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.
FOR THE FIRST MIXTURE FOR 1200 g. OF DOUGH
FOR THE SECOND MIXTURE
TO BUTTER THE SURFACE
YOU WILL ALSO NEED
FOR THE FIRST MIXTURE
To prepare the panettone start making the first dough. Pour into a bowl the malt (1), the 65 g of caster sugar (2) and the 125 g of water at room temperature (3).
Mix with a whisk until the sugar (4) melts, then pour the syrup into a planetary mixer equipped with a leaf whisk (5). Then add the 250 g of Manitoba flour at once (6) and start kneading.
It will take about 5 minutes and as soon as the dough has taken consistency (7) add 65 g of sourdough freshened 3 times during the day (8) and continue to knead at moderate speed. In the meantime prepare an emulsion of butter and yolks. Transfer 70 g of soft butter into a small bowl and work it with a hand whisk until it has a creamy consistency. Add about half of the egg yolks (9) and stir.
Then add the remaining (10) and mix again to obtain a homogeneous emulsion (11). At this point add half of the emulsion to the working planetary (12).
To facilitate absorption using a drip pan, detach the dough that will have remained attached to the leaf and operate the planetaria again. When the dough will be well dry and the butter will have been absorbed completely joined the remaining part of the emulsion of butter and yolks (13). Work again until you get a smooth and homogeneous dough (14), then transfer it on a work surface, helping you with a spatula (15).
Give a spherical shape to the dough (16), transfer it inside a glass bowl, cover with food film (17) and let it rise for about 12 hours at a temperature of about 26° until the dough will be tripled in volume (18). In the meantime, if you prefer to prepare at home the dough of mandarins, oranges or lemons look at the box at the bottom.
For the second panettone dough using a spatula detach the first dough (leavened) from the glass bowl and transfer it to the planetary. Add 65 g of Manitoba (1) flour and operate the machine at moderate speed until it is completely absorbed. Then add the aromatic masses, that is the orange and the lemon paste (2); then add the honey (3)
and the seeds of the vanilla berry (4). Operate the planetaria again until the aromas are completely absorbed (5). In the meantime, prepare the emulsion again with 40 g of butter and 50 g of egg yolks, combining them twice as before (6).
As soon as your dough is elastic, turn off the machine and add 50 g of sugar (7). Start the machine again for a few minutes and add a pinch of salt (8). Let it absorb and turn off the planetary again. Add the butter emulsion in two times (9).
and finished working the dough, until it is well strung (10). In the meantime soak the raisins (11) and dice both the cedar and the candied orange (12).
At this point drain the raisins and pour it into a bowl, add orange and citron and mix (13). To be sure that the dough is ready turn off the machine, take a portion and if it will be thin but will not break easily, it means that it has reached the right elasticity (14); if this is not the case, knead the dough a few minutes more, otherwise add the mix of candied fruit and raisins in planetary (15) and start it again at moderate speed.
When the mix of candied fruit and raisins are well incorporated turn off the machine, peel off the leaf and let the dough rest for about 20 minutes inside the bowl of the planetaria (16), covering it with a cloth. Then transfer it on a plane, give it a few folds (17) and let it rest for another 30 minutes at room temperature (18); there will be no need to cover it. Do not worry if the dough is a little sticky, help yourself to work it using a tarot.
After 30 minutes, take 1050 g of dough, gently round it to give it a spherical shape and transfer it inside a 1 kg paper mould (the exact dimensions are 22 cm in diameter and 8 cm in height) (1). Use the remaining dough (about 150 g) to prepare two small Panettoni using the muffin moulds (2). Heat the oven to 35°, then turn it off, cover the panettone with a glass dome (3) and put the panettone and the small Panettoni to rise in the oven for 6-8 hours.
Once leavened leave it uncovered at room temperature for about 30 minutes, in this way a thin film will form on the surface. Use a knife to make a cross engraving (4) and put a knob of butter in the center of the cross (5). Bake at 175° in static mode for 50 minutes, after 20-25 minutes bake the the small panettoni and continue cooking the panettone for the remaining minutes (6). Then take it out of the oven
and stab it with 2 steel sticks on the two outer edges (7). Let it cool upside down overnight, using two pots or two bowls of the same height to secure it (8). The next morning turn it over, remove the sticks and your panettone will be ready to taste (9)!
Before using the sourdough, refresh it 3 times during the same day at intervals of about 2 hours, until it has doubled in volume. For refreshments use a Manitoba flour.
Once the panettone will be cold close it in a food bag for 2 days, in this way it will release all the scents.
The panettone, thanks to the mother yeast, once baked, keeps well closed in a plastic bag for 1 week.
Here are three different panettone recipes with unique flavors:
Instructions: Follow the same instructions as the basic panettone recipe provided earlier, but add 1 cup of chocolate chips along with the dried fruits in Step 7. Continue with the remaining steps as directed.
Instructions: Follow the same instructions as the basic panettone recipe provided earlier, but replace the mixed dried fruits with ½ cup dried cranberries and ½ cup candied orange peel. Continue with the remaining steps as directed.
Instructions: Follow the same instructions as the basic panettone recipe provided earlier, but add 1 teaspoon of almond extract along with the vanilla extract in Step 3. In Step 7, mix in ½ cup of chopped pistachios and ½ cup of sliced almonds along with the dried fruits. Continue with the remaining steps as directed.
Remember, you can always customize these recipes by adding other ingredients such as additional spices, citrus zest, or different types of nuts and dried fruits. Enjoy experimenting with these variations of panettone!
Enjoy! And good luck baking. 😉