Making Panettone

Having baked so many darn things the past eleven years, I confess I get a little cynical about preparations that seem to closely resemble other things. I do a sort of lazy man’s mental math…let’s see…brioche + sugar + candied fruit = yeah, I think I know what that’s all about. I think that’s why I’ve put off making my own panettone for so long. That and the fact that I’ve tasted so many of the impressively-tall-yet-disappointingly-dry versions. You start to wonder what all the fuss is about. Having finally made my own, now I know — and this stuff is good.

A starter makes a world of difference with panettone. Sure, the crumb isn’t as perfectly even as the store-bought versions, but it’s tender, moist and delectable. Starter-raised panettone makes sublime toast. The day you set out to begin the process, make sure your starter is well fed, happy, and bubbles up like this within four hours of being refreshed:

It can be refrigerated for a day or two once it gets to that point if you wish. It may fall a little, but don’t worry, it’ll still be plenty active. Combine the starter with the flour and warm milk…

…and stir it together. It’ll be a little looser than your original starter was. Don’t let that worry you.

Let it rise for four hours until it’s at this point, then refrigerate it overnight:

Next mix up your fruit blend and leave that out on the counter overnight (covered or uncovered, it’s up to you).

The next day, make your dough. Combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle (beater) and stir them to combine.

Next add the starter and eggs…

…and stir about a minute until everything’s wet.

Let the mixture sit about 20 minutes to hydrate, switch to the dough hook and knead about four minutes. If the dough isn’t taking up all the flour or seems stiff, add some of the water. When the dough is nice and smooth, knead in the butter a few tablespoons at a time.

When the butter is incorporated, knead in the fruit blend.

Then the slivered almonds.

When everything’s together, scrape the dough — it will be rather sticky — into a lightly oiled bowl.

Cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise for two hours, until it’s about twice its original size.

Divide the dough in half (each half will weigh just under two pounds), then form the dough into rounds.

Gently place the rounds in your forms. They’ll fill them up about half-way. As mentioned in the recipe below, smaller forms will work just fine.

Let the panettones rise about another two hours, meanwhile preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. At that point the centers should have risen to the height of the paper molds. Paint them with egg wash…

…and bake them for 1 1/2 hours. At about the one hour mark have a look-see inside the oven. If the tops are getting very brown, tent them with aluminum foil for the rest of the bake. Remove the breads to a cooling rack and cool completely.

Pannetone will keep perfectly well for a week or more, which makes them great for gift-giving. I’m not sure Mrs. Pastry will let either one of these get out of the house. But then she’s been awfully patient with me and my website shenanigans this year. She deserves all the panettone she can eat.

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12 Responses to Making Panettone

  1. Bronwyn says:

    I just baked mine this morning – I used much the same ingredients as you did (I have that book too) except for the yeast. It took longer to rise, but the finished product looks much like yours does. Time will tell what it tastes like.
    Because I was only using sourdough starter I added my dry stuff in two stages, letting it ferment a bit more in between, and the final rise in the pans was an overnight one. Well, six hours. I got up very early to bake it.

    • joepastry says:

      I’ll be curious to know how your turned out, Bronwyn! Let me know as soon as you’ve had a chance to do an official taste test!

      - Joe

  2. Betty says:

    I’ve never made panettone in my life, it’s something I would really love to make and I have to admit that I love your tutorials, honestly I was such a bad baker until I found your blog :)

    • joepastry says:

      I spent the greater part of my life as a bad baker, Betty! However I was amazed how quickly I progressed once I cultivated an interest. I’m sure you’ll find that to be true. It takes a little finesse but it certainly ain’t rocket science! ;)

      Welcome to the fold of born-again bakers!

      - Joe

  3. happy-bowl says:

    I find Panettone better than croissants and bread in making a bread pudding. Classic dish to end the year. Merry Christmas and a prsoperous baking New Year.

    • joepastry says:

      Merry Chirstmas to you, Geetha! It’s been a great pleasure corresponding with you this year. More soon!

      - Joe

  4. Jud says:

    Looks really good Joe. The wife and I make stollen every year for our Xmas day brunch. It took us three efforts to tweek our go-to recipe to get it where we like it. I’m curious about the difference between stolen and panettone. The stollen we make fits your description of the pannettone pretty closely. Our biggest problem living in a rural area is finding a source for the glazed fruit. The local stores will often have it available around Christmas time and not restock when it sells out, so we’ve been relying on internet sources. Like you, we put more fruit in than less. This Christmas, we’re departing from form. We saw a cream cheese filled coffee cake made on ATK that we’ve been dying to make for a special occasion. Almond topping, eggy dough. So maybe stollen for Easter. Can’t go more than year without making a few loaves – in my opinion, the best breakfast toast in the universe; well, ok, there is raisin cinnamon bread to consider here too. We make a couple of loaves, slice it and freeze it. By the time the coffee is ready the toast is coming out of the toaster.

    • joepastry says:

      Hey Jud! I think I’ll put up a little post on the stollen/panettone difference next week…good idea. The coffee cake sounds excellent, I’m sure I will be well received tomorrow. It isn’t Christmas for the missus if there isn’t panettone or stolen in the house. I think she really prefers the latter, but either make her giddily happy. Hope that describes everyone at your place this weekend!

      Merry Christmas!

      - Joe

  5. Linda says:

    Could you please post the recipe? the site does not give me the recipe, thank you and great Holidays to you and yours

    • joepastry says:

      Hi Linda!

      You can access the recipe in one of two ways: either just scroll down until you find it (you’ll have to go to the previous page). Or just go to the Bread menu to the left where it’s listed. The recipe will be at the bottom of the page. Good luck with the recipe!

      - Joe

  6. yvonne says:

    This sounds perfect! However The starter recipe link you use for the Panettone does not show up. It says page not found
    Help I was hoping to make this before Thanksgiving.But don’t know how to make a starter for Panettone
    Tx

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