Panettone for the Holiday!

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Panettone was traditionally a Christmas bread sold all over Italy during the holidays. It finds its origins in Milan around the 15th century, and has been the subject of much romantic lore.  The most often told story of how this bejeweled bread came to be goes something like this.  A young nobleman by the name of Ughetto Atellani fell in love with the daughter of a poor baker named Toni.  In order to impress her, Ughetto disguised himself as a pastry chef’s apprentice in her father’s bakery. He creates a tall fruit studded bread to present to her father, calling it “Pan de Toni.”  The bread, rich with eggs and butter, sweet with honey, scented with vanilla and lemon zest, with the finishing touch of dried and candied fruits was a success in the bakery and wins the admiration of the lady and the father’s respect. The baker blesses the marriage and Ughetto marries the daughter.
The story is rich and fanciful, just like the bread.  Today this sweet loaf is no longer saved just for Christmas, it is eaten at other holidays throughout the year and served sliced and toasted for brunch and as a dessert with a selection of cheeses and sweet wines. The bread, despite its rather lighthearted lore is quite sophisticated. The traditional method for making panettone is done over the course of several days. It included long sessions of kneading and allowed for up to 20 hours of rise time in order to create a flavor that is both sweet, but also has a complexity caused by the fermentation of the dough. Today, we want the same balance of flavor, without having to labor over the process or wait several days to enjoy our bread. Although you can bake the bread after only a couple of hours of refrigeration we recommend letting it sit for about 24 hours to develop its full flavor.
There are traditional Panettone molds that are very high sided which come either straight or fluted, they give the bread its characteristic cupola shape.  These molds can be found in either metal Panettone-Charlotte or Paper Moulds varieties at cooking stores or on the web.  We have also used a Brioche Molds, and many people bake them in large, empty, parchment lined coffee cans to achieve the high domed loaf.

Panettone from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Makes three 1½ -pound loaves. The recipe is easily doubled or halved.

1½ cups lukewarm water
1½ tablespoons granulated yeast (1 1/2 packets)
1½ tablespoons kosher salt
½ cup honey
8 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus more for greasing pan
1 teaspoon lemon extract
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons lemon zest
7½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups mixed dried and/or candied fruit, chopped (golden raisins, dried pineapple, dried apricots, dried cherries and candied citrus just to name a few we’ve tried and loved in this bread).
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water)
Sugar for sprinkling on the top of the loaf

1. Mixing and storing the dough: Mix yeast, salt, honey, eggs, melted butter, extracts and zest with the water in a 5-quart bowl, or lidded (not airtight) food container.
2. Mix in flour and dried fruit without kneading, using a spoon, 14-cup capacity food processor (with dough attachment), or a heavy-duty stand mixer (with paddle attachment). You may need to use wet hands to get the last bit of flour to incorporate if you’re not using a machine. The dough will be loose, but will firm up when chilled (don’t try to use it without chilling).
3. Cover (not airtight), and allow to rest at room temperature until dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top), approximately 2 hours.
4. Dough can be used as soon as it’s chilled after the initial rise. Refrigerate in a non-airtight lidded container and use over the next 5 days. Beyond that, the dough stores well in the freezer for up to 3 weeks in an airtight container. Freeze in one-pound portions. When using frozen dough, thaw in refrigerator for 24 hours before use, then allow usual rest and rise time.
Defrost dough overnight in the refrigerator if frozen.

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5. On baking day, grease a Panettone or brioche pan with butter.
6. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1 ½ – pound (grapefruit-size) piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. Place the ball into the pan, seam side down.
7. Loosely cover the dough with oiled plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature for 1 hour and 40 minutes.

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8. Twenty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 375°F with the rack in the middle.
9. Remove the plastic wrap and brush the Panettone with egg wash and sprinkle with the sugar. Bake in the center of the oven without steam for about 50 to 55 minutes until golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped. The amount of dough and baking times will vary depending on pan size.

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10. Allow to cool before slicing or eating.

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It is wonderful on its own or served with Laura’s Marmalade on page 96 of ABin5. For those looking for a whole grain holiday treat try our 100% Whole Wheat Christmas Stollen on page 279 of HBin5.

My friend Lana asked me what would be the essentials for getting her son started with our bread for Christmas? Here is what I told her:

Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day ~ For those on your list who want to bake with Whole Grains or Gluten-Free

or

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day ~ For those who might prefer to start with the European style breads

Food Storage Container ~these round cambo containers are the easiest to mix in, but you can use a bowl or other container that is at least 5 quarts.

Oven Thermometer ~an inexpensive oven thermometer is key to understanding the true temperature of your oven. I thought this one was great because the numbers are BIG enough to read through the oven window.

Pizza Peel ~ this is an extra wide peel, which I really like for pizza. You can also use a cookie sheet that has no sides.

Baking Stone ~ I like this stone for its thickness and size. There are also round stones that work well, but for baking multiple loaves I like this shape best. The thinner stones tend to crack more easily.

With those few items you can really create wonderful breads! Of course there are many more kitchen toys you may want once you get going with this, but these are what I think are a great start!

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If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it with others using one of the social sharing buttons above. Thanks, Jeff and Zoë

147 thoughts on “Panettone for the Holiday!

  1. I made the panettone!!!!! I used the 6.5″ papers from King Arthur and split the batch in two (well, as close to in two as I could get it; this stuff is STICKY!!!!!!) and I used King Arthur’s fruit selection also, adding in dried cranberries. THESE LOAVES WERE GORGEOUS. We each got one slice, then the 3 kids came over, and I sent home 3 portions, leaving us with none. But I’m making more today (got all that left over fruit, doncha know?) and we’re trying it as french toast.
    Absolutely gorgeous breads, they rised (rose?) great (but now I read I should’ve let them rise a bit longer due to the larger papers they were in), but I baked them 20 minutes longer until the telltale thunk was achieved and they climbed out of the papers in the oven beautifully, I didn’t get the mufin like top Zoe’s picture shows, but they were straight sided and TALL. They taste like Brioche with good fruit, which I’m trying next after the panettone today.
    Hope everyone had a great holiday.
    I LOVE THESE BOOKS!

    • Hi Marcia,

      Happy Holidays, thank you for taking the time to write and tell us how the panettone turned out! No better compliment than the bread disappearing!

      Happy new year and enjoy all the bread! Zoë

  2. Hi Jeff and Zoe –
    just an update: I baked my too-much-butter panettone and, while they didn’t rise as much as I hoped, they were delicious! I wasn’t able to make a gluten cloak ball as the dough kept tearing around the fruit, but that didn’t seem to harm them. The final panettone were lovely and tasty.
    Thank you!

    • Linda: Butter-based doughs behave that way in our method— they seem to break rather than stretch, but as you experienced, the result is great. Jeff

  3. “Today this sweet loaf is no longer saved just for Christmas, it is eaten at other holidays throughout the year …”

    Mai!
    I have never seen this to be the case. Panettone is only sold around the christmas season. For easter we have the columba. I live in Lombardia.

    • Hi Paolo,

      How nice to hear from you in Lombardia, where I am sure this bread is still only a Christmas delicacy. It is mostly only found here in the states during the holiday season, but can be found at other times of the year as well. I will certainly be looking up Columba for Easter.

      Thanks, Zoë

  4. I baked the Christmas Stollen from HBFMD and it was declared the best ever by my family. Wonderfully moist, not to sweet, and everyone loved the marzipan in the middle. Thanks for a great recipe.

  5. I just see your video in Youtube. It looks very simple to bage the bread. I want to try it. But I don’t know what kind “granulated yeast” you use in your recipe. It is a instant yeast or active dry yeast. Thank for help.

    • Hi Angela,

      We’ve found that it doesn’t really matter which yeast you use. It can be instant or active. I usually buy Red Star Yeast in bulk at costco because it is the cheapest and works wonderfully.

      Thanks, Zoë

  6. I have just started using HB5 and am enjoying it. I have always wanted to bake my own bread, but was put off by the time needed and was a bit intimidated. Have used the master recipe, and also now the GF crusty boule (for a neighbor), and both came out very nice.

    Is it possible to bake more than one loaf at a time with your recipes?

    Thank you for this wonderful book!
    Carol

    • Carol: Definitely can do more than one loaf at a time– within reason, it doesn’t require an increase in baking time. If you really overload your oven, may need to increase the baking time. And different shelves will yield different results, so watch for that. Top shelf can over-brown the top crust. Jeff

  7. I made a slew of these for Christmas presents. They were wonderful. Last spring for Easter I baked bread every day trying to recreate my grandmother’s Easter bread. The recipe I came up with is this:
    * bread flour (5 or so cups)
    * 1 cup sugar
    * 3 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
    * 1 1/3 cup milk
    * 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
    * 4 eggs
    * 1-1/2 T lemon extract

    Do you think I could make this the no-knead way? Would it just be a matter of adding a little more milk?

    • Denise: If you keep it wet enough to look like our videos, you should be fine. Since this is bread flour, you’re going to need more liquid than what you have here, that’s my best guess. If it isn’t wet enough, it won’t store, but the max on this is 5 days (because of the eggs); after that it’s into the freezer. Jeff

  8. Got it. Thanks!

    One more quick question. Do I understand it right that if I use King Arthur AP flour it’s almost like using bread flour because it’s high in gluten (or protein…can’t remember which). So, use less flour (or more water)?

    • Hi Denise,

      Yes, if you use KAF, which has more gluten forming protein, you will need to increase the water by about 1/4 cup.

      Thanks, Zoë

  9. I am visiting my family in Brazil and decided to bake some panettone. It turned out slightly salty and not as sweet as we are used to over here. I suspect the salt here is indeed saltier (if that’s possible) than kosher salt in the US. So I guess I could reduce the salt by a little bit. However, I am more concerned about making the panettone sweeter. Is is possible to just add some sugar or honey? How much more sugar do you think this recipe could handle? Do I need to make any additional adjustments?

    Also, can I place the panettone mold on a cookie sheet in the oven? I’m having a hard time transferring the mold to the oven and keeping it steady in there. If so, do I need to adjust the temp or baking time?

    Thank you so much and greetings from Brazil!

    • Mariana: Absolutely, you can increase the sweetener. We like honey, and you can increase that by, let’s say, up to 50%. Or add a quarter cup of sugar to what we have in there.

      Certainly, you can place the panettone mold on a cookie sheet in the oven. Temp and baking time shouldn’t change much because of that. Jeff

  10. An off-season off-beat question. For a series of strange reasons, I’d like to add pureed roasted beets to this recipe to get a pink color (I know the inside won’t be pink but that’s okay). Can I just add the pureed beets without other adjustment or will I have to subtract some of the water? Would the baking time be affected much?
    Thanks.

    • Hi Rocky-cat,

      Do you want the beet bread to be a sweet one? We have a beet bread in our second book Healthy Bread in Five that is savory, but a lovely red color. The addition of beets will definitely require that you play with the water content because the beets give up a lot of water of their own. You will also probably want to add a bit of vital wheat gluten to create more structure in the dough. We talk a lot about this in the book and in this post: http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=1087.

      Thanks, Zoë

  11. Hello,

    I want to make the Panettone recipe from your first book but had a question or two to ask.

    1. I purchased some panettone paper molds, the dimensions are 6 3/4″ Diameter x 4 1/4″ high

    • Hi Leo’s Dad,

      You will probably need about 2 pounds of dough for these papers. You will want fill them about 3/4 of the way. If you end up using 2 pounds then increase the resting time by about 30 minutes and increase the baking time by about 20 minutes.

      Thank you for the lovely note, we are thrilled you are baking! Zoë

  12. (question above continued due to big thumbs on an iPhone keypad) – with the dimensions listed above, should my dough be 1 1/2 pounds or a larger weight?

    2. If the dough should be larger for the 6 3/4″ x 4 1/4″ paper mold, how would my resting time/baking time change.

    Thank you for your time and your work. Both of you have no idea how much you have improved my family’s quality of life in such a simple manner.

    Leo’s Dad

  13. Thanks for your fast answer, Zoe, I appreciate it.

    One other question I have for you:

    The maker of the paper molds recommends reducing the oven temperature by 5-10%. Do you feel that is necessary? The molds are from Kitchen Supply Company out of Forest Park, Illinois.

    • Leo’s Dad: I’d go along with anything a manufacturer says, even though it probably won’t matter. What they’re telling you is that their most is likely to scorch and look ugly. If you decrease temp, you’ll have to slightly increase the baking time. 5-10% ??

      Jeff

  14. I just made this panettone. I am a “by-the-book” cook, so I purchased the paper molds that were in the link in the recipe. They should have been smaller, or the sides could be cut down. I found a tin from Leo’s stick candy canes, lined it with parchment, and it worked great! I just tied a ribbon around the parchment, and it is a gift. No special paper or pan needed. I just cut into it, and oh, my. Melt in your mouth, not too sweet. Love the lemon zest in there.

  15. questions…
    i just made a batch of dough Brioche …. 3 days ago..
    but i didn’t add any dry fruit/ extract or anything…
    can i still add it to the dough , knead it, let it rise and bake it.. or… im doomed..?

    also, why is it so important to let the bread cool before cutting into it?

    thanks !!

    • Lily: Don’t knead it, but can roll them in. See our “Turban-Shaped Challah with Raisins” for an explanation of the technique, that’s in “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.” http://bit.ly/cNtfJI

      If you have “Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day,” (http://bit.ly/3wYSSN ), then look at the Msemmen recipe (but don’t do the final roll-out flat, just make a ball.

      Breads made from high-moisture dough really need to cool or they will seem gummy and underbaked. If you do small ones (rolls, skinny baguettes, flatbreads), this is much less of a problem. Do those if you like your breads warm. Jeff

    • Hi Lily,

      Another option is to mix the spices and fruit into the dough thoroughly, but then you need to let it sit to allow the yeast to develop air in the dough again. This takes longer, but the fruit and spices are distributed a bit better!

      Enjoy, Zoë

  16. thx for the advice!!
    another thing i noticed is that…
    my dough looks anit dry and hard…. when i get it out of the bucket…(but oily around the side?)
    i kinda “knead” it a bit , and then it seems ok… is that necessary ? or should i just let it be?
    (i let it rest for an hour, i sprinkled in some chocolate chip and 3 fold it… and bake it!
    hubby LOVES it… it kinda tastes like a baked donut!! hehe
    chocolate chips has a bit sour chalky taste to it… probably have to use the chocolate baking bar next time!
    i will try the suggestion tomorrow to add almonds and orange peel etc to the dough tomorrow!
    thanks again!

    • Lily: the less you handle, the better- can get dense otherwise. If you’re not finding that, then what you’re doing is fine. Milk products are tenderizers, also tend to produce smaller holes. Juices are also tenderizers (see Prune Bread in 2nd book). Jeff

  17. ok last questions tonight.. sorry!!
    i probably should go to bed now too…
    been looking at your site and reading abin5 until now…
    i substitute some of the water for buttermilk in the master recipe and this one as well…
    i got a really soft crumb that i like..
    so i guess my question is…
    what kind of liquid will produce what kind of result..?
    for example, does plain water = Large hole? etc?
    i am addicted to your book and site , can’t wait until your pizza book is out! :D
    good nite…

  18. This is my first time with this recipe and I am finding that a full batch is not enough for (3) 5.25 diameter paper molds. When I have my ball formed ready to place in mold and find it’s not big enough – can I add more dough – but that would take some handling. This recipe would be nice to have the mold measurements and how much it can yield (but I guess there are variables to different types of molds).

    Thanks!

    • Jill: If you just add dough to the top, well it will work, but the shaping won’t be perfect, and it won’t form a perfectly cohesive mass. Should basically work though. Jeff

  19. This is a great recipe! First time to bake this bread and gave away as gifts to coworkers. Was thrilled how well the recipe worked. So far all the recipes I’ve tried have been a sucess, so didn’t fret this wouldn’t be as great as the others!
    I do have a question. Have you ever tried, or know of a good reason not to try, brushing the baked bread with brandy (or some other liquor) like in a fruit cake? Thought it might be good, have one extra loaf I’m thinking of trying it…but wanted your thoughts first.

    • Denise: It should work, but go easy on it– don’t dump significant amounts because this is a fairly dense bread to begin with. But brushing should be just fine. Jeff

  20. Is there any kneading required in this recipe? I might be being stupid but it isn’t clear if you’re supposed to knead when you mix the liquids into the flour?

    many thanks
    Ian

    • Ah, nice, my first one is in the oven. Didn’t rise as much as the one in your photos – but it has risen.

      After chilling the dough, I find a hard rubbery crust forms – anything to do about that, or does it not matter?

      ta
      Ian

      • Ian: If the dough is alcohol-smelling, you need more ventilation in the container. If leathery, less ventilation. Or less head-space.

        But in general you can use that leathery stuff in the dough. Jeff

      • So yeah, all through this I’ve been battling my scepticism. All the panettone recipes I read require oodles of kneading and there this that requires none.

        but I served my first one this morning to my office colleagues and it’s delicious. Many thanks.

        Although if you can I’d love to know why this doesn’t need kneading and what the differences are.

        I’m entering, a Panettone bake-off in a few weeks time, and this is a good candidate for the recipe. I think next week I’ll try one of the crazy days long lots of kneading variety to compare the two.

        Any way thnaks for the recipe.

  21. I don’t have one of the books, just found you on the web – but I see I can get them on Amazon in the UK. Will the answer be in your ‘Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day’ if so I’ll get that.

  22. This is my second time trying to make panettone and I run into the same problem: the flavor is great but the texture is not. In my mind panettone should be somewhat similar to challah, where the bread sorta pulls apart, as seen in the picture just below #10 above, but I always end up with something border line cakey–a little closer to soft white bread. Any idea what I may be missing? PS your deli rye recipe has changed. my. world.

    • Hi Peter,

      Our version of Panettone is a bit cakier, compared to the traditional recipes. You can get a bit more stretch in the bread by kneading the dough for a few seconds as you are shaping the loaf. This may require you to let the dough rest longer before baking to get the full rise.

      Hope this helps! Zoë

  23. I just made the pannetone and I’m in love. I did switch it up a bit and use orange instead of lemon and only dried sour cherries for the fruit. My question is about storage. How would you recommend I store the loaves? I’d hate for them to get soggy or stale because I have stored them wrong. Help!

    • Hi Renee,

      If you aren’t going to eat the loaf within a few days you may want to freeze the loaf. This loaf, unlike our crusty loaves can be stored in plastic bread bags. Be sure that the loaf is completely cooled before placing it in the bag.

      Thanks, Zoë

  24. I just baked my first attempt at the ABin5 Panettone dough and it came out spectacular if I may say. I fretted over starting, thinking it was going to be more difficult than it was. Should have learned from the other recipes I have tried in your book that none of them is too difficult, just take your time and it will all work out. Did mini-panettones in 2 3/4 inch paper molds and gave the first dozen away this evening to neighbors for Christmas. This size mold takes 130-150 grams so a batch of dough will go a long way; I baked them for 20-25 minutes until the internal temp was 190. Thank you again for the wonderful book. Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

  25. Hi! I want to make this for Christmas this year however my stand mixer doesn’t have a paddle attachment and my food processor is definately not big enough. Can I use the dough hook on my stand mixer?
    Thank you!!

    • Lucia: Sure, just won’t be as efficient with wet dough. Make sure all the dry ingredients are incorporated and you’ll be fine, may have to nudge it with a spatula around the edges (switch off the mixer!).

  26. I just made my first panettone using this recipe. The website I linked to here is a set of photos my husband took of them.

    I did not use the zests or extracts, but just fiori di sicilia from King Arthur Flour. I also used KAF’s candied lemon and orange peel, dried cranberries, dried apricots, and rum-soaked rasins. I know you aren’t supposed to soak the raisins, but we prefer them. It is really delicious. I’ll add more fiori and the zests next time along with more fruit. Next time I purchase, I’ll buy the KAF Candied Italian Mixed Peel which adds citron to the lemon and orange peel. This is a wonderful recipe and easy to work with (if a bit sticky). I made a full recipe and baked a dozen mini-panettone in KAF mini papers. Then I froze the remainder of the dough. I’ll bake up the rest in a couple weeks when hubby and I have eaten our way through the first dozen.

    Thanks for this wonderful cookbook, it is my favorite of the 2 no-knead books I own. We use many of your recipes regularly, including the rye bread and the babka dough which I usually make into potica (we’ve both got a bit of Slovenian ancestry). We liked the chocolate babka and the cinnamon roll versions, too.

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