Another Update : December 2014
As Celia has referenced this post which I had long forgotten, I just wanted to add a pair of links. Firstly to Michael Wilson’s Italian Baking Blog Staff of Life and secondly to The Fresh Loaf where Michael Wilson also posts and discusses panettone and pandoro formulae he has worked on. Michael Wilson’s work is some of the best I have found on the internet for people wanting to know more about using natural yeast/sourdough/madre/lieveto naturo for making these fantastic and special breads.
As I recall the most important thing is to supercharge the starter so it reproduces and builds very quickly, stays mild and ‘yeasty’ as opposed to slow and ‘bacterial’. If you can get hold of SAF Gold dried yeast if you are doing a yeasted version, this yeast copes better with the load of sugar, eggs, butter etc than ordinary dried yeast. It is called ‘osmo-tolerant’. Anyway good luck all ye home bakers of panettone, May the rise be with you!
And just to show you that I do still occasionally bake these enriched breads – above is a crumb shot of a pandoro I made back in 2013 using the recipe and method from Artisan Baking Across America by Maggie Glezer which she calls Bruno’s Pandoro. It is very similar to panettone and in some ways easier to make as it has no fruit in it.
November 2011: I thought I’d just update this quickly as people keep asking me about panettone and I haven’t made one of the all bells and whistles ones yet this year,
I have made this one that looks like panettone and has the flavours and fruits and if you have run out of time or eggs you could give this one a try like I did. It is not as tender and melt in the mouth as one of the ones made from the recipes below but it’s a nice cake and I see similar ones on lots of blogs here and there. There are no short cuts to the best panettone.
For those people who pitch up here on a serious modern style panettone hunt here are some suggestions:-
Floyd who runs the Fresh Loaf, that wonderful international forum for bread bakers wrote this post about making panettone without all the fancy bits. I am sure that if you visit over there and have a little search you will find many fine bakers making panettone to inspire you too. Edit : Here is a recent post by txfarmer with pictures to drool over! The recipe he used is here on itchefs – I am going to read it later but just adding it in quickly now. Lots and lots of egg yolks!
The one I made in 2009, all by hand was so good I made them several times in various shapes and sizes, followed the method and recipe from Susan at Wild Yeast’s recipe and method here – it worked for me and I really like the topping!
Edit December 2012. Susan at Wild Yeast has written an updated post with even more detail and tips and I am having another go this holiday.
She has other panettone posts on her site too, so spend some time there as she is a master baker.
Dan Lepard has a recipe here that I would love to make if I have the time. He has also written a new ‘easy panettone’ recipe which you can find on the Guardian’s site in the How to Bake column that he does each week there. The old forum where so many of us contributed has been put to bed so I have taken out the links to the big panettone post there as it is no longer available to view.
For those of you who hanker after the pearl sugar to sprinkle on the top; one UK source is Totally Swedish who have a webshop and a retail shop in London, they also have packets of a yeast type designed for sweet breads, which I think is the same thing as osmo-tolerant yeast. If anyone knows of other sources, I’d be happy to list them here. Bakery Bits has the cases in all sizes, pearl sugar as of this year (2011) and the fabled Fiori di Sicilia and Panettone essences in stock as well.
Joanna @ Zeb Bakes
PS Here is a pic of my sourdough at the ‘1st dough’ stage of Susan’s instructions one Christmas, nestled under the stairs on top of the water heater… I thought it might explode…
Other suggestions for panettone recipes : Lynn has found this one in Delicious magazine
Do have a look at Ulrike’s classic Milanese panettone. (see her comment below) She’s a very fine baker indeed!
Joanna – Thanks for the links. I have to admit yours was the first blog I checked out when I was thinking of making some. I was all set to attempt mini panettone’s as gifts. I even got around to ordering the essence and paper cases from Bakery Bits. But it was not meant to be for this year, the order went astray and was never received apparently. Don’t think I’m going to have the time now. Still something to look forward to next year :)
That’s a real shame Choclette, there’s a chocolate version on Wild Yeast’s site too…. maybe an Easter cake? :)
Frankly, I’m such a panettone ‘babe in the woods’ that I’d be frightened to suggest any links I’ve used previously – but I appreciate you doing so. I’m planning to get into the panettone this week, and to use those cute little individual molds you kindly sent me – I think you have them pictured in one of your shots above (top right? – actually, I now see that almost all your shots are of the individual molds!) – are those molds used without any additional support? Or do they need to be inside something, like a muffin pan?
At the risk of losing even more credibility among my baking blogger friends, may I say that I’ve never quite understood why panettone is traditionally done in those strangely shaped molds! Am I alone in thinking that this shape makes for a very difficult slicing and serving? I was so glad to see that there was a legitimate alternative (aside from me doing them in a muffin tin) to the traditional molds.
Hey Babe, I think the ones I sent you are proper Italian ones! The ones in the pic were oversized muffin cases that I found on ebay (search for large muffin cases, these came from Malaysia) when I was on my original quest for materials to make these with. I did make ones in cake sized cases but the tops didn’t come out quite so pretty (burnt the almonds!) I’ll dig out a pic for you later.
They don’t need to be inside anything else, because the dough is expected to at least double if not triple. trebble, trouble?? in height. Why are they cooked in paper cases? It helps absorb the grease and traditionally you hang them upside down once you take them out of the oven as they are so full of air, so it helps with that part of the process.
They are one of the great buy and exchange gifts that circulate round Italian homes at this time of year according to my Sicilian neighbour. There are lots of fancy ones, filled with lemon, chocolate, soaked in alcohol and so on. If you get a good one, it looks huge and you cut great airy slices out of it, which kind of shrink down in your mouth when you eat them, like prawn crackers do. It’s a display cake. Bad ones are dry and a bit insipid, good ones are moist and fragrant and have interesting bits in them… Lots of people prefer stollen, which are easier to make than these. I like the crunchy top you get with the sugar bits and the contrast with the open, almost tearable crumb of the panettone, and like so many things on the bread adventure, it was a revelation making my own.
Sorry Jo, I lost track of your response – thanks for answering my query – OK, I’ll be using your little individual molds for the panettone this year. When I lived in New Jersey, there were many Italian neighbors and Italian bakeries – so it was possible to buy decent panettone – out here, there is no such thing – so baking your own is the only way to get good stuff.
Thanks for helping with this.
I bet you had fantastic panettone in New Jersey! However you go about it, I am sure it will taste wonderful :)
Thanks for the great links. I barely scrambled to cut & soak my fruit for Xmas cake yesterday. Hope I get there in time, else it’s gonna be a New Year Cake!
You’re welcome Deeba – looking forward to seeing your cake too!
I tried this recipe and here are some pictures
That recipe is beautifully written out, I hope other people go and check it too! It looks similar to the way Susan did it, but I haven’t looked at the recipe for a year now! I love the pictures too Ulrike, and again hope that other people will go and see them. They really show how soft and shiny the panettone dough is. I recommend trying Susan’s topping if you ever make it again. Thanks so much for the links :)
I haven’t done any Christmas baking – I will only eat it.
Fantastic – where would all the bakers be without you? Have a wonderful Christmas :D
I have looked at Susan’s link so many times, and then just get to daunted by it. For the moment will just have to quietly salivate looking at pictures of others making them.
If time is my friend, I might attempt a stollen though…
Stollen is mostly down to the shape and the coating, the annointing of the baked bread with melted butter and drenching in icing sugar, you can use any dough you are comfortable with for that and just load it up with the fruits etc you like. I’ve added a link to a quicker panettone from Delicious magazine, no idea how good it is, but might be worth a look. The link Ulrike gives is very similar to the Susan one, stripped down to the schedule of getting the starter super boosted. Brydie, why do you think I haven’t started making panettone yet this year? It is daunting and without a mixer, like last year, makes one weep trying to get all the eggs into the fermented dough smoothly by hand.
Honestly I don’t anybody else has topped the Italians with that bread! Although the French do make a great brioche, but does it get to those heights? I don’t think so; which is why I must make it this year, come hell or high water and eat most of it and then make a hundred more for my friends and neighbors. I think.
Welcome Joumana! Thank you for visiting my blog :) I totally agree, it’s a spectacular shaped bread. I’ve been reading panettone posts for this season in the last few days. Ben has made a beautiful one (on Dan Lepard’s forum) and Daisy A has just posted her first attempt, very good it is too!, she hand kneaded (air kneaded) her dough and describes it in detail, on the Fresh Loaf, though I can’t imagine doing that for a large quantity of dough myself. Are you going to make a yeasted version or do it with a lieveto naturo? Hope to hear more…. I’m just reading your Zaatar Scones with labneh post – your blog is full of wonderful recipes and pictures, I am going to have to spend some time there eating with my eyes!
Jo I just looked up that recipe you sent me. And I must admit that two days before Christmas, having spent the last two days in bed sick…it feels way too hard to tackle this year. But perhaps it is a good project for Easter as you suggested. I will have to travel to the Italian part of town to see if I can find a really good one to buy instead!
Hi, you know I haven’t made one either this year – I got as far as making some candied peel…. and I’ve not had a two day window where I feel I could keep my eye on that very complicated starter. So today I made a fruit cake – finally got round to it – and did some spicy nuts and that’s the first bit of baking/making I have done for Christmas. My blog should be called’ Zeb Bakes, except not very much at Christmas’ ;)
Take it easy and have a lovely holiday. Hope you are over the worst of being sick, miserable at this time of year x
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