This top-notched Italian pastry was originally a holiday sweet bread stored in cans during the Renaissance period. But as years went on, it becomes a part of every Italian family’s sweet table not only during the Christmas season but also all year round.
Panettone is a show-stopper round of sweet bread loaded with speckled raisins, candied orange peel, and almonds with a plush, buttery texture with the gentle taste of the vanilla bean. You can eat this soft bread in an Italian way by settling down for a slice of Panettone and enjoying it with a spoon of mascarpone cream or melted chocolate.
How to make Panettone
For the dough and sponge:
5 cups (600g) all-purpose flour, divided, plus a little more as needed
1 tablespoon instant yeast (slightly more than 1 packet)
2/3 cup water
5 large eggs
Finely grated zest from 1 orange
1/3 cup (68g) sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks, 170g) room temperature unsalted butter, to make the dough
1 tablespoon (14g) cold unsalted butter for the top of the dough
Vegetable oil spray (for the dough bowl)
For the fruit and nuts:
1/2 cup dark raisins
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup best quality candied orange peel, or a combination of 1/4-inch diced dried fruit, such as apricots, pears, cranberries, or dried cherries
1/4 cup dark rum, such as Meyer’s rum
1/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup slivered almonds, optional
Day One: Prep the Dough
- Prep time: 30 minutes
- Rising time: 45 minutes for the sponge, plus overnight rise
Make the sponge (starter) and let it rise:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir 1 cup flour and 1 tablespoon instant yeast together until blended. Add the water and mix with a spoon. It should be the consistency of thick cake batter.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes. The sponge should double in size.
Soak the fruit:
Stir together the dark raisins, golden raisins, candied orange peel, rum, and water. Cover with a plate and let soak overnight. Measure the almonds and set the measuring cup on top of the plate.
Measure the flour and salt:
In a bowl, whisk the remaining flour and salt together until blended.
Mix the dough:
Once the sponge has risen, transfer the bowl to a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Set it on medium speed, and add the eggs to the sponge one at a time, until each is incorporated. Continue at medium speed and add the orange zest, sugar, and vanilla.
Slowly add two and a half cups of the flour mixture and mix for two minutes, or until blended. You may need to scrape the sides of the bowl. The dough should be very soft and stretchy. On low speed, gradually add the remaining one and a half cups of flour until it is incorporated.
Knead the dough:
Knead the dough on low speed for 8 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic. Stop 2 or 3 times to push down any dough that creeps up on the dough hook.
Overnight rise in the refrigerator:
I sprayed the dough with vegetable oil spray and placed a piece of plastic wrap directly on it. I refrigerated it for 8 hours or up to 2 days.
Day Two: Shape and Bake the Panettone
- Prep time: 10 minutes
- Rising time: 2 to 3 hours, or longer if the kitchen is cold
- Baking time: 70 to 75 minutes
- Prepare to finish the dough
- Shape the dough
- Preheat the oven and score the panettone
- Bake the panettone