Christmas is coming and I the Panetonne season is now open. At least at home it started on December 1st haha I don't know about you, but I have always had respect for the panettone... I’ve had the fixed idea that it was very difficult, and I was never going to succeed, specially at home without professional baking equipment. I can assure you; homemade Italian sweat bread is very much doable. It just takes time, patience and precision.
If you follow these tips and the recipe I explain in detail and success is assured. Obviously, practice makes perfect and therefore it’s very important. The more you make Panettone the better it's going to work out. Like everything. Just don’t get frustrated if on your first try the crumb is not as airy as you’d imagined it would be. Just try again and you will get better every time.
Some important things to keep in mind:
- Patience. It takes time, not because there is a lot of work per se, but because there are many kneading steps with their respective resting time to let the dough rise. Sometimes they are long 😊 It takes a whole day to make this delicacy.
- How do you make the panettone raise? The ideal temperature is between 26-28 degrees. To achieve this, you can turn on the oven at 30 degrees and leave the door open. If not, you can let it raise at room temperature; if it is cold (as is my case) it will take longer. I'd rather it takes a little longer but be at ease. You never now with the oven.
- If you are making the Panettone in a place where the temperature is high, beware! You must work somewhere in the house with air conditioning throughout the process. It is a dough that in addition to the need to raise carries butter and at 35 degrees the butter does not hold and the dough overheats so it is likely not to work out (I had this problem when making a brioche a few years ago).
- You need a scale. You have to weigh even the water.
- As for fruits, nuts etc. I use nothing but raisins and candied oranges. Traditionally the Milanese panettone does not carry nuts, but obviously you can use the assortment you like best. Totally up to you and your personal taste. Respect the total weight of the fruits and make the mix you like the most.
- Flour: key to success when making panettone. If you have a chance to find the Italian flour, take it. It's 00 you need. In Argentina use the 000. IF you’re in France use the T45. In America Bread Flour is what you want, but I think if you can easily get the Italian kind.
- Yeast: use fresh yeast if possible. If you are going to use the dry active yeast, then multiply the amount by 0.4 (in this case 10 g of fresh yeast become 4 of dried yeast) and hydrate it for 10 minutes in warm water (use the water the recipe indicates. Do not add more water!). If you use the fresh kind, take out the fridge 20 minutes before using it.
- Butter should be softened, the consistency of mayonnaise. If you take it out of the fridge an hour before you start working, it will acquire the perfect consistency.
- Eggs must be at room temperature.
- Raisins: you should soak them in the equal amount of water 10 hours before using them.
- Use candied oranges that are of good quality 😊
- The "aroma" of the panettone: you should do it 3 or 4 days before using it.
- You are going to need knitting needles (or something similar)! When it comes out of the oven you have to reverse the Panettone and hang it upside down and we will use the needles to do this. This is going to keep the panettone from sinking and will help it to maintain its form.
- You need a stand mixer to make the Panetonne.
- You're going to need the special paper molds for Panettone. You can get them in amazon, “mercado libre” or specialized pastry stores.
- Weight all the ingredients before you start and respect procedure, specially resting times.
- I will list ingredients step by step.
- Ideal to start the process at noon, so the panettone can raise calmly throughout the night and then it will be ready to bake in the morning.
- The Panettone lasts 2 weeks if you keep it well; either in a can or wrapped in parchement paper.
- It can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 months.
- The recipe makes two Panettones of 1 kg or 4 of 1/2 kg.
- It’s better to have it the day after baking when all the aromas are well developed.
For the “aroma”, to be made 3 - 4 days before making the Panettone
Acacia Honey 45 g
Orange Zest 2
Lemon Zest 1
Vanilla Pod 1
Rhum 1 tablespoon
Mix all ingredients, cover with film paper and leave to marinate at room temperature for 3 or 4 days. Minimum for 24 hours. The more the better!
Fresh Yeast 10 g
Flour 70 g
Sugar 15 g
Warm Water 50 g
In the bowl of the stand mixer dissolve the yeast in the warm water and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix with wooden spoon until ingredients are blended. 1 minute or so.
Cover with film wrap and let rest at room temperature until it has doubled its volume. Between 1 and two hours. It took me 2 hours. It's going to depend on what your room temperature is.
Flour 100 g
Sugar 30 g
Butter (softened) 25 g
Warm Water 60 g
Add all ingredients to the bol of the stan mixer where you made the "biga" and mix (with the hook) for one minute at low speed. Until the dough has come nicely together and there are no pieces of butter left. Cover with film paper and let rest at room temperature until it has doubled its volume. Approximately 1 hour. It took me 1 hour, 40 minutes.
Flour 125 g
Sugar 50 g
Butter 30 g
Warm Water 60 g
Add all ingredients mix for 5 minutes at low speed until the dough is smooth and shiny. Cover again and it let rest until it has doubled its volume. Approximately 1 hour and a half. It took me two hours.
Flour 250 g
Sugar 60 g
Butter 40 g
Egg Yolk 80 g (roughly 4 or 5 eggs, depending on size)
Salt 7 g
Warm Water 60 g
Butter 200 g
Add all ingredients to the dough and mix at low speed for 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and shiny. Then increase the spread and knead a little more, until you notice que dough has gained some strength. It will stop sticking to the sides of the bowl.
Add the 200 grams of butter in 4 times with the mixer on medium speed. Wait for the butter to have dissolved well into the dough before adding more butter. Repeat until you have no more butter left.
Once all the butter has been incorporated into the dough, raise the speed of the stand mixer and mix for 11 to 14 minutes. Until the dough peels off from the edges of the bowl, and its shinny and smooth.
The "Aroma" that was made 4 days ago 😉
Soaked Raisins 300 g
Candied Oranges (diced) 100 g
Warm Water 60 g
Add all ingredients to the dough and mix until combined at low speed (it will not be more than 2 minutes).
Transfer the dough on a lightly floured surface. Beware: the dough is a little sticky, do not be tempted to add flour. They must work fast and use your hands to prevent it from sticking.
Stretch the dough over itself several times. I did it 10 times. Nice and easy. You are not kneading; you are just literally folding it repeatedly!
Place in a clean bowl and cover with film wrap. Allow to rest for 45 minutes.
Once again transfer the dough on to a lightly floured surface and this time fold in thirds, as you would fold a letter. Twice. Place back in the bowl and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Place the molds on a baking tray.
Transfer the dough on to the counter and split in two. Shape balls and then place in the molds. Cover with film and let the rest at room temperature for about 12 to 18 hours. The amount of proving time will depend on the temperature, but if you let them prove overnight, they will probably be ready in the morning. They should grow up to 3 cm of the edge of the mold.
Cream 1 tbsp
Salt 1 pinch
Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees.
Beat the egg, cream and salt together.
Remove the film wrap and brush the panettones with the egg wash mixture. Bake for approximately 45/50 minutes.
Do NOT open the oven during baking. Not until at least 40 minutes have gone by. I did this mistake and my beautiful panettone sank like the titanic ☹
Remove from the oven and push a skewer (or knitting needle, that’s what I used) through the base of the panettone, 3 cm from the bottom and 1/4 from the edge. Repeat on the other side with another knitting needle so that they are parallel. Hang the Panettone upside down by resting the needles on two cans, a pile of books or similar for 2 hours.
Repeat with the other Panettone.
After two hours, once it has cooled, turn it over, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve. If you can wait until the next day even better!