First panettone


Well, influenced by the posts on panettone on my "other" bread forum, The Fresh Loaf, I took the plunge. The recipe I followed was Peter Reinhart's in The Bread Baker's Apprentice. He uses a wild ferment, but also spikes the dough with commercial instant dry yeast. I tend to be a sourdough purist with bread, but on this occasion, since I had never attempted panettone and had the impression from other folk that it was challenging, I decided to stay with Reinhart's recipe re adding the instant yeast. Just thought I should fess up on that, this being a sourdough forum.

I made a few tweaks to Reinhart's recipe, some by necessity. For example, I couldn't track down any fiori di sicilia, and instead made do with natural vanilla extract and Moroccan orange flower water, plus some fresh grated lemon zest. It worked out fine - more than fine, actually.

During the baking, the aroma filling the kitchen was simply - whaddayasay? - oh mama! This alone was reward enough for effort.

I had to guess the baking times. Reinhart gave a baking time range from 30 mins for small panettone to 1.5 hours for large ones, using either panettone pans or the traditional paper moulds. I had a small pan and a large one I usually use for cakes, so settled on 1 hour and 1.5 hours respectively. Fortunately, it worked out.

This is turning into the sort of detailed post that ends up boring all but the writer, so I'll cut to the chase at this point.

Result? Thrilling! This is without doubt the best panettone I have tasted. Far more depth of flavour and moister than the commercial Italian imported panettones I have tried (and that's all I can go on...I haven't had the pleasure of sampling the real deal in Italy, fresh out of an acclaimed Italian bakery).

Aesthetically, as the pics will show, I didn't do so well. The top was not domed enough and the relatively shallow cake tins precluded the sort of tall rise that are a defining feature of traditional panettones. Also, Reinhart instructed that the tops be lightly sprayed with olive oil; I had no spray, so I brushed on some oil, and I think that's why the top ended up with the look it has - the oil covering was too thick.

Whatever, this experience suggests to me that anyone thinking of having a go at panettone should do so. Providing your recipe is a good one and the instructions clear, you should be fine.

I'd like to end off by wishing all participants on this great site a joyous and safe festive season.





LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2009 December 26

 Looks good Ross.  I think I'm finally brave enough to try and make a Panettone now.  There has been a request for me to make some that is over a year old.  When I saw what Peter Reinhart said about Stollen and Panettone I figured that I should now be able to at least make an attempt at it.

rossnroller 2009 December 26

I really don't understand all the trepidation around panettone. I bought into it from reading other's posts, but when I saw Reinhart's recipe and directions, it didn't seem so daunting - and in practice, it wasn't!

From what I've seen of your fantastic breads, and your recent stollen, I have no doubt you'll turn out a beauty. I couldn't be more pleased with the texture and flavour of mine, but as you'll have noted in my initial post, if you want to get that traditional panettone appearance, you'll need to source some proper pans or paper moulds.

Looking forward to seeing what you turn out!

Cheers and all the best for the festive season.


TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2009 December 26

I actually avoided this forum because I knew I'd suffer from deprivation...since, this year, I'm hardly baking anything with the house in chaotic renovation is done even on christmas and Sundays. But, no bah humbug from me.....Happy and Joyous Festive Season, All! Keep posting your gorgeous bakes. I'll make it up in 2010, I promise!

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2009 December 27

 Ross the starter for the Panettone is fermenting away right now.  I have a pan that looks like the same pan from Reinhart's book and I'll use parchment paper just like he showed.  Still I don't know what is going to happen.  I know it will taste good even if the shape is a flop.

rossnroller 2009 December 27

My bet is that you'll turn out a panettone that not only tastes great but that looks the deal as well. Waiting for your pics, which must only be hours away now...

Renos are a pain, TeckPoh, so my sympathy for what that's worth. You must be suffering from bake-deprivation! Never mind. All things pass, and having been a grateful recipient of your support and inspired by your many great posts, I anticipate your return to posting in 2010 with a flurry - looking forward to that.

Cheers all

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2009 December 28

 You would have lost that bet Ross.  Here is my first attempt at Panettone.


The Panettone is 100% sourdough and I tried to bake it the way Reinhart shows in his book.  In fact it looks like I have the same pan that Reinhart has in the pictures in the book.  I will just say that it didn't work.  I will not try making my Panettone mold from parchment paper like that again.  The picture might look good but the back side of the paper failed me.  I'm still going to put some glaze on the top of it and see how it tastes.  If it tastes good I'll put it in the recipe section.

rossnroller 2009 December 28

And you did get a nice dome!

So, LeadDog, did you stick with Reinhart's recipe except for his adding instant yeast, or adjust the SD starter component up to compensate?

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2009 December 29

 I think the recipe is almost the same as the Stollen formula I used.  I made it a higher hydration so I'm not sure what it is going to be like when I slice it.  It should get cut today so hopefully the moment of truth is near.  I did find Panettone molds for sale on the internet, they are under a US $1.00 each.  Next time I'll just buy some molds.

Panettone Glazed

I put some glaze on top and added some sliced Almonds for the finished product.  I know if the bread is a flop the glaze in wonderful.

dimitry1 2009 December 29

I'm from Ukraine and back home every easter we made sweet easter bread, very simular taste and look as panettone, the only difference we used only raisins, but that might be because we had nothing else. Back to the mold since we had no molds available we used regular pots from the kitchen, they gave great shape and we just buttered them so the bread would not stick. I will have to bake some and post some images.


LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2009 December 29

 Thanks Dimitry I should have done that this time but was totally new to Panettone.

I sliced the Panettone today and picked up a crumb and popped it into my mouth.  I immediately started picking up the rest of the crumbs and eating them.  This bread has a very wonderful flavor.  I'll write my formula up and put it in the recipe section.

Panettone Crumb

rossnroller 2009 December 29

Appearance is very secondary to flavour - you succeeded where it most counted.

I'm usually a traditionalist, but I've decided I'm not going to stress about getting the trad panettone shape - it's only a matter of buying a particular mould, after all. Maybe if I was giving one as a gift, I'd bother about it more, but as with yours, LeadDog, the flavour of my panettone was wunderbar - much better than I was expecting.  I had cake moulds so that's what I used, and in a very real sense, I think this is one of the beauties of home baking: you can adapt your breads to suit your equipment.

Even better, you don't need much equipment! I haven't come across a bread recipe yet that I couldn't mix by hand, for example, regardless of instructions to use a mixer at this or that setting...and I've learnt from the good folk here and on other forums that most of the time, adaptations can be made to turn a recipe using dry yeast into one using 100% SD - as you've shown again here.

The only ones I think do need commercial yeast are light fluffy white 'farmhouse' or sandwich breads...but perhaps even in that case, I just haven't found a recipe and/or technique to produce this type of bread using 100% SD - YET!

Anyway, glad your panettone worked out so well once the tasting was underway! That's the bottom line, after all.


LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2009 December 29

Light fluffy white 'farmhouse' or sandwich breads?  I would guess the dough of the Stollen I made would be a perfect sandwich bread if you just left out all of the fruit and spices.  That was my first thought when I cut it.  Here are the baker's percentages that I would use.

Flour 100% mine was 90% bread flour and 10% whole wheat

Salt 2%

Whole Milk 60%

Unsalted Butter 12%

Sugar I'm not sure I would add it.  0.5%

Preferment 100% hydration 95%

Try it and see how it turns out.

rossnroller 2009 December 29

Normal 0

...which I've had queued up for too long! Gotta give it a go.

Also interested to try your suggestion, LeadDog. Just one thing: how much preferment would you use? You have probably given all the information required, but I'm used to baking from recipes and can't work out from your post what proportion of the final dough should be made up of preferment. Could you explain, pls?

PS: Maybe this pain de mie diversion should be transferred to TeckPoh's thread? Just thinking, if anyone else wants to try your stollen dough as a farmhouse white, they won't find it in a post on panettone or stollen, except by chance...

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2009 December 29

 Hey looks like her bread has what I think is needed to make the bread you want.

Ross I thought you knew how to do percentages.  The preferment is 95% of the weight of the flour in the bread.  If you have 1000 grams of flour you will need 950 grams for preferment.  You can plug the numbers into one of my spreadsheets and it will figure out how much you need of what.

Spreadsheet 1  Change whatever is in red to get your formula.

Spreadsheet 2  Change whatever is in blue to get your formula.  Best to open this one in a new window so you can see the whole thing.

If the pain de mie works out post to TP's thread.  If mine works out post a new recipe.

rossnroller 2009 December 29

Actually, I thought I did understand bakers' percentages, but evidently not quite - at least, not as they are expressed syntactically in the case of the preferment! I understand the concept itself sufficiently to apply it in scaling back Hamelman's recipes, for example, but I didn't realise that when you put the preferment as "Preferment 100% hydration 95%" it means the proportion used in the final dough is 95% of the weight of flour in the bread.

Another gap filled...

Ta for the links to your calculation sheets. I do already have some, but will check yours out.


LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2009 December 30

 Yea I looked at that line too and it is confusing.  I see so many times formulas that call for a certain percent of preferment but it doesn't tell you what the hydration of it is.  In the case of the above formula this can make a big difference.

The spreadsheets work for me and the way my mind works in making bread.  I know for other people they might not work but for some they do.

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