Panettone ( pan- eh-TOH- nay) is a beautiful and delicious Christmas bake. Panettone originated in Milan, Italy and is eaten especially during Christmas. Panettone is a bread; actually it’s a cake textured bread. Very delicate and soft bread with a sweet mellow aroma.
I experience a special pleasure in the making of this light – buttery, sweet – citrusee bread. At the same time – I was so much worried about the rise of the dough and then the baking. Because people say Panettone is fussy and needs to be pampered. So requires patience and discipline with lots of love.
As per my experience; Panettone is not a difficult bread to make at home, but yes! it needs time and patience. Basic reason, it’s a rich dough and is baked in winter; so will take time to rise. Tdhaaaaaa! So don’t be in a hurry to put your under proofed panettone dough in the oven. Wait till you get a perfect rise.
I won’t write more about, how flavourful and elegant panettone is, because there are few(actually many) important points which I want you to understand before bake. + There is this post about Bread Basics; Which you should read once (If not read yet)before you start, it will help. Let’s start with must read:
1. First of all good quality ingredients and accurate measuring of all the ingredients.
2. Panettone will have wet sticky buttery dough. So you will have to be patient with the mixing technique. The dough will require strong strands of gluten to support all the butter and sugar that went into the making of the dough.
3. Initially the dough is mixed without butter and sugar. Then sugar is added in several increments in the dough and kneaded until gluten is fully developed. Only then the butter is incorporated. One more very important note here : The butter must be pliable and not melted.
4. Kneaded dough will be soft, smooth, stretchy after the gluten is developed; Do a window pane test – Take a small piece of the dough and try stretching the dough with your fingers and thumb. If you can stretch the dough into a thin translucent membrane without breaking or tearing; that means gluten is well-developed.
5. I have used these paper baking molds which is traditional way of baking the panettone and are easy to use as well. You should be able to find it on-line.
6. Panettone needs to be hung upside down for few hours after the baking. This ensures that the baked Panettone does not collapse in the middle while cooling. (Something like a chiffon cake). Insert two bamboo skewers into the paper molds, before putting the dough into them. The skewers are left inside while baking and acts as hooks for hanging the baked panettone between two objects.
7. Butter your counter, hands, and the bench scraper while handling the dough as it will be a sticky dough to handle.
8. Make sure you use enough dough for the size of your mold. If less the loaves will not rise above the edge during the bake to give that lovely dome to the Panettone.
9. Your Panettone is ready to go in the oven when the raised dough is about to be even with the top of the mold. If you bake it before that point, you will loss the classic look and softness of the bread. And if the dough is risen way high than the mold, all the buttery glaze will run down when in the oven. So keep an eye; like how you keep an eye on your kids.
10. Make sure to keep the molds in a baking tray, when the dough is inside to rise. Trust me! it’s an easy transport to the oven, for baking. You won’t be able to transfer the risen panettone to the baking tray, It’s crazy soft to handle. The whole thing will deflate. That is a super sad experience.
11. One last point: Don’t forget to slash a large X on the top of the Panettone before putting in the oven. And place a knob of butter in the center, it will glaze the top beautifully in the oven.
12. Hahahaha, One more, the larger Panettone will take more time in the oven for baking. If you find that the top is getting super tanning; lightly place a foil on the top.
Large Mold- 45 to 50 minutes
Medium Mold- 25 TO 30 minutes
Mini Mold- 25 to 30 minutes