This recipe will make two 500g panettone and make perfect Christmas gifts for people. It's dervived much from ChefSteps recipe and I highly recommend that you watch that video fully before starting.

Equipment

While you probably could make this entirely by hand, I would recommend using a stand mixer with the dough hook attachement due to the high hydration. This results in an extremely sticky dough to begin with that's difficult to work with. Traditional panettone are made over several days which gives the flour time to naturally hydrate.

I also recommend that every baker invest in a cooking thermometer. They're relatively cheap and will making your baking much more accurate by allowing you to test the internal temperature of your bake when it comes out of the oven.

You will also need 500g panettone cases. I used these from Amazon which were rigid and allowed for easy baking.

Ingredients

  • 225g buttermilk
  • 250g pastry flour (00 Italian if you can find it)
  • 215g bread flour
  • 14g or 2 sachets of instant yeast
  • 65g water (ideally heated to 35°c/95°f)
  • 135g egg yolks
  • 100g white granulated sugar
  • 10g salt
  • 1tsp lemon oil/extract (or zest)
  • 3tsp mandarin/orange oil/extract (or zest)
  • 1 vanilla pod or 1tsp vanilla paste
  • 100g softened room temperature butter
  • 135g dried fruit soaked in rum or cointreau
  • 100g candied mandarin/orange peel (fresh if you fancy being extra)
  • 1 egg, 1 egg yolk and a splash of water for a wash
  • Flaked almonds or pearl sugar for topping

If you prefer, you can also use chocolate chips or whatever you fancy. Just don't exceed more than 20% of the weight of the dough.

Tip: If you don't already, get in the habit of weighing out all of your ingredients before you start. This will make it much easier and less stressful as you bring everything together.

Method

Making The "Sponge" Starter

Since this recipe doesn't use a sourdough starter we need to make a "sponge" starter to replace it.

  1. In a jug microwave your water to 35°c/95°f, stir in your yeast and cover to proof for 15 minutes. If bubbles aren't showing after this time, your yeast is dead and should be discarded for new yeast.
  2. Add your 215g bread flour and buttermilk to your stand mixer's mixing bowl and stir in the water/yeast mixture with a fork until a shaggy dough has formed.
  3. Cover your mixing bowl and leave to hydrate for around 1 hour until it has doubled in size.
  4. Once the starter has doubled in size, knock the air out of it with a punch. We can now move on to making the dough.

Making The Dough

  1. Add the egg yolks and pastry flour to the bowl and mix it in using the dough hook.
  2. Using the dough hook, knead the dough for 5-10 minutes until it's smooth, stretchy, and a good amount of gluten has developed.
The dough won't come away from the side of the bowl at this stage but you're looking for a smooth, stretchy consistency.

3. Add the salt, sugar, and vanilla to the bowl. Slowly mix for a couple of minutes. You'll see the mixture start to change as the sugar tenderises the dough.

4. Add your essential oils or zest and mix in slowly. The dough should be shiny and smooth.

5. Add in your butter, a little bit at a time and mix in slowly until it has all come together.

6. Let the dough relax for 1-2 minutes and add in your fruit and candied peel. Mix until a light film of dough covers the fruit. This will ensure that the fruit is evenly distributed and doesn't sink to the bottom when baked.

7. Once fully mixed, cover your mixing bowl and leave to proof for 1 hour or until doubled in volume.

8. At this stage you could place the dough into your panettone cases and wait for the second proof. However, to get more air into the dough, remove it from your bowl and place it onto a non-wooden, lightly oiled surface (a baking sheet/marble worktop works great). Pull the side of the dough nearest you and stretch it across the dough, folding it over as you do. Rotate 90° and repeat until all sides have been folded. Cover for 2 minutes and repeat 2-4 times. The dough should want to stretch, if it feels like it's going to tear or doesn't want to stretch, leave it.

9. Lightly oil the inside of your panettone cases to make it easier to remove from the case when you eat it. Cut your dough into two even pieces and bring together into a sort of ball shape, placing it into your cases with the seam at the bottom. It should fill the cases to about half height.

10. Cover the panettone with a mixing bowl or similar and allow to rise until it reaches the top of the case. This may take up to 2 hours dependant on your room temperature. You can do this overnight in the fridge too.

11. Preheat your oven to 180°c/160°c fan and place an old roasting tin in the bottom for water that will create some steam when baking.

12. Place onto a baking sheet and lightly wash the top of the panettone with your egg, egg yolk, and water wash.

13. With a very sharp knife, score a cross about 1cm deep and 3cm across in the middle of the panettone to allow the presure to escape and hopefully prevent some "mushrooming" when baking.

14. Cover the top in flaked almonds or pearl sugar. It will seem like a lot but as the panettonne rises in the oven they will evently distribute.

15. Place onto a low shelf in your oven. I had to move it down a shelf while baking because this thing rises a lot. Fill the tray in the bottom with cold water and if you have a spray bottle of water, spray the top of the panettone lightly.

16. Bake for 45-55 minutes at 180°c/160°c fan. Check the panettone at about 25 minutes and turn if baking unevenly. Check again at 45 minutes and using a thermometer check to see if the internal temperature has reached 95°c/195°f.

17. When baked, pull it out of the oven and hang it upside down to cool. Two skewers in the bottom of the panettone and hanging between two boxes worked well for me.

18. Once cooled completely, cut open and enjoy!