Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Daring Baker: Panettone

Ahhhhhh....... tis wonderful to be back in the baking scene once again.  While I'm still limited with what I can eat (yeah, like bread... no can do since its impossible for me to swallow) I can still make and share. Since my last surgery I've managed to lose 40 pounds and keep it off.  The surgeon told me that I had to get my BMI level to 25% to avoid having the surgery again and I have succeeded.  My stomach was wrapping itself around my diaphragm and they had to stretch and pull on my esophagus, too. Then just a few weeks after that surgery I had to have my gall bladder removed.  The tubing down then throat caused even more swelling so I have to wait a year from the surgery to see if the swallowing difficulties will be permanent or temporary.  

I've missed being part of the challenges I once belonged too and am quite excited to be part of most of them once more.  Unfortunately I have had to be put on the waiting list for Secret Recipe Club and will have to patiently await for that one.

The challenge for The Daring Baker this month was to make a Panettone.  Not familiar with it?? That's OK since I was not familiar either.  Marcellina tells us it is a traditional Italian Christmas bread.  Its made with candied fruits but she has generously allowed us to substitute with other ingredients (like chocolate!) Here is my version....

Blog-checking lines: The December 2012 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by the talented Marcellina of Marcellina in Cucina. Marcellina challenged us to create our own custom Panettone, a traditional Italian holiday bread!

This bread is like the brioche hamburger rolls I made with the black bean burgers. My mom said it reminds her of a Polish bread she grew up with, which tasted best slathered in butter.
I also would have liked to add more flavors to this bread... but since I was baking this bread with him in mind I just stuck with chocolate chips.  I think toasted coconut and Craisins would rock with the chocolate!
      For the Sponge
1 satchel (2¼ teaspoons) (7 gm) active dry yeast
1/3 cup (80 ml) warm water
½ cup (70 gm) unbleached all purpose flour

     First Dough
1 satchel (2¼ teaspoons) (7 gm) active dry yeast
3 tablespoons (45 ml) warm water
2 large eggs, at room temp
1¼ cup (175 gm) unbleached all-purpose (plain) flour
¼ cup (55 gm) (2 oz) sugar
½ cup (1 stick) (115 gm) unsalted butter, at room temp

     Second dough
2 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
2/3 cup (150 gm) (5-2/3 oz) sugar
3 tablespoons (45 ml) honey
1 tablespoon (15 ml) vanilla extract
1 teaspoon (5 ml) lemon essence/extract
1 teaspoon (5 ml) orange essence/extract
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) salt
1 cup (2 sticks) (225 gm) unsalted butter, at room temp
3 cups (420 gm) (15 oz) unbleached all-purpose (plain) flour; plus up to (2/3 cup) 100 gm for kneading

1  cup chocolate chips

Mix the yeast and water in a small bowl and allow to stand until creamy. That’s about 10 minutes or so
Mix in the flour. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to double in size for about 20 to 30 minutes

First Dough
In the mixer bowl, mix together the yeast and water and allow to stand until creamy. Again, about 10 minutes or so With the paddle attached mix in the sponge, eggs, flour, and sugar.
Add in the butter and mix for 3 minutes until the dough is smooth and even.
Cover with plastic wrap and allow double in size, about 1 – 1 ¼ hours

Second dough
With the paddle add to the first dough the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, honey, vanilla, essences/extracts, and salt.
Mix in the butter until smooth.Add the flour and slowly incorporate.   At this stage the dough will seem a little too soft, like cookie dough. Replace the paddle with the dough hook and knead for about 2 minutes.
Turn out the dough and knead it on a well-floured surface until it sort of holds its shape.Don’t knead in too much flour but you may need as much as 2/3 cup (100 gm). Be careful the excess flour will affect the finished product.

First Rise
Oil a large bowl lightly, plop in your dough and cover with plastic wrap. Now we need to let it rise until it has tripled in size.

Take your dough and cut it in half. Remember we are making two panettoni. Combine all your filling ingredients and mix well. Press out one portion of dough into an oval shape. Sprinkle over one quarter of the filling and roll up the dough into a log.  Press out again into an oval shape and sprinkle over another quarter of the filling  Roll into a log shape again. Repeat with the second portion of dough Shape each into a ball and slip into your prepared pans, panettone papers or homemade panettone papers.

Cut an X into the top of each panettone and allow to double in size.
Rising time will vary according to method of first rise. If it has been in the refrigerator it could take 4 hours or more. If it has been rising on the kitchen bench in a warm place it should be doubled in about 2 hours.

When you think your dough has only about 30 minutes left to rise preheat your oven to moderately hot 400°F/200°C/gas mark 6 and adjust your oven racks
Just before baking carefully (don’t deflate it!) cut the X into the dough again and place in a knob (a nut) of butter.

Place your panettoni in the oven and bake for 10 minutes
Reduce the heat to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 and bake for another 10 minutes
Reduce the heat again to moderate 325°F/160°C/gas mark 3 and bake for 30 minutes until the tops are well browned and a skewer inserted into the panettone comes out clean.

Cooling your panettone is also important. If you have use papers (commercial or homemade) lie your panettoni on their side cushioned with rolled up towels. Turn gently as they cool. If you have used pans cool in the pans for 30 minutes then remove and cushion with towels as above.


  1. Looks delicious, great job on the challenge!

  2. Great looking panettone! Chocolate chips is always a good way to go.
    Happy holidays and good luck on the health side :)

  3. Your panettone looks delish! Congrats!

  4. I'm so glad you were able to join in and I hope your difficulties with swallowing are not permantent. Your panettone look wonderful and as a baker I know the joy is in baking for those you love. My warmest wishes.

  5. Looks fabulous! I agree, it sounds like it would be great with Craisins too.

  6. Welcome back and best of luck with your health issues - great job on your recent weight loss and I hope that things continue to improve! Your panettone looks amazing.

  7. Looks delicious - great job! Wishing you a speedy recovery too.