Thursday, 20 December 2012

New adventures in Panettone

Panettone is one of the breads that has become more and more popular in the UK. If you have visited Italy in the weeks preceding Christmas you will have seen that the windows of bakers shops are full of lovely artisan panettone. They are piled in mounds and their look of plenty characterises the abundant  season perfectly. Sadly the artisan panettone is not easily found in the UK. So, with this in mind I have decided to embark on a panettone adventure. Silly I know. I have enough to do, but I love a challenge.

I have read copiously on this subject. and there is a very good blog post on

Where you can learn a lot of very good info about the making of panettone and why it takes so long to get it right.

However, and there often is an however with me, I have made a few changes as some of the ingredients that she uses do not fall readily from the supermarket shelves.

The panettone, like Rome,  is not made in a day. So, first and foremost give yourself at least 24 hours. That does not include the cooling time which is as important as every other stage. Doing a rough count on these figures, It will take a day and a half to make a panettone.

Next important point to remember: The first raising takes about 12 hours. So, if you can possibly manage it, make the panettone in the evening and then your panettone will be ready to cook in the late afternoon of the next day. This will allow you to cool the loaf and, if all is well, you can eat your panettone for breakfast the next day. Yumm.

If you want to have the characteristic shape, it is good to have high sided tins for making panettone. I bought two from Lakeland. This recipe will make two panettone. I bought 18cm x 7.5cm tins.

The panettone dough is made in two stages.

First  Ingredients:
  • 350 grams flour I used 250g strong flour and 100g plain flour. (Italians tend not to use flour that is too high in gluten. The use of the 'mother dough' will help to develop gluten and keep the crumb soft.
  • 190 grams water
  • 20g fresh yeast.Thank you Tesco for the yeast.
  • 83 grams sugar
  • 3 medium egg yolks. I used British eggs but as I always I am disappointed with the colour. Only in Italy are the eggs bright yellow. Oh to be there.
  • 83 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 86 grams lievito madre. See my other posts on making this prized beauty that I keep alive in my fridge.
Put all of these ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook.  Allow to mix on a low speed until the mixture becomes pliable and the gluten has developed into long strands. All that I can say about this is that if you pull the dough it should be about 24 to 30 inches long before it breaks. It truly is magical when this happens. I had to call my husband to show off. Well, why not. Cover. leave at room temperature overnight.

Back tomorrow

Well tomorrow took rather a few more days than anticipated as my daughter was ill and we had to go and look after her. 

So here'e the next stage:

Second Set of Ingredients: Again this deviated from wild yeast as her addition of water made the dough far, far too wet.

  • all of the first dough
  • 150 grams flour
  • 5 grams (7/8 teaspoon) salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or paste
  • zest of half a medium orange
  • 80 grams sugar
  • 125 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature (pliable)
  • 20 grams honey
  • 150 grams raisins
  • 126 grams candied orange peel... I made my own.... See below   

Put the first dough in the mixing bowl and add the egg yolks, honey, sugar, salt, vanilla orange peel. Mix until combined. If you think that the mixture is too still add about a tablespoon of water.

Now add half of the flour at a time, combine well between each addition.

Cut the butter into cubes and, while the mixer is on low speed, drop a few chunks in at a time. Make sure that all is well combined and the mixture has become fairly sticky. Don't add water now.

Add the candid fruit and raisins and mix until all is combined. 

Divide the mixture in half. It will be quite sticky and long strands of gluten will cling to your fingers while you try to do this. This is what you want.

Lightly flour your work board and oil your fingers. Now fold the dough from underneath into the centre a few times. This is essential as it will strengthen the gluten and help the panettone to keep its shape while rising and cooking. Drop into the oiled tin or papers. Cover with a clean carrier bag or a shower cap and leave in a warm place to rise.