Panettone Bread Recipe

AuthorSteve Nubie
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Panettone is a classic Italian cake traditionally made for Christmas.  It’s a light and fluffy fruit-cake.  Most fruit cakes I’ve had in my time had the consistency of concrete, but Panettone is different.  One of the things that makes it so light is the use of a yeast starter that’s allowed to ferment overnight.  This starter is why a Panettone has a such a soft and tender texture.  This step is sometimes referred to as “proofing.”

The basic dough is easy to make in your bread machine using the basic dough cycle.  After the ingredients are mixed, kneaded and have risen you punch it down and put it into a special Panettone form.  This form is like a cupcake cup on steroids.  It’s 4-inches tall and has a diameter of 5 1/2 inches but does not have ridges on the side like a cupcake cup.  The sides are flat.  The Panettone form also has an attached bottom.

Another difference is that the sides are vertical rather than angled like a cupcake cup.  They are hard to find so your best bet might be the Internet or a specialty bakery shop.  If you’re lucky your local baker might sell you a form assuming they make Panettones.  If you aren’t having any luck with these resources, you can wrap 4 wraps of parchment paper around a small coffee can or any circular object that has a diameter of 5 to 6-inches with 5 ½ inches being ideal.  Seal the seam with a light brush of honey and hold the seams together at the top and bottom with paper clips.  Don’t use tape or it will impart an off-flavor while baking.  The parchment paper should be cut to 4 inches tall. 

Cut a circle from the parchment paper using the bottom of your coffee can or other circular object to define the size of the circle.  Place the form on a baking sheet and drop the circle into the bottom.  Don’t forget to spray the interior sides and bottom with your oil spray.  This is all a bit complicated but it’s better than skipping the chance to make this wonderful, holiday recipe.  

As a side note, don’t be tempted to use your bread pan in the oven to finish the loaf.  Many bread pans have plastic parts and lubricants beneath the spindle of the bread paddle that can’t tolerate the high heat of a conventional oven.

This recipe is not easy, but your bread machine can make the kneading step easier.  The loaf is then finished in the oven but that gets a little complicated too with repeated temperature step-downs as the loaf bakes.  This is why you shouldn’t try to finish the Panettone in your bread machine.  To date, no bread machines have a “Panettone” setting that can manage this 3-step drop in temperature. 

The recipe also calls for the addition of dried fruits that have been chopped; raisins and slivered almonds or chopped walnuts.  You should add these towards the end of the kneading cycle when most machines usually beep for the addition of fruits and nuts.  You could also drop them into a fruit and nut hopper if your machine is so equipped.  You might want to dust the chopped fruits with flour, so they don’t stick in the hopper.   

This recipe also requires that you make a starter from some cool water, and a bit of yeast and flour.  This starter should be allowed to ferment overnight, and you have to make sure that you only add 1/16 of a teaspoon of yeast.  The reason that just a pinch is so important is that too much yeast could cause the dough to rise over the ridge of the Panettone form while baking.  The result will look more like a giant mushroom than a nicely domed Panettone.  To begin, here’s the ingredients and directions for the starter:

INGREDIENTS:
STARTER INGREDIENTS:
 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour
 1/16 teaspoon of bread machine yeast or active dry yeast
 1/3 cup cool water
PANETTONE DOUGH:
 The entire contents of the starter from the bowl or jar
 1/4 cup lukewarm water (110 degrees Fahrenheit/ 43 degrees Celsius)
 1/3 cup sugar
 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) softened butter
 2 large eggs at room temperature
 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
 1/8 teaspoon orange oil
 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
 2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
 2 1/4 teaspoons of bread machine yeast or active dry yeast
(Reserve the following ingredients until the bread machine beeps for the addition of fruits and nuts at the end of the kneading cycle or add to the fruit and nut hopper if your machine has one)
 1/2 cup raisins
 1/2 cup dried apricots diced
 1/2 cup dried cranberries
 1/2 cup chopped dried pineapple
 2 tablespoons of zested orange rind or lemon rind julienned very thin
 1/2 cup of slivered almonds or chopped walnuts
DIRECTIONS:
1

Add all of the ingredients to the bread pan in the order indicated in the ingredients list but reserve the fruits and nuts until the machine beeps for the addition of fruits and nuts or place in the fruit and nut hopper.

2

Select the basic dough setting.

3

When the kneading cycle is almost complete, add the fruits and nuts at the beep or let the hopper do the work.

4

When the dough has risen remove it from the bread pan. This will result in the dough punching down.

5

Lightly spray the interior of the form with an oil spray for cooking.

6

Shape the dough into a ball and gently drop the dough into the form and cover and allow to rise for 1 to 2 hours.

7

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit/204 degrees Celsius and bake the Panettone for 10 minutes.

8

Reduce the oven heat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit/190 degrees Celsius for an additional 10 minutes.

9

Reduce the heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/176 degrees Celsius and bake for a final 25 minutes.

10

If you notice the top browning too quickly, tent it with aluminum foil.

11

When done, remove it from the oven and let it cool completely in the form. Some bakers prefer to let the loaf cool on its side on a soft pillow. (seriously) This is done to prevent the delicate interior from collapsing in on itself although that doesn’t often happen. If you’re nervous about that… go find a pillow.

12

To serve, peel away the paper form and slice.

13

It will last 7 days if wrapped or longer if refrigerated or frozen.

Ingredients

INGREDIENTS:
STARTER INGREDIENTS:
 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour
 1/16 teaspoon of bread machine yeast or active dry yeast
 1/3 cup cool water
PANETTONE DOUGH:
 The entire contents of the starter from the bowl or jar
 1/4 cup lukewarm water (110 degrees Fahrenheit/ 43 degrees Celsius)
 1/3 cup sugar
 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) softened butter
 2 large eggs at room temperature
 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
 1/8 teaspoon orange oil
 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
 2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
 2 1/4 teaspoons of bread machine yeast or active dry yeast
(Reserve the following ingredients until the bread machine beeps for the addition of fruits and nuts at the end of the kneading cycle or add to the fruit and nut hopper if your machine has one)
 1/2 cup raisins
 1/2 cup dried apricots diced
 1/2 cup dried cranberries
 1/2 cup chopped dried pineapple
 2 tablespoons of zested orange rind or lemon rind julienned very thin
 1/2 cup of slivered almonds or chopped walnuts

Directions

DIRECTIONS:
1

Add all of the ingredients to the bread pan in the order indicated in the ingredients list but reserve the fruits and nuts until the machine beeps for the addition of fruits and nuts or place in the fruit and nut hopper.

2

Select the basic dough setting.

3

When the kneading cycle is almost complete, add the fruits and nuts at the beep or let the hopper do the work.

4

When the dough has risen remove it from the bread pan. This will result in the dough punching down.

5

Lightly spray the interior of the form with an oil spray for cooking.

6

Shape the dough into a ball and gently drop the dough into the form and cover and allow to rise for 1 to 2 hours.

7

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit/204 degrees Celsius and bake the Panettone for 10 minutes.

8

Reduce the oven heat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit/190 degrees Celsius for an additional 10 minutes.

9

Reduce the heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/176 degrees Celsius and bake for a final 25 minutes.

10

If you notice the top browning too quickly, tent it with aluminum foil.

11

When done, remove it from the oven and let it cool completely in the form. Some bakers prefer to let the loaf cool on its side on a soft pillow. (seriously) This is done to prevent the delicate interior from collapsing in on itself although that doesn’t often happen. If you’re nervous about that… go find a pillow.

12

To serve, peel away the paper form and slice.

13

It will last 7 days if wrapped or longer if refrigerated or frozen.

Panettone Bread Recipe

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2 Comments
  1. Reply
    steve April 19, 2019 at 9:56 am

    Don`t insult other fruit cakes , they are usually delicious, not as you state, concrete, whereas a badly made Panettone can be one of the most awful of cakes
    Happy Christmas

    • Reply
      Steve Nubie June 8, 2020 at 9:11 am

      Blame it on Sister Rosina. She was my third grade teacher. She used to bring her fruit cake to class and we all had to eat it. It had the consistency of concrete. I guess I’ve never recovered from the experience.
      Steve

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