-45 ml (15-25 gm) unbleached all-purpose (plain) flour
  • Instructions

Instructions

Sponge

  1. Mix the yeast and water in a small bowl and allow to stand until creamy. That’s about 10 minutes or so

  2. Mix in the flour

  3. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to double in size for about 20 to 30 minutes

First Dough

  1. In the mixer bowl, mix together the yeast and water and allow to stand until creamy. Again, about 10 minutes or so

  2. With the paddle attached mix in the sponge, eggs, flour, and sugar

  3. Add in the butter and mix for 3 minutes until the dough is smooth and even

First Rise

  1. Cover with plastic wrap and allow double in size, about 1 – 1 ¼ hours

Second Dough

  1. With the paddle mix in thoroughly the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, honey, scraped vanilla bean, essences/extracts, and salt

  2. Mix in the butter until smooth

  3. Add the flour and slowly incorporate

  4. At this stage the dough will seem a little too soft, like cookie dough

  5. Replace the paddle with the dough hook and knead for about 2 minutes

  6. Turn out the dough and knead it on a well-floured surface until it sort of holds its shape. { i used just a bit of flour on my hands }
  7. Don’t knead in too much flour but you may need as much as 2/3 cup. Be careful the excess flour will affect the finished product

Second Rise

  1. Oil a large bowl lightly, plop in your dough and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm place for 2 hours then put it overnight in a cool spot like the fridge. Next day take it out and let it wake up and rise to at least 3 times its original size

Filling and Final Rise

  1. Soak the raisin in water 30 minutes before the end of the first rise. {I used raisins without soaking}
  2. Drain and pat dry with paper towels

  3. Now take your dough and cut it in half. Remember we are making two panettoni

  4. Combine all your filling ingredients and mix well

  5. Press out one portion of dough into an oval shape

  6. Sprinkle over one quarter of the filling and roll up the dough into a log
  7. Press out again into an oval shape and sprinkle over another quarter of the filling

  8. Roll into a log shape again

  9. Repeat with the second portion of dough

  10. Shape each into a ball and slip into your prepared pans, panettone papers or homemade panettone papers

  11. Cut an X into the top of each panettone and allow to double in size. If it has been rising on the kitchen bench in a warm place it should be doubled in about 2 hours

Baking

  1. When you think your dough has only about 30 minutes left to rise preheat your oven to moderately hot 400º F

  2. Just before baking carefully {don’t deflate it!} cut the X into the dough again and place in a knob {a nut} of butter

  3. Place your panettoni in the oven and bake for 10 minutes
  4. Reduce the heat to moderate 350*F and bake for another 10 minutes
  5. Reduce the heat again to moderate 325°F and bake for 30 minutes until the tops are well browned and a skewer inserted into the panettone comes out clean

  6. Cool the panettone by laying them on their side cushioned with rolled up towels. Turn gently as they cool

Recipe Notes

 The slow rise of the dough makes a great tasting panettone. My panettone molds were bigger and the dough did not really rise well beyond the rim. But I loved the delicious flavors of this bread-cake even better after a day or two.

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Comments 10

  1. Beautiful Ansh! Even at 6,300 ft. I find that if the recipe calls for yeast, It is usually ok. Love the story behind it. Your photos look great. Using that new lens by any chance?

    1. Post
      Author

      Yes, the new lens is being abused very much. Thanks Karen! I am trying to get the fear of baking at high altitude out of my mind and your words help.

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