Panettone

Panettone originated in Milan and is popular throughout the world, especially at Christmas. There are many legends as to how it was first made, one being that it was invented by a poor baker’s assistant called Toni who made it to impress his boss so that he would allow him to marry his daughter. Hence: Pan di Toni, or Toni’s bread. The master baker liked it so much that he gave his consent for their marriage.

Panettone is absolutely delicious and many people prefer it to Christmas cake. It is excellent when used for desserts with fruit and possibly custard or ice cream, or lightly toasted with butter for breakfast.

You can bake it in special Panettone paper cases, or simply line an 8¼” (21 cm) cake pan with parchment paper. For the loaf above I used an angel food pan with the removable flute in the centre replaced with the base of an 8¼” springform pan.

It is essential to start this recipe the evening before, as it relies on a sourdough yeast starter and the raisins are steeped overnight in brandy.

It is a long process from start to finish for this loaf, but the results are well worth it!

Panettone Recipe
INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tsp (10 ml) dried yeast
  • 4 tbsp (60 ml) warm water
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz – 55 gm) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (5 oz – 140 gm) golden raisins
  • 4 tbsp (60 ml) brandy
  • 5 tbsp (2½ oz – 71 gm) butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • (eggs and butter must be at room temperature)
  • 3/4 cup (6 oz – 170 gm) white sugar
  • 1/4 cup (4 tbsp – 60 ml) warm water
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) vanilla extract
  • 2½ cups (9¾ oz – 275 gm) bread (strong) flour
  • 2 cups (7¾ oz – 220 gm) all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) salt
  • grated zest of 1 orange
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 3/4 cup (3½ oz – 100 gm) cut mixed peel (candied citron)

METHOD:

(Day before)

Make the sourdough starter by dissolving the yeast in tepid water (110°F or 44°C).

Mix in the half cup of flour, and cover with plastic wrap.

Leave in a warm place overnight (or at least for 6 hours).

In a small bowl, mix the raisins and brandy, leave to steep for at least 6 hours.

(Baking day)

Combine the butter, eggs, yolks, sugar, 1/4 cup warm water, and vanilla extract in a large bowl.

Mix in the sourdough starter.

Gradually add the flour, followed by the zests of the lemon and orange, mixing with your hands until a soft dough forms.

Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until it becomes smooth and pliable. (This can take anything from 15 minutes to half an hour, but you can take a break for a few minutes in the middle with no harm done)

(You can do the kneading in your bread maker if you wish – I like to run it through two kneading cycles and then remove it.)

Place the dough in a large buttered bowl, turning to coat all surfaces with butter.

Cover with a tea towel and let rise for 4 – 6 hours in a warm place until at least doubled in volume.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead to flatten into a large rectangle.

Spread the drained raisins and cut mixed peel evenly over the dough and roll, jelly-roll fashion.

Knead to mix the fruit evenly throughout the dough.

Place the dough into the prepared pan, lined with parchment paper or panettone paper cases. (Dough should be about 50% of the volume of the container)

Panettone cases can be placed on a baking tray for baking.

Allow to rise until doubled in volume in a warm place, covered with a tea towel. (about 45 – 90 minutes)

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C)

Bake for about 45 – 55 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. (Cover top loosely with foil if you notice loaf is beginning to brown too much)

Allow to cool for about half an hour before removing from the baking pan.

The bread must be completely cooled before it is wrapped for storage.