I made my best panettone this year. And over Christmas and new year my family, friends and I snacked on it till there was no more.
The process for making panettone is really simple once you know how to make bread. I make sourdough bread and hence I make a sourdough panettone.
I start by preparing a milk levain. This involves taking a few tablespoons
of my already prepared rye levain and refreshing it with milk and rye.
I make more of a wholemeal style panettone. By this I mean that I use a rye levain and also that I use a lightly sifted white flour: with a great deal of the germ and bran still in the flour.
Once my refreshed levain is bubbly, I soak various dried fruits: sultanas, raisins, dried cherries if I have them, or cranberries, candied lemon and orange peel, in a mixture of Marsala and Cointreau.
Then I begin preparing the dough. Using a digital scale I measure out the flour first, 1000g and all other ingredients are a % of the total flour.
Levain: 400g (40%)
Salt 20g (2%)
Milk 650g (65%)
The flour I use is a bread bakers flour from Wholegrain Milling Co, an organic
lightly sifted white flour.
I add the above ingredients to the kitchen mixer and using a dough hook I begin to mix. I mix for 10 -15mins on a slow setting, then I let it rest for 15mins.
Then I begin to incorporate the eggs, one at a time. Five whole eggs and 5
Then sugar, 200g all at once. When both eggs and sugar are incorporated I
let the dough rest for 15mins.
Then I incorporate the butter, 300g, a bit at a time. Then
rest for 15mins.
The dough should be very stretchy and glossy. If I am happy with the dough I will let it bulk ferment until it has risen by about half it’s original size.
I then pour the dough onto a workbench and flatten it out. I
place half of the fruit that has been soaking on top of half of the flattened
dough and spread it well. I then fold the remaining half over, like a calzone. I
flatten the whole dough again and place more fruit on the bare side. Then fold
into itself and knead really well until the fruit is well and truly spread evenly
through all the dough.
I line my panettone tin with grease proof paper so that all
the sides of the tin are well covered with good overlap. I then shape the dough
and place it in the tin.
I let it rise until it has doubled in size.
I heat the oven to 250C and place a tin of boiling water at
the bottom of the oven.
When the oven temperature is reached I place the panettone
inside and then lower the temperature to 210C. I let it cook for about 10 mins
or until I think it has reached it’s full size in the oven and then I place the
base of a cake tin on top of the panettone to protect it from overcooking the
surface and burning it.
I cook for over an hour. The timing is always an unknown. I
use a skewer to test that it is cooked. If the skewer comes out completely
clean then it is ready.
A note about this post.
This post is not intended to be a recipe but a broad brush stroke overview
of the process, to give you an idea of the steps. The process takes at least 8
hours to complete.