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Relapse: Panettone December 21, 2011

Posted by inspiredbywolfe in Relapse, Sweet things.
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Relapse: An occasional series where I discuss several ways of preparing an ingredient.

This isn’t so much a full relapse, as it is some recipe testing / investigation I did to find the perfect panettone recipe. Panettone, for those who are unaware, is an Italian sweet bread/cake, often served at christmas or new year’s. Around here, is certainly ubiquitous in Italian delis and supermarkets leading up to christmas. With H’s family being Italian, I decided I should try and make some panettone from scratch, and (if successful), give it away on christmas day. I’ve never had homemade panettone so was not sure what to expect.

To be honest, I think the reason I’ve never had homemade panettone is because it’s really time-consuming to make, and you need to start so long in advance! I started with this recipe, which I scaled down to make one (large) panettone, rather than multiple small ones.

I started by adding flour, yeast, milk and eggs, mixing them together before leaving them to rise. After this, I added additional egg yolks, sugar and vanilla essence. I mixed these all together before adding butter and mixing it further.

I left it to rise again before adding in mixed dried fruit and some grated orange and lemon peel.

I left it to rise again (about 3 hours had gone past by this time) before putting it into a bundt tin. I know this is not a traditional panettone shape but it seemed the best option out of the tins I had.

Leaving the dough to rise for another 30 minutes, I was finally able to bake the dough. It took about 45 minutes until it was done.

Once it was cooled, we sampled the finished panettone.

The panettone was quite nice, but almost too cake-like. I wasn’t sure if this was the way it was meant to be (having only had store-bought before) or if the recipe was out. I decided to try another recipe to compare.

The next time, I tried this recipe, which I did not bother to scale down. I started with yeast, a little bit of flour and water, and let the yeast bloom. I added more flour, eggs, sugar and the rest of the yeast and water. After this was mixed, I added softened butter, mixed it in well, and then left the whole thing to rise.

After this first rise, I added more egg yolks, sugar, honey, more butter and the rest of the flour, and again mixed until it was all combined. And again, I let it rise until doubled in size.

Rather than adding dried fruits to this one, I thought it would nice to try the homemade nutella I’d previously made. I turned the dough out onto the counter, kneaded it a few times, then added the nutella.

Already this was a big improvement over the last dough; it was not as goopy and I could knead it without a problem. Overall, it seemed drier and closer to bread dough than cake batter. I was able to incorporate a large amount of nutella, before I put it in the tin and left it to rise for the last time.

This one rose more dramatically than the last one and I had to trim it once it came out of the oven. I let it cool, then we cut a slice to sample.

This was must more like the panettone I was used to. It pulled apart nicely, and was lighter than the previous one. It was the perfect balance of cake and bread. This will definitely the recipe I’ll use to hand out panettone gifts.

This panettone was far nice than the store-bought one, and in that sense I’m very glad I made it. It is not a difficult recipe, but does require forward planning and a lot of time to let the dough rise, rise and rise again. As long as you have the time and remember when it’s time to do the next step, this is well worth the effort.

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Comments»

1. Nic - December 21, 2011

So the tin worked then?!

inspiredbywolfe - December 21, 2011

Yes! It might not be a traditional shape, but it worked very well and was nice and decorative.

2. Linkmeister - January 22, 2012

I made what was supposed to be a fruitcake in a bread machine, but it turned out to look like and have the texture of panettone.

Photo here

I found your blog by way of the Rex Stout page at Facebook, which picked up your ransom note cookies.

inspiredbywolfe - January 22, 2012

Wow, it does look like you made panettone! I hope this was a good outcome for you, even if it wasn’t what you were expecting.

Linkmeister - January 23, 2012

Grins. Fortunately, it was delicious, no matter that it was sold to the family as cake. I had better luck with a chocolate date & pistachio bread I baked a few days before.


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