Monday, December 26, 2011

Panettone Bread

Panettone Bread Recipe

I started looking for a good panettone recipe in 2009 and after a long research, lots of tests and few failures, this is a pretty good recipe and process.
Just as a warning, panettone is not a quick bread to make. It requires over 19 hours to get done and following the suggested steps, recipe and timing is very important.
The most important step of making a panettone bread is the yeast culture. This is when you leave the active yeast, some flour and milk to ferment for about 12h to create a very large yeast starter ( large number of yeast cells). This is not a labor intensive step, but usually, you will need to think one day in advance of when you want your panettone ready. What I do is to mix the culture at about 8pm and leave it to ferment overnight at room temp (preferable at about 82F). I then continue the recipe the next day at 8am and after all that is needed between mix, raise and baking time, it will be ready to eat by 3pm.

So here's the recipe for one loaf of bread, like seem on the photo above:

Yeast Culture
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup warm milk (about 85F)
- 1/2 tea spoons active dry yeast

Main recipe:
- Yeast culture
- 1/2 tea spoons active dry yeast
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup warm milk (about 85F)
- 1/2 tea spoons non iodized salt
- 2 whole eggs
- 1/2 cup non salted butter softened to room temp
- 1/2 cups sugar
- 4 table spoons gluten (this is important. Gluten flour can be found in most grocery stores)
- 1 tea spoon of dough conditioner ( this is optional. Can be found online here)
- 3 tea spoons of essence of panettone. I use "Fiori di Sicilia", found at King Arthur Flour, click here.
- 1 cup of candied fruits. This can vary. Some people like to use citrons or a mix of different other fruits. Because I couldn't find good citrons locally, I use just regular raisins.
- Extra flour, perhaps a cup, to work the dough consistency.

Note.: No, I'm not promoting any stores, I'm just giving few options to get the not so common ingredients needed for this recipe.

The yeast culture

Mix the ingredients and set on a pre-oiled bowl, cover with a plastic film and leave to develop for 12h. I have a fermentation chamber that I can set the temp to whatever I want. I used 82F for this step. You can leave at room temp, around 70 to 72F.
Passed 12h, now it is time to move to step two where the yeast culture will be mixed with the rest of the ingredients.

The main dough

Mix all dry ingredients in a mixer bowl (leave the candied fruits out), then add the yeast culture in pieces and the liquid ingredients. Start with a spatula tool on the mixer at very low speed, mixing and adding some extra flour until the dough consistency is dry enough to start releasing from the sides of the bowl. Change the tool to a hook and set to speed 3 (KitchenAid mixer) and work the dough consistency by adding flour slowly so it doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl.You want a dough than is as wet as possible. The hook should move the dough like a ball around. Do that for 7 minutes.
Next, set the dough on a pre-oiled bowl and let is raise for 1h at room temp (I use 82F).
After 1h has passed, set the dough on a flat surface and open with roller to about 1/2in thick. Spread the candied fruits (or citrons or raisins) and fold around and make a ball again.
Let is raise again for 1h at room temp (I use 82F).
Now, a little tricky thing about making panettones, you want to let the bread cool on a inverted position after baked to avoid a collapse. Weird huh! Yes, the professionals do that (see video below), so what I do is to set a pair of small skewers on the bottom of the panettone paper, like seen below, so I have holding support for to set it inverted later. The panettone paper molds can be also found at King Arthur Flour web site, posted previously. The ideal size for this recipe is 6x4-1/2in.

Completed the 1h raising time, press the dough with your palms and turn it into a ball again and set on the baking mold. Let it raise for the third time, now for 2h, at room temp (I use 82F).
The dough should almost double in size after 2h. Take it to a pre-heated oven at 350F for 50 minutes. The cooking temp and time is as important as the ingredients. I have failed few times until I figured these numbers.

Once baked, take from oven and let it cool inverted, if possible. Let it cool until room temp before you attempt to slice it open. Enjoy!

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