Panettone is not just a bread: it is a symbol of Italian craftsmanship and celebration, a centerpiece of family gatherings, and a gift that speaks the language of love and care.
With its tall, rounded shape, embellished with candied fruit and raisins, and its soft, buttery texture, Panettone is a marvel of baking that has enchanted taste buds for centuries.
In this recipe, we will honor the traditional techniques that make panettone a legend in its own right.
From the careful selection of ingredients to the patience required for perfect leavening, each step is a testament to the art of baking.
Whether you are an experienced pastry chef or trying your hand at this Italian classic for the first time, this guide will lead you to create a panettone that is not only visually stunning, but also rich with the flavors and aromas of the holidays.
So, lace up your apron, prepare your ingredients and get ready to infuse your kitchen with the spirit of Christmas as we embark on the delicious and rewarding adventure of making panettone.
Makes 1 Panettone
- 2 small bowls
- stand mixer with paddle attachment
- large bowl, for rising the dough
- 6 x 4-inch paper panettone mold
- baking sheet
- 2 (12-inch) metal skewers
- tall pot
- 1 cup raisins
- 2 tablespoons light rum
- 2 tablespoons hot water
- 3¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon active dry yeast
- ¼ teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ vanilla bean (split lengthwise)
- 3 large eggs (room temperature)
- ⅔ cup lukewarm water
- 1 tablespoon warm honey
- 12 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter (10-½ tablespoons softened and cut into tablespoons; 1 tablespoon melted, 1 tablespoon chilled)
- ⅔ cup candied orange (or lemon peel or citron, chopped if the pieces are large, chopped if the pieces are large)
In the small bowl, soak the raisins in the rum and 2 tablespoons hot water, covered with plastic wrap, for at least 8 hours.
Prepare the Dough
In the bowl of the stand mixer, mix the flour, sugar, salt, yeast, lemon zest, and vanilla bean at low speed.
In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, ⅔ cup lukewarm water, and honey.
While the mixer runs at low speed, pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients. Increase speed to medium-low and continue mixing.
Add the softened butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing completely before adding each. Increase the speed to medium-high and mix until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
Drain the raisins, and discard the liquid. Stir the raisins together with the candied orange peel or citron and melted butter. Stir into the dough with a wooden spoon.
Place the dough in the large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a cold oven with the door closed for about 12 to 15 hours, until the dough is nearly tripled in volume.
Discard the vanilla bean. Rub your hands with flour, sprinkle the top of the dough lightly with some flour, and turn out onto a floured board. Sprinkle a little more flour onto the dough.
Fold the edges into the center and place seam side down into the panettone mold. Cover with a damp tea towel (not terry cloth) and let rise in a draft-free spot at room temperature about 3 to 5 hours, until dough is just above the top of the mold.
Place the rack in the lower third (closer to the bottom than the middle) of the oven and preheat to 370° F/118° C. (If the dough is too high in the oven, the top will brown before the middle is cooked, resulting in a burned top crust.)
Place the dough in the mold on a baking sheet. Use a serrated knife to score and X across the entire surface of the dough. Place 1 tablespoon chilled butter in the center of the X.
Bake in the preheated oven about 1 to 1-¼ hours, until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out slightly moist but not wet or doughy. The panettone will be very dark (but should not be burned).
Pierce the skewers all the way through the panettone and through the papers. Hang the panettone upside down over a stock pot or between two objects of equal height. Cool completely, then remove the paper and slice into wedges for serving.