Sundora ‘Panettone’

Edit : Links in this post that link to Dan Lepard’s forum won’t work as the forum doesn’t exist anymore.

Two years ago now I made panettone (pre my blog)  with a specially fed and nurtured starter. You can read about what I got up to and see the pics of mine and other people’s attempts if you visit Dan’s forum and read this  bake-off thread started at the behest of my friend Minadott. There are additional links to panettone recipes in this old post which I updated yesterday.

As I recall, it was like having to look after a small child, up and down all night. Fine if you are a pro baker, one who does this for a living, but unless you are newly gripped by the baking obsession, which I was at the time, it does seem just a little crazy.

I can tell you it was fantastic and I was very, very proud of it and it tasted very good indeed.  It was great fun making it, especially the part where we had them all hanging upside down in the kitchen off the backs of the chairs.  I could cut and paste my old notes together but I have a policy of not writing posts about old baking, you can’t remember the details and it’s a very long recipe to read and absorb. Have a look at Baking Ben’s work on Dan’s forum, right at the end of the thread are pics of his last year’s panettones. They are outstanding!

Before you attempt it though, I’d like to say what I think about mixing egg yolks into flour by hand. It’s really hard to do. In fact it reduced me to tears of fury and frustration the first time I made it, and then again the second time. The egg yolks form nasty little lumps and it is a nightmare trying to squeeze and pick them out of the dough. In fact I yelled I wasn’t going to make panettone again unless I had a stand mixer. I have one now.

Fast Forward to 2011 – Last week I opened a packet of Sundora candied peel, the only brand available retail of big whole pieces of candied fruit for bakers that I have come across in the UK. The picture on the cover of the box shows a huge citron, an orange and a lemon. The contents of the box are two big bits of coarse orange candied peel, a couple of bits of lemon and a strange slice of citron. I wasn’t that impressed, but it isn’t artificially coloured and there isn’t any choice unless you make your own.

I have made my own candied peel a couple of times now.

Depending on the fruit you use and whether or not you take your eye off the peel at the last critical stage (which I did this time, oh why, oh why did I do that?) it isn’t that hard, just time consuming, which is why most people don’t do it – but it does taste really good, so do have a go if you have time.

Here’s a photo of a successful batch of home made pink grapefruit and orange candied peel being put on the rack to dry, I used Pam Corbin’s method as in the River Cottage Preserves Book.  You can see her do it here.

Having inspected the Sundora peel I turned my attention to the recipe on the side of the packet for Italian panettone and in one of those masochistic moments decided I would try it. Not quite sure why but I did.  I tweeted a couple of pics of it and Azelia has asked me to write out what I did, so here it is, a classic case of looks wonderful but isn’t all it seems.

Here is the Sundora Panettone recipe –  if you make it please be aware that it is not as good as the Milanese style one, it isn’t as rich and it stales more quickly and the texture is more like a teacake or chelsea bun dough. Having said that, if you keep it well wrapped up it should last a week or so.

You will need either a proper panettone case or two or a big deep cake tin, preferably one with a drop out bottom which you can line with paper that the cake can stick to, yes you want it to stick!

I messed up the first batch of this by following the method on the Sundora box and once again was so depressed by the quality of the dough that I decided very quickly to make a second lot and ignore their mixing instructions. By this point I had remembered I had some special osmo tolerant yeast (SAF gold) kindly sent to me by the Songthrush on Cam, which she had got from the States to go to Mick’s Bethesdabakin event in the summer.

All the artisan baking type recipes for these sorts of doughs stress that you must add the fats and the eggs etc slowly to the dough so that the yeast has a chance to cosy up to the flour and develop the gluten etc etc. The Sundora recipe wants you to cream fresh yeast and drop it ritualistically in the centre of a pile of flour and leave it there for fifteen minutes. Who knows what that is supposed to achieve?

Having already messed up one lot of dough I thought I would try it another way altogether and if it didn’t work, well it couldn’t get any worse and if it did work, the whole process would be much much easier. I’m a home baker, not a patissier after all.

My list of ingredients based on the Sundora Packet recipe

  • 2 tsps of dry SAF Gold yeast (original calls for 25 g fresh yeast)
  • 2 tsps of warm water
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • 400 g of sifted plain flour ( I used Waitrose’s own brand organic plain flour)
  • Two tablespoons of caster sugar
  • 150 g of warmed semi skimmed milk
  • 1 tsp fine seasalt
  • a box of Sundora candied fruit, chopped fine
  • 1 teaspoon of Panettone essence (Bakery Bits) (could sub lemon essence, orange essence, which I have seen in the supermarkets plus vanilla essence, lemon zest, you’re aiming for a blended sweet citrussy vanilla taste)
  • 1 teaspoon home made vanilla extract
  • a handful of cape raisins soaked briefly in a splash of rum
  • 125 g of melted butter, slightly warm
  • 3 medium large egg yolks
  • Extra egg yolk for the egg glaze and a tablespoon of pearl sugar to sprinkle on the top

1 large panettone case

1 Kenwood mixer

I activated the yeast in a mug with the warm water and a tsp of sugar as it had been in my fridge for a while and I wasn’t sure if it was still viable.

It frothed up within about five minutes so we were on!

Into the Kenwood bowl and then I added the warmed milk, butter and eggs, Panettone essence and vanilla extract. Gave it all a quick mix together while thinking “this isn’t going to work, you’re not supposed to do it this way round.”

Into the bowl went the sifted flour, sugar and salt. Mixed away for about five minutes.

Left to prove in the bowl for an hour in a warm spot.

Came back, tipped the dough out onto a board, stretched it out, I could feel it fizzing away under my hands, so the yeast was alive and happy. Sprinkled the chopped fruit and raisins over the dough and folded it in. Kneaded it a bit, just because I felt like it and to make sure that the fruits were fairly well distributed.

Shaped the dough into a ball and dropped it in the case and went away and left it to rise, or not, as it pleased.

It rose steadily and well and once it had crested the top of the paper case, about an hour and a half later, I decided to bake it.

I brushed some beaten egg yolk over the top, made a cross cut, sprinkled some pearl sugar on for decoration and put it in the oven at 200 C which was too hot as the egg glaze went very dark very quickly.

I hastily turned it down to 190 C and then lowered it again after twenty minutes to 180 C and put a piece of baking parchment over the top. I baked it for about 50 minutes in all and this is what came out. It could maybe have done with coming out a bit earlier…

In case you were wondering about the other dough, that came out looking like the picture below (it was half the size as I made two smallish ones from the same weight of dough)  and all the nasty lumpy bits had disappeared by the time it was baked. I stuffed this one …

…. with a tub of chopped up glace cherries as Brian likes cherries and was pleasantly surprised to see they didn’t all end up at the bottom of the cake like they usually do. This first one was made with fresh yeast which definitely didn’t have the oomph of the SAF Gold, which based purely on this one experience, seems to be pretty good at handling enriched sweet doughs.

I don’t know if you can call it panettone, to me it is more like a very airy chelsea bun without all that horrible heavy sugar syrup, or maybe a not very buttery brioche or a bit like a kugelhopf, but if manners makes the man and a panettone paper case makes a panettone I guess you can call it panettone if you like.

This cake is not as rich and flaky, melt-in-the-mouth  in texture as a sourdough one. I would say they look the part and I’m very aware that if you’re reading this blog the photos are really all you have to go on, but hand on heart I wouldn’t recommend this recipe if you want something outstanding but it is still probably far nicer than some cheap as chips panettone in the supermarket and you would have made it yourself!

I’m adding this post into the blog because Azelia asked for it the other day, she thought it might be useful to see it.  For a top notch panettone you’ll have to use a sourdough starter, or an overnight biga, probably more eggs and more butter, hard fat like lard or cocoa butter and take the long haul path. I might yet do it this year, but not today!

Related Post  :  Links to Panettone Recipes – updated November 2011

Other Posts of interest : You could try this one, which is a bit simpler than panettone but sounds completely wonderful Annalisa’s Colomba 

29 thoughts on “Sundora ‘Panettone’

  1. Rachel K

    I have never dared even attempt panettone . . . and if I am honest it was because I did know where to get the paper cases rather than making a sourdough starter. (I hadn’t realised that it needed a starter! Do you think it would work with a bit of “old dough” I keep in the fridge?) But what a shame that this didn’t work out as advertised . . . it looks delicious.

    BTW on another note . . . what exactly is candied citron? I’ve always wondered . . . not orange, not lemon . . . grapefruit or lime perhaps?

    1. Joanna Post author

      Citron is a citrus fruit, never seen a fresh one in the UK, much pondered over on Twitter. This cake does work as a yeasted cake, give it a go if you fancy trying it Rachel. It’s perfectly pleasant to eat and I wouldn’t have written it out in detail if it didn’t work, but I would be misleading people if I said it was the equivalent of what I think of as panettone. Italians will tell you that originally panettone was a denser more solid cake and that this light airy melty one that is popular these days is a modern version. Try this, or try Dan Lepard’s perfect tea cake dough which has cocoa butter in it and is also delicious.

      Sorry Rachel I didn’t answer your question about using old dough. I don’t know if it would work, if you have used it in the past to raise rich breads with eggs and butter and dried fruits in the dough effectively then it might?

  2. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

    So much happens in one day, just this morning you were opening the candied peel packet and weren’t sure what you were going to do with it! I’m grateful that you’ve told us how the cake/panettone/bread tastes, because the photos look absolutely wonderful and very persuasive indeed…

    Thank you for a great read. I was in the Italian supermarkets today, and they were full to the brim with boxed panettones, from $5 ones to $40 ones. Folks were buying them by the trolley load… xx

    1. Joanna Post author

      Hi Celia, I did this last week not today, wrote the post and then didn’t post it, but thought it might be useful for panettone pondering people ;)

      It works fine and I didn’t really expect a magic panettone from following more or less the recipe on a packet – it just satisfied my curiosity and, incidentally, the Sundora peel itself, is far superior to the nasty boxes of pre chopped stuff you buy in little tubs in the supermarket.

  3. Misk Cooks

    Look at that height! That is just stunning. I love reading your recipe “autopsy” posts. It’s like reading a scientific journal. :D

    1. Joanna Post author

      Glad you enjoyed it! I was in two minds about posting a recipe, that says it aint that good, but it’s not bad either, I would give it 7/10 and say make it and eat it fresh!

      I was thinking that you could make a very unsweet version of this maybe, the pan d’oro is one with no fruit in it at all – or you could use other sweet seeds like fennel to give the flavourings. I wonder if Carla would have some suggestions….

  4. C

    You’re right, it does look excellent! I really enjoyed reading this post, because I like to know the person’s honest opinion of how something tasted, not just ‘oh this was lovely’ or ‘this was amazing’. I wish more bloggers gave as much detail as you do! (I always try to say what I thought of something in a descriptive manner, but not as well as you manage it!)

    And it’s interesting to read how it compared to other versions you have made too. Interesting about the osmotolerant yeast. I fancy making Dan’s chocolate stollen in the Sains mag and I think osmotolerant yeast would be great for that too. I can’t say I’ll be making pannetone any time soon though – too much effort! I agree about the mixed peel though – unchopped is a completely different thing to the nasty chopped version all the supermarkets sell, I was so please my Waitrose had the Sundora! Really must try making it myself at some point. Wonder if ‘Pam the jam’ has a recipe???

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thanks C – trouble is these posts turn into rambles and the blog medium is not really suited to long rambles. I would rather keep it short and snappy, but this one turned out to be one of the other sort ;)

      Pam has the recipe for making candied peel, here is a step by step of her doing it with pictures I keep meaning to write it out and haven’t got round to it. There are various versions, all involve soaking stages. Some suggest using glucose syrup to stop the peel hardening to much, some involve thermometers, some roll in sugar at the end… I will try and sort a post on it soon xx

      1. C

        Oooh, thank you! I think the difficult stage for me will be finding somewhere warm to leave them for 24 hours. Oh, and finding the time to do it in the first place! Hmm, wonder how much annual leave I’ve got left?!

        1. Joanna Post author

          You’re welcome !

          If you are making to bake with then it can stay a bit sticky I reckon, if you are making it to make those little chocolate orange sticks then you need them a bit drier, you can roll them in sugar too.

          how about an oven on a defrost setting while you go to work? Does your oven have something like that or a very low temp….

          1. C

            Sadly not, it’s a gas oven and not being particularly new, I wouldn’t trust it to stay on a very low temp all day (even if it had one, which I don’t think it does). I quite fancy those orange sticks too though. I’ll just have to make loads of peel!

  5. azelias kitchen

    Tonight when 4yr old is in bed I shall look through all the links properly. I had a look at Dan’s version this morning and see he uses 6 yolks per cake (makes 2) which explains when he says “it’s very soft and you scoop in the mixture”

    I feel I need the kids to go away for 2 days in order to prepare the house ready to tackle these long sweet hybrid doughs…more for the sake of mentally prepare for them than anything else..without the “..mum…mum…mum…mum..” which is distracting when trying to measure & figure things that are new to me.

    BTW I bought the Panettone from Waitrose that has levain in it, I think it was the one featured in the Food Programme on Radio 4 last year. It’s the best so far of bought Panettone til now.

    I know what you mean about the texture of these type of doughs, there should be a “tearing” quality about them not a cake-like-crumb. I think of it as a soft version of Challah, (is that right spelling?) it HAS to pull & tear away slightly, though I see Panattone as a much lighter version.

    I think that pull & tear only comes from good developed gluten. Now I’m writing this I just thought I’ll photograph my bought Panettone as a reference to what I mean which I believe is also what you refered to before on twitter.

    1. Joanna Post author

      I have just been at the Mall at Cribbs Causeway where there is a Carluccio concession and they have lots of imported Italian panettone classico and one with chocolate and pandoro all at £16.50 (!) I think for a kg cake in a box. They had samples out so I nibbled away and they are delicious: texture open, tearable, melty, buttery, delicate, reminds me of the way icing sugar melts in the mouth too. I haven’t had the Waitrose one, I will have a look for it next time I am there :)

  6. cityhippyfarmgirl

    Ahh, pannetone time again…it still sits up there on my things to do, although I don’t think it will be this year. Brain cells seem to have up and left home for awhile and I KNOW I need them if I am going to do this one properly.
    Love pannetone…actually and pandoro. Have you made pandoro before? I wonder if it’s any easier?

    1. Joanna Post author

      It seems to come round quite fast doesn’t it? It might be easier to make in the warmth of Australia’s summer than the chilly English winter ;)

      I haven’t made pandoro, I had a sample today in Carluccio’s Christmas shop and it tasted a lot like panettone to me, only minus the fruit so quite a bit lighter. I meant to add a link to Annalisa’s Easter Cake, Colomba which you might like and I am definitely going to try one of these days too. Here is the link Annalisa’s Colomba Dove Cake

      I am going to make bread tomorrow, much simpler!

  7. Kari @ bite-sized thoughts

    A very airy Chelsea bun appeals to me greatly – whatever name you give this it looks wonderful. I will confess to not liking candied peel, but can imagine some easy swaps in its place. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Joanna Post author

      Oh please give it a go Kari! Watch the oven temperatures as the top is likely to go dark very quickly with the eggy glaze, or protect it with a piece of baking paper. You can swap in chunks of chocolate or cherries, or really anything that you like. We’re still eating it, it slices beautifully :)

  8. heidi

    Looks good- I’m not a real big fan- but yours looks great!
    I’m working away at my gingerbread- soon I will assemble and publish- until then I’m baking and eating scads of bread!!!

    1. Joanna Post author

      I can’t wait to see your house (little quivers of excitement here !!!) And I must bake some bread this morning :)

  9. spiceandmore

    The photo looks very impressive indeed…and I too am glad of your honest assessement of the taste. Thank you!
    I am going to do it this year…definitely….on my list. Maybe even this weekend. Would love to get some pannetone baking cases so it can have that true pannetone shape…but I have not seen them in any shops. Ah well, might have to improvise. My son Sam absolutely loves pannetone and he would be so thrilled if I managed to make it.

    1. Joanna Post author

      There are instructions on improvising the cases on the thread on Dan’s forum in David’s post with the recipe given there. Have a good look at all the various recipes and formulae and good luck! Try this one if you run out of time, it really isn’t bad. Maybe sub 00 flour or a little bread flour for part of the plain flour and add cocoa butter and or extra egg yolks to make the dough softer and looser. I think I would do that if I was using this recipe again :)

  10. azelias kitchen

    Husband & FIL would love this yeast version, would not care that it’s not proper :)

    I will have to make my way through all the sweet yeast festive doughs I think and see what I like.

    Love the bit “put the yeast in the middle and leave it for 15mins..” almost as good as as being told, “…fold the dough to introduce it to itself” which is one of my all time favourite tosh things I’ve heard.

    I noticed Dan in his recipe suggesting cocoa butter…hmmmm…I feel a googling session to track some down coming up.

    BTW regardless of how you feel about them Joanna they still good, the yeast version, even if deep down it’s not exactly right.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thanks darling :D

      I think ‘right’ is always relative and since making and drafting this post last week, we’ve been eating this up, we don’t waste cake usually ;)

      What interested me was that I mixed it all back to front, ignoring conventional instructions about mixing the butter in later and it came out as you can see, and I got a much smoother dough.

      it reminds me of the bagel thing, chewy, fluffy, Montreal – what’s a ‘right’ bagel?

      Cocoa butter you can get in quite large chunks at most whole food/health shops these days – it is fairly easy to find in big cities.

  11. When Harry Met Celery

    Joanna, the texture of your bakes is always fantabulous! I just love looking at them. For my sake, do an eggless bake and I promise to try it in my kitchen :D

    Now for my blog, I have ventured in your area and baked some jalapeno brownies. You will be my best judge :D Tell me how you liked them! It is also my first ever dessert post :D

  12. veryberryhandmade

    Oh that looks so nice that I almost want to try it. But I love panettone too much to eat one that isn’t quite right. Julian Graves (I think they are a chain?) so tubs of candied peel that is quite good, although I can see the attraction of making my own. May have to give that a go.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Trouble is there are so many lovely treats to contemplate baking at this time of year. The candied peel is not impossible to make if you are planning on spending some baking time in the house and it keeps well in an airtight tub for a good while. I kept some in the back of the fridge for months!

      I do have a bit of a thing about foods that look ‘right’ but taste wrong. There was a fake cream that they used to put in cheap cakes when I was a kid that used to make me very cross, poor quality chocolate has the same effect This isn’t in that league, it’s a nice home made tea cake of a cake in its own right and If I had done it as teacakes and toasted them I would have been perfectly content :)

  13. timethief

    I’m not good when it comes to breadmaking. However, my husband seems to have the right touch so I’m going to add this to his baking list. :)

    1. Joanna Post author

      i saw your mocha shortbread fingers, they looked really delicious, hope to find an excuse to bake them soon – thanks for visiting TiTi :)

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