For us Italians, very little speaks of Christmas as loudly as this dome-shaped famous bread. In fairness, to call it “bread” is a little far-fetched… May this be because of the generous presence of butter, eggs, sugar and dried fruits….yes, let’s be frank here, it’s a cake, and a very rich one! At Christmas though, I refuse to deprive myself of the joys and frivolities this season brings, even if it means accommodating a little extra cellulite along with merry spirit. I don’t know many people who would go through the trouble of baking Panettone at home. I won’t lie to you, this recipe is not for first-time bakers or for those who need instant gratification. It is not difficult, but it requires one thing that we all seem to lack a little these days: patience! My strongest advise is not to go near this unless to have some to spare. But if you are willing, and following detailed instructions is your strong suit, please, don your festive apron, play some merry carols and get ready!
350 gr (2-1/4 cups) of sultanas, 100 gr (1 cup) of raisins, 250 (2 cups) gr of semi dried figs, soaked in a bowl with 200 ml (3/4 cup) of rum and enough water to cover them.
Soak for a minimum of 3 hours, preferably overnight
Making the ferment (biga)
100 ml ( a little less than 1/2 cup)of milk
100 gr (3/4 cup) of flour
1 sachet of dry yeast
1 teaspoon of sugar or barley malt syrup.
Mix the ingredients in a bowl with a wooden spoon until combined. Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove for 1-1 1/2 hours, or until bubbly and doubled in size.
Risen dough from step 2
200 ml (3/4 cup) of white wine or Prosecco
300 gr (2-1/2 cups) of 00 flour (or plain)
3 tablespoons of sugar
2 tablespoon of soft butter
Work the risen ferment with a spoon, then the wine (or prosecco, if you feel extra festive), flour, sugar and the soft butter. Knead until all the ingredients are well incorporated and the dough is soft and smooth. Place back in the bowl, cover and leave to rest for 1 hour.
Risen dough from step 3
290-320 gr (2- 3/4 cups) of 00 or Manitoba (or plain) flour
100 gr (1/2 cup) of sugar
3 tablespoons of honey
75 gr (1/3 cup) of soft butter, cubed
1 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract or paste
finely grated zest of 1 orange
dried fruit from step 1, drained
110 gr (1 cup) of candied peel dusted in a little flour.
Work the risen dough onto a floured board or use a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook (better option, if at all possible, because at this point the dough will be hard to handle), add 290 gr (2 cups) of 00 or Manitoba flour (or plain flour, if specialty flours are hard to come by), sugar, honey and the eggs, one at a time. The dough will be sticky and difficult to work, but don’t despair, it will come together in the end! Add the butter and knead well to incorporate, adding 30-50 gr of extra flour if needed. Mix in the vanilla and zest. Knead for 20 minutes by hand or 7-10 minutes using a standing mixer, or until the dough is transparent and shiny when stretched with your fingers. Drain the fruit that has been soaking. Stretch the kneaded dough to shape a rectangle, cover with fruit and candied peel (if using), fold onto itself, then shape into a ball and leave to rest in an oiled bowl covered with a tea towel for 30 minutes.
Stretch the dough with your hands to shape a rectangle, fold into three and then onto itself to form a ball. Put the dough back in the oiled container and rest for 30 minutes. Then repeat the stretching and folding one more time. Place the dough to rest in the bowl covered with a tea towel for 2-3 hours or until doubled in size. Folding the dough will ensure you an even and soft texture, with a moist, creamy crumb. Worth the pain!
Prepare the moulds. This quantity will be enough for 2 large Panettone, 4 medium ones or 12 mini ones (perfect for edible gifts). Only fill the mould until it’s 3/4 full as the dough will rise in the oven when baking.
If not using a special panettone mould, you can use a round tin, lined with baking paper. Make sure to create a ring of paper tall enough to accommodate room for rising.
Prove the Panettone in its mould or tin for 2 hours at room temperature, uncovered, to encourage the formation of a slightly crusty top. Make sure to sit the mould or tin on a tray, to easily transport it to the oven when ready to bake.
In the meantime, bring your oven temperature to 180 C (380 F). Place an empty metal bowl or a skillet in the lower rack of the oven to heat up.
Slash a large X on the top of the panettone and place a large knob of butter in the middle.
Place the tray in the oven, fill the empty metal bowl or skillet with iced water to create steam and close the door. The steam will encourage even rising and moisture.
Bake for 45–55 minutes or until evenly risen and the colour of dark caramel. A wooden skewer inserted in the centre should come out moist, but not doughy. If it looks like it’s browning too fast, cover it with baking paper, but keep in mind that the crust is supposed to be quite dark.
As a general rule, a large panettone will take 45-50 minutes, a medium one 35-40 and mini ones 25-30.
If using a panettone mould, pierce two long metal skewers or knitting needles all the way through the bottom half of the panettone and through the paper. Hang the panettone upside-down over a large stockpot or between two objects of equal height. Cool it for a minimum of 6 hours.
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29 Comments Add yours
Home made panettone? Wow – it is truly the sign of a very accomplished cook! Truth be told, I will not venture near trying it but I am wowed by the post. I wrote something very simple about it a while ago. In case you are interested
Thank you so much! I’ll come and visit you soon,
Just stunning, Silvia, and you’ve made it so specific as to how to do it…what an adventure!! xo
Thanks Ally! You are always there as soon as I post! xxx
it looks very good!
It looks better than some Panettone in Italy.
Grazie Alberto, mi fa tanto piacere!
Silvia, I am going out today to pick up the figs and prosecco. I have been searching for the right recipe, it looks like I found it. Thank you for the detailed instructions.
Let know how you go and please ask away if you have any questions.
My favourite Italian cake – this looks fantastic.
Thanks so much!
Silvia, your instructions are brilliant and now that I have lost my fear of using yeast I want to give this a try next week as I am a huge fan of panettone.. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe.
Please let me know how you go! If you are unsure about something don’t hesitate to ask,
I am very impressed you went to all this trouble to make it – looks like a long process – but clearly worth the effort. Beautiful!!
Thanks! I love baking and, yes, this is laborious, but the gratification os worth it! Thanks for stopping by,
What do you mean with “sachet of yeast”?
Hi Carmen, I mean 1 sachet of dry yeast, which corresponds to 7 gr or 1 1/2 tablespoons. Hope this helps!
Thanks a lot. ..I just took the pannetone out of oven , my husband likes it a lot , I didn’t believe in the recipe in the beginning , but it’s really wonderful, the result is great, next time it will come out near perfect …I am a Muslim and I don’t have wine at home , what can I use instead of it? Thank u very much , your blog is a pleasure to read , I wish I can cook every single recipe …
Dear Carmen, I am so happy it worked for you! It is not a simple recipe and it shows how much dedication you have in the kitchen. Your husband is lucky! You can substitute alcohol for any liquid, such as water or milk.
Hi Silvia, have just read your latest article in the Delicious Magazine and discovered your blog. In reading the recipe for panettone, it has inspired me to give it a go, just the thing for a slow Sunday! Hope you have a great day!
Dear Andrea, Wow, Panettone isn’t for the faint hearted! Please let me know how you go and post a photo on my facebook page!
Dear Silvia, the plan is to attempt panettone this Saturday, will definately post pics of whatever the result turns out to be!!
Hi Silvia! I am a beginner with yeast baking and not usually very disciplined about following recipes, so this was probably a particularly crazy project for me to undertake. But it was a triumph! Best panettone I’ve ever had, thank you! Your instructions made it easy and I love these flavours.
I was comparing this recipe with the Colomba Easter cake which seems to have twice as much yeast and an overnight rise in the fridge. Can this recipe also go in the fridge overnight? Would it need more dry yeast? Anyway thanks again for posting such a delicious recipe.
Yes, I can go in the fridge overnight anon extra yeast needed. Congrats on your baking success!
Thank you for this detailed recipe–I plan on making it for Xmas. A couple of quick questions; is the recipe for 500 gm or 1 kg molds and if I make it two days before will it stay fresh enough to serve on Christmas day?
Hi Paula! ! kg mould is best here. Because there are no preservatives in the dough, it will stale, just like any brioche or bread dough. If you want to eat it fresh, bake it on Christmas eve to have on Christmas day. If you don’t mind it toasted, then you can make it with a few days to spare. Merry Christmas!
By the way, I had look at your website, the villa looks wonderful!
Hi there, I’m up for this challenge but as always, I get nervous when baking with yeast, so I have a couple of questions I hope you can help me with.
In Step 2 (Biga), does the milk need to be lukewarm? Also, if the Biga is left to sit longer than the time stated in the recipe, will it cause any problems with the outcome of the Panettone?
Thanks for posting this fantastic sounding Panettone recipe, I hope to do justice to it! Cheers Silvia.
No need for the milk to be lukewarm, however it doesn’t hurt either. If you let the biga over prove it may stop working properly… hopes this helps!
Thanks for letting me know. I went ahead and made it before I received your reply, so went with a very lukewarm milk (to cover both bases ;-).
It turned out great, was enjoyed by all and even posted it on my instagram as my Christmas treat, so again, thanks very much for this wonderful recipe Silvia. Cheers!