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

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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

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