Friday, December 22, 2017

Panettone (Italian Christmas Bread) – Hard to Make, Or At Least That’s What We’re Telling People

I’ve never tried to make panettone before, mostly because of how notoriously difficult it is to make, or so I was told. Turns out that wasn’t the case, unless people are factoring in the time, as this does take three days to complete, but other than that, I thought it was a pretty straightforward bread recipe.

I think bakers like us regular folks to believe everything is super hard to make, so as to elevate their standing in society; or, maybe this is difficult, and I just got lucky, but regardless, I was thrilled with how this came out.

I may add a bit more vanilla next time, and possibly a few extra tablespoons of sugar, as it wasn’t quite as sweet as I imagined, but other than using all the fruit, I don’t think I’d change much else. Speaking of the dried fruit, there are so many other things you can include, such as nuts, and chocolate chips, just in case this seems too healthy.

You'll find the panettone baking molds at places like Sur La Table, or other kitchenware stores at the mall, but they're also inexpensive and easy to find on Amazon. You'll see both in this size, and also the more traditional, tall, coffee-can shape. It might be a little late to start this, and finish by Christmas, but I would try it anyway. Just don’t let your guests know how easy it was to make, unless they’re professional bakers, then do. I really hope you give this special occasion bread a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for one 7-inch Panettone:

The night before…
For the panettone starter:
1/4 cup sourdough starter (click here for recipe)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cold water
NOTE: If you don’t have sourdough starter, mix 3/4 cup flour with about 1/3 cup cold water, or enough to simulate the thickness of the one seen in the video, and add a pinch (1/16 teaspoon) of yeast. Mix, cover and leave overnight, just like the one in the video.

For the dried fruit:
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dried cherries, quartered
1/2 cup diced dried pineapple
1/4 cup rum for soaking fruit

For the dough:
1/4 cup warm water
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) dry active yeast
2 large eggs
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
all the starter from above
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
6 tablespoons softened butter

For egg wash:
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water

26 comments:

Austin said...

Why do you have a hole in your stainless table?

Unknown said...

Looks amazing! One question, chef: are the amounts of sugar and vanilla you have listed how much you used, or how much you would use next time?

Rudy Leue said...

I love your videos!

I live in Perú and I noticed that the sour-dough starter instructions, which had no place to post a comment, stated that you "throw away half, several times. Why? I looked for answers, but there weren't any on the blog. Why not just make half as much? I know I must be missing something here.

Thanks again for all the great info and your fantastic presentation. You are amazing!

Thomas Bernecky said...

That's a freakishly small razor blade, Chef John. But looks great.

Kris Jensen said...

Thanks for sharing this recipe. Have you ever used it in French toast? It's pretty amazing.

SHar Jeff said...

Great video, thank-you!

I have my starter mixed and sitting on the benchtop as we speak!. Its 3:49pm here in Australia on Dec 23rd, so it's going to be a Boxing Day reveal for the family!

Oh and I plan to use nuts and chocolate. I hate dried fruit :)

Thanks again for the recipe!

David Peters said...

John can you explain your Panettone cooling hole? I can't believe you cut a hole in your stainless work surface just for this recipe.

Sean Frey said...

Do you have a version of the dough portion for this recipe that uses baker's percentages? If not, that's fine, and I'll probably come back later with one after I test out the recipe, but would be good to have one with weights if you can finagle it! Thanks again, and cheers from a longtime fan

Sean Frey said...

Do you have a version of the dough portion for this recipe that uses baker's percentages? If not, that's fine, and I'll probably come back later with one after I test out the recipe, but would be good to have one with weights if you can finagle it! Thanks again, and cheers from a longtime fan

Jim Dowell said...

Desperately need a new bread knives and going nuts over yours! Have seen it in a few videos and would love to know the make and model. Any leads? I seem to remember you don't give many endorsements but hoping for a small festivus present. In any case that bread recipe looks great! Doing your prime rib recipe tomorrow along with some other fixins. Cheers sir!

aurorathewriter said...

Are you going to leave your table like that?

yishayahu gibson said...

What if you can't consume alcohol is there something else I can use for the fruit like water? Or no liquid?

yishayahu gibson said...

What if you can't consume alcohol is there something else I can use for the fruit like water? Or no liquid?

yishayahu gibson said...

What if you can't consume alcohol is there something else I can use for the fruit like water? Or no liquid?

yishayahu gibson said...

What can I use instead of alcohol? Do not allow alcohol in my family so can I skip the alcohol part and just add the fruit?

Jack Cen said...

Hey Chef John! I enjoyed your panettone video, it looks like it came out great considering it was your first attempt! HOWEVER, since you keep implying that bakers exaggerate how hard it is to make, I (as a professional baker) have to put in my two cents.

Your panettone has as very fine crumb, much like a brioche. In fact, that's kind of what it is: it's a sourdough brioche with dried fruit. It's not panettone. Panettone should have a much more open crumb. And that's the reason it's so hard to make, even for professionals: it's difficult to breed a strain of sourdough starter that can create such an open crumb in a rich, dense dough environment. The yeast must act very fast, and the timing of the bulk ferment and final proof are difficult to pinpoint. The rise has to be just right in order for the bread to come out the other end with a fabulously open crumb and tall dome structure. With how fine your crumb turned out, I'm certain that hanging your loaf upside-down helped the texture, but only slightly. With a real panettone, it's crucial.

But I'm sure you already knew that! Your version is great, and it's something attainable for a wide audience of home cooks. Just please don't say that we professional bakers are misleading everyone--traditional panettone truly is difficult to master. Have you had a panettone from Roy? If you haven't, the company is called "This is From Roy," and they're in the Bay Area. I'm sure you've had it. Jane the Bakery in San Francisco is also making panettone this year, you could also check them out. And here's an article from a few years back: https://www.bonappetit.com/people/chefs/article/matt-tinder-panettone

I love your work, and I hope you have a great holiday! Your fan, Jack

Unknown said...

Hello Chef john, loved the recipe.

Do we have to rest the sourdough starter (3/4th cup flour + 1/3rd cup water + yeast) overnight before adding it to panettone starter?

countererrorist1 said...

Absolutely Epic Baking Adventure! And the filming was great, too! Loved the shots of the upside-down cooling process--and that toasted slice looked positively sublime. Thank you, Chef John, and Buon Natale!

countererrorist1 said...

Absolutely Epic Baking Adventure! And the filming was great, too! Loved the shots of the upside-down cooling process--and that toasted slice looked positively sublime. Thank you, Chef John, and Buon Natale!

countererrorist1 said...

Absolutely Epic Baking Adventure! And the filming was great, too! Loved the shots of the upside-down cooling process--and that toasted slice looked positively sublime. Thank you, Chef John, and Buon Natale!

KBO said...

G'day Chef John,
Bravo! Bravissimo! I'm certain the Italian Army Catering Corps hands out medals and/or citations for the successful creation of this classic Italian Christmas bread. You, sir, deserve a chest full!
I know generations of Nonnas who, when asked, "Do you make your Panettone?" Respond with, are you patso!? That's why they sell them in shops!
So, like that other Italian 'impossible' Zampone, I've always kept further away from this recipe than a 8 footed elephant in a mine field! Everyone warned me: "It's not going to work! Buy one!" So I have, in fact, just yesterday (23rd Dec). Too late to make one now that I've seen your totally amazing, no stress, approach to this Italian culinary impossibility!
Thank you sir! I'm not waiting 12 months to give your method a whirl, I'm now planning to have one for New Years Eve.
I can't begin to tell you how you've helped me over the past few years; you've restored my passionato for cooking.
A sincere and heartfelt Merry Christmas to you, your lovely wife and your family of talented cooks!
Take care John and all the very best!
Bill & Joanne Halliwell
Hobart, Tasmania

Hazo DIY said...

Can i not add the dried fruit? Just leave it out the recipe. My family likes the Panettone plain

Melanie Landsman said...

For the quick overnight starter, do you use active dry yeast or instant yeast?

Adam Daniel said...

I have become obsessed with your recipes I make them all the time for my family. You are my secret weapon! I was wondering if you had a good Challah bread recipe! It is my all time favourite and maybe you had tips for braiding it!

Zeno said...

Any chance to have grams besides cups, please? The cup of sugar has different weight in grams than the cup of flour or the cup of water and so on... The internet offers so many conversions for each kind of cup... Not easy so!

panos panagiotis said...

Happy new year !!!