The story of how my lifelong addiction for Italian panettone bread recipes paid off.
Before I learned to make it, I’d only eaten panettone once in my life.
The first summer of college, a boy I was seeing had me over to their house for dinner to meet his parents. They were a traditional Italian family and his grandmother had just begun living with them so she was at dinner that evening as well.
After that night my taste buds would never be the same.
His grandmother made panettone. Not just a store-bought ripoff, or a recipe from hundreds of years ago that’s faded with time but a genuine, authentic, traditional Italian panettone recipe prepared by an actual Italian grandmother.
Needless to say, I was in love. With panettone, not so much with him. We actually broke up a few weeks later. But I’d occasionally remember that panettone recipe. I always promised myself I’d make it but then never followed through. Something more interesting always came up, and it ended up being something I figured I’d never cross off my bucket list.
But eventually I’d fulfill my panettone bread fantasy because then I was blessed with a huge family of my own. I have two beautiful little girls and soon as they were old enough, I promised myself I’d make my first panettone with them. They loved it, so I decided I’d start making one every Christmas and Thanksgiving.
Now this all happened before the internet was popular, so I’d sneak into bookstores and write panettone recipes down on scraps of paper before going home and try them. (Sorry retailers!) Over the years the girls and I got really good. So much so that our tradition evolved into a family competition to see who could find the best traditional panettone recipe (which got more fun once we got the internet) and who could bake it the best!
Long story short, my husband is sick of panettone bread. But my girls and I still love it. I’ve included the best panettone recipe we’ve ever found. It’s a combination of bits and pieces of the best recipes we’ve discovered over the years.
We’ve given you an ‘express’ / fast method to enjoy your Italian panettone bread but you can also refrigerate the dough in the fridge for an evening after it’s ready before you bake it. This was always one of the most exciting parts for the girls and we always used to say it was like magic happening in the fridge. We recommend you keep it in the fridge for at least 10 hours to get maximum ‘magic’ effect.
Enjoy! And good luck baking. 😉
Here’s are the ingredients you’ll need for the best panettone recipe:
You can find everything at your local grocery store:
- 3/4 cup (180 ml) water
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 eggs (we swear that brown eggs work better…)
- 1 orange, the finely grated zest only
- 1 lemon, the finely grated zest only
- 2 tsp (10 ml) vanilla extract
- 3 1/4 cups (490 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (105 g) sugar
- 1 tbsp instant dry yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup (115 g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups (225 g) mixed dried fruit (raisins, cranberries)
1 – In a bowl, whisk together the water, egg yolks, eggs, zests and vanilla.
2 – In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Add the egg mixture and knead until the dough starts to form.
3 – Add the butter and knead for 5 minutes. The dough will be soft and very sticky. Place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm, humid place for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
4 – Fold the fruit into the dough until it is completely incorporated. Pour the dough into a 7-inch (18 cm) paper panettone mould. Place on a baking sheet. Let rise, uncovered, in a warm, humid place for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the dough has risen just above the edge of the mould.
5 – With the rack in the middle position, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
6 – After bake for 40 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted into the centre of the panettone comes out clean.
7 – Remove from the oven. Insert two long skewers through the paper mould and through the base of the panettone, making sure they are parallel (see note).
8 – Invert and suspend the panettone by the skewers in a large pot. It must not touch the sides or bottom of the pot. Let cool completely. The panettone will keep for 1 week under a cake dome at room temperature.