Thursday, December 22, 2022

Classic Italian Panettone - Easy Step-by-Step Recipe

Make your holidays extra special - the Italian way! - with this soft and flavorful, classic Italian panettone

Here is the recipe for the most beloved, soft, and airy Italian Panettone.

I am sure you've all tried panettone before. It is THE Italian classic, traditional, and a must-have Christmas dessert. 
It's more of a sweet bread than a dessert/cake, but you can serve it at any time of the day. 
In Italy, you would enjoy a slice of panettone in the morning next to (or dunk into if you're anything like me!!) a steamy hot cappuccino. OR after dinner with a glass of Moscato or Prosecco. 

Panettone is a 
soft and flavorful, buttery, and fragrant bread, originally from Milan, shaped in a big domed round loaf, and traditionally enriched with rum-soaked raisins, dried fruits, and citrus.

Last Christmas, I posted a simple and "quicker" recipe for panettone, made into individual-size shaped muffins. Remember those?!? If want to try these, here is the recipe.

Today’s recipe yields an airy, soft, and fragrant BIG (1 kg) panettone. I've simplified the original Italian recipe by using dry yeast for the dough (not the traditional pasta madre).

Using yeast allows us to make this recipe in a shorter amount of time (ready in about 24 hours). And it makes the process approachable to anyone (if you love baking and have the patience for it!). 

With this recipe, you still get the same flavor and the same soft sweet panettone. The only drawback of using dry yeast is freshness: this panettone will stay soft and fresh for about 4  days. While the traditional panettone made with pasta madre normally lasts for much longer - about 2 weeks. 

The recipe for panettone is a little time-consuming, but it's really worth the work and waits. 
Things you will need:

A panettone mold. This recipe yields a 1 kg panettone and these are the panettone molds I bought on Amazon. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Mine is 6-5/8" x 4-5/16" and perfectly fits the panettone.

I strongly recommend using a stand-up mixer for your dough, so there's not really much work for you to do but add the ingredients and watch the dough come together. This is the stand mixer I have.

A kitchen scale is highly recommended. Please weigh the flour for a more accurate amount. Or pour the flour into the measuring cup so it won't be packed (and too much!)
Whether you weigh the flour or not, you may need to adjust the amount of flour once the dough comes together. Depending on the brand or quality of the flour, and the amount of moisture the dough might need a little extra flour. 

There are three steps to making panettone doughIf you scroll down, you can find the complete printable recipe card.

First step: I make the starter (also called biga). It takes only a couple of minutes to mix the ingredients, and you can do that by hand in a small bowl.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the starter stand for 1 to 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Second step: Transfer the prepared starter into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment.  Add the ingredients listed in the order indicated in the recipe. You will need to take your time and mix for about 20 minutes in total. 
 Let this second dough rise for at least 2 hours or until doubled in size. 

Third step: Add the remaining ingredients (in order) into the prepared dough. Mix at low speed until smooth for at least 20 more minutes, until the dough is smooth and strong (still sticky). Add the raisins (or other add-ins) and mix for one or two more minutes, until combined. 

In addition to (or in place of) raisins and orange zest, you can add other dried fruit, chocolate chips, or candied orange peel (very common in panettone). 

Once the dough is ready, turn it onto the clean counter (no flour on the counter), and with your wet or lightly oily hands fold the dough onto itself several times. 
Please make sure to check my video recipe to see how I fold it. 

If the dough is too sticky to handle, let it stand on the counter for five minutes. 

Using both hands, roll it around to make it into a ball. Place in a large bowl. Cover with plastic for 4 to 6 hours in the oven (turned off) with the light on, and then in the refrigerator overnight.
Remove from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours before folding again and placing into the panettone mold to rise one more time. 

Some notes about the ingredients:
- Soak the raisins and orange peel (if using) when you start with the recipe so it has plenty of time to absorb the liquid. I use rum to soak the raisins, to give extra flavor. If you don't want to use alcohol, you are welcome to substitute it with water. 
- Remove the butter from the fridge when you're doing the second dough so it has plenty of time to soften at room temperature when you start with the third step. 

How to bake the panettone:
Preheat the oven to 350F (175C).
Wait for the panettone to rise until the dough is half an inch from the top edge of the mold. 

Careful not to deflate the dough, score an X across the top of the panettone using a sharp blade (or knife). And place a small cube of butter in the middle. 

Bake in the lower part of the preheated oven. After the first 30 minutes check the panettone and cover loosely with aluminum foil if the top is already brown and might get too dark.

When the panettone is almost ready, place a thermometer in the middle, center part of the panettone. Continue baking until the inner temperature reaches 197F (92C). Baking time should be around 50 to 60 minutes in total.

How to cool down a panettone:
Right after you remove the panettone from the oven, you will need to hang it upside down to cool. 
Pierce two skewers all the way through the panettone (through the paper), parallel to each other, about 2-3 inches apart, and about 1 inch from the bottom. 
Place the panettone upside down inside an extra large pot, hanging from the skewers and not touching the bottom. If you don't have a pan big enough, you can hang the skewers between two tall objects and let the panettone hang upside down in the middle. 

Let stand like this for at least 6 hours, until cooled completely. This is necessary to keep the panettone's round dome shape and airy consistency. 

You can store it in a sealed bag at room temperature for up to 1 week but best for the first 4 days. 

So, ready to try it too and master the art of making panettone?!? Remember to give yourself plenty of time for the dough to rise. This recipe requires several steps and a few waiting times. 
Just follow along, and be patient, and you will soon enjoy this amazing panettone.

PRINTABLE RECIPE CARD: Traditional Italian Panettone

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