baked panettone

Chocolate Orange Panettone Recipe

This chocolate orange panettone recipe is a sweet, light, and moist Italian Christmas bread studded with chocolate chunks and orange liqueur-soaked candied orange pieces!

This bread makes perfect gifts or just make and serve yourself a slice with your favorite holiday coffee!

slice of panettone on silver platter

Chocolate Orange Panettone Recipe

Get into the holiday spirit with the classic flavors of chocolate and orange in a light, fluffy, and buttery-rich Christmas bread!

What is Panettone?

Panettone is a sweet Italian bread usually enjoyed during Christmas. It’s traditionally filled with dried fruits and raisins.

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panettone slice

I have been testing this for a few weeks now with our traditional panettone recipe. I have learned a few things along the way.

Tips for Making Chocolate Orange Panettone

  • The chocolate needs to be kneaded in and not pressed and rolled in.
  • I tried chocolate chips and found that it didn’t give that gorgeous mouthful of chocolate that I wanted in the bread.
  • Refrigerating the dough really develops more flavor.
  • When removing the cold dough be sure to let it sit in a warm, draft free place for at least one hour before gently punching the dough down, press it out, roll, and form a ball. This helps to prevent large holes in the finished bread.
  • It takes a little longer to bake than the traditional. This could be because we now have a different oven. So be sure to test with a wooden skewer or a thermometer.
  • Using double pans helps to prevent the botton browning too much.

How Do You Eat Chocolate Panettone?

It’s best served warm. Place a few slices on a baking sheet and warm in the oven.

Better yet, make french toast from the panettone for breakfast.

How Long Does Panettone Last?

It is just like any other bread it will lose moisture and dry out over time. Keep it in a plastic bag or airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days or refrigerate for up to 7 days.

Ingredients Needed for Chocolate Orange Panettone Recipe

For the Starter

  • All-purpose flour (or Bread flour)
  • Water
  • Dry active yeast

For the Dough

  • Water – Warm to activate the yeast.
  • Dry active yeast
  • Eggs – Room temperature
  • Granulated sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Orange zest – One packed tablespoon to give the best orange flavor.
  • Bread flour – Or all-purpose flour. But I’ve found that bread flour gives a lighter texture.
  • Kosher salt
  • Unsalted butter – Good quality European butter is best.
  • Semi-sweet chocolate – I tried a bittersweet chocolate and found it not sweet enough for us. I don’t recommend chocolate chips.
  • Canided orange peel – Diced
  • Orange liqueur – Adds extra orange flavor.

How to Make Chocolate Orange Panettone

Day one ( the night before)

starter in a black bowl

Make the starter by mixing 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour, 1/3 cup water, and 1/8 teaspoon yeast in a medium-sized bowl. Cover and let rise overnight on the counter.

The starter can be made the same day but it needs at least 6 to 8 hours to rise. So start early in the morning.

The starter will help add volume and flavor plus makes the finished bread stay fresher a little longer.

In a small bowl combine the candied orange peel with the orange liqueur (I use Grand Marnier) and soak overnight.

Day two

Measure the flour properly (spoon and swoop) into a medium-size bowl. Whisk the salt into the flour and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, proof the 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast with the 1/4 cup of warm (115º degrees F) water and about 1 tablespoon of the 1/2 cup of sugar for about 5-10 minutes until frothy on top.

egg mixture with starter added in a mixing bowl

Add the eggs, 1 tsp vanilla extract, sugar, and orange zest, to the yeast mixture and whisk together.

Add the starter and flour, attach the dough hook and mix at low speed until it comes together and starts pulling away from the bowl slightly.

Turn the mixer to medium speed and knead for 10-15 minutes or until smooth and elastic. You may need to stop the mixer and scrape down the sides a few times.

windowpane pulled on panettone dough

Add the room temperature butter a few tablespoons at a time until it’s fully incorporated. Then knead for about 10-15 minutes. Again you may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Test the dough with dampened fingers for a windowpane.

I use good quality European butter for panettone. If you are going to make the effort use good quality ingredients.

chocolate and candied orange peel added to the dough

Knead in the chocolate chunks and the drained candied orange on low speed for about 2 minutes or until fully incorporated.

Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead JUST ENOUGH flour into it until it’s not EXTREMELY sticky and slightly easier to handle.

The less flour you can use the lighter and fluffier your panettone will be once baked.

A bench scraper will help you tremendously with this process. Please don’t add too much flour and be patient with the dough.

dough in a glass bowl

Place the dough in a large oiled bowl. Oil the top of the dough, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise 3 to 4 hours or until tripled in size.

The dough rising process is long, patience is key.

Don’t go by the time when rising, watch it closely, and once tripled move on to the next step.

punching the risen dough down

Punch the dough down gently, remove the dough from the bowl, and form it into a ball by tucking and pulling it towards you.

Place it back in the large bowl and cover with oiled plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator overnight.

Day Three

It will rise in the fridge overnight. This step helps improve flavor and texture.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator for at least one hour just to take some of the chill off. Place the dough on a work surface.

Because the dough is cold it is MUCH easier to handle during this step and won’t require any flour. You can grease your hands with butter if needed.

panettone dough pressed out
shaping the panettone
dough being rolled
rolling the dough into a ball

Press and roll the dough out. Roll the dough up tightly folding the ends inwards. Once rolled, fold and tuck it around to form a smooth ball.

dough in panettone mold

Transfer the dough into a greased panettone mold (I buy them from Amazon) and place it on doubled baking sheets.

dough risen in panettone mold

Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rise until almost to the top of the paper mold about 3 to 4 hours or until almost tripled in size again. Remember the dough is cold so it will take a while to rise.

I keep our house between 65º-68º which is not ideal for bread making. So while forming the dough I turn the oven light on. Once the dough is formed I place it in the oven to rise.

Just before it’s completely risen, remove the dough from the oven (if that’s where you placed it to rise) and preheat the oven to 350ºF.

brushing the egg wash on risen dough

Before baking brush the dough gently with the egg wash over the entire surface.

slicing the risen dough

With a very sharp knife cut a “cross” in the top about 1/4-1/2″ deep. This step will help it rise properly and help achieve the dome shape.

Place a dab of softened butter in the center of the cross, this is optional.

sprinkled the dough with pearl sugar

Sprinkle pearled sugar across the surface of the panettone.

Bake the panettone for 45 minutes up to 1 hour or until a wooden skewer comes out clean and the internal temperature is 200 degrees F.

If it starts to brown too much lightly tent with a piece of aluminum foil. In my oven, this is about 15 minutes into the baking process.

While the bread is baking prepare a way to hang it upside down to cool. This helps keep its light fluffy texture and keeps it from falling.

panettone hanging upside down in a mixing bowl

I use the bowl from my stand mixer. If using a bowl be sure it’s deep enough that the top of the bread isn’t touching the bottom of the bowl.

Once baked carefully slide two skewers through each side of the bottom of the bread. Turn the panettone upside down into the prepared place to let cool for at least 2 hours.

I use metal skewers. I tried wooden ones on my first test panettone and they started to break. The fear set in and I immediately switched to metal.

baked panettone

When we set out to do our original panettone we thought it might be ‘one and done’. We were so wrong. While our original is very much a classic we have found that you can have all sorts of fun with additional ingredients.

The crumb of the panettone is to die for! It’s as if you’re eating a cloud! It’s so light yet has great structure.

chocolate orange panettone on silver platter

Yes, these are typically considered holiday breads but man, this stuff is good! I could make a case to find new and interesting ingredients so this loaf of bread could be eaten year round, not just around Christmas.

Give it a whirl and amaze the family!!

More Delicious Holiday Recipes

baked panettone

Chocolate Orange Panettone Recipe

A sweet Italian bread, traditionally enjoyed during Christmas. Rich, buttery bread, light in texture and studded with chocolate chunks and candied orange peel.
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Course: Bread, Breakfast
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: chocolate, christmas, orange, panettone
Prep Time: 1 day 8 hours
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 day 8 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 15
Calories: 299kcal
Author: DSTR

Ingredients

For the Starter

  • 3/4 cup Bread flour
  • 1/3 cup Water
  • 1/8 teaspoon Dry active yeast

For the Dough

  • 1/4 cup Water warm. 110-115 degrees F
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons Dry active yeast
  • 3 large Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Granulated sugar divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon Orange zest packed
  • All the starter from above
  • 3 cups Bread flour (plus more for dusting)
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 6 tbsp Unsalted butter softened

For the Fruit and Chocolate

  • 1/2 cup Candied orange peel diced small
  • 3 tbsp Orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier)
  • 6 oz Semi-sweet chocolate roughly chopped into 1/4" – 1/2" pieces

For the Egg Wash

  • 1 large Egg beaten
  • 1 tablespoon Water

A dab of butter for the top just before baking

    Instructions

    The Starter (day one)

    • Mix 3/4 cup of bread flour, 1/3 cup water, and 1/8 teaspoon yeast in a medium-size bowl. 
      Cover and let rise overnight.

    The Dough (day two)

    • Drain the orange liqueur from the candied orange peel.
    • Measure the flour properly (spoon and swoop) into a medium-size bowl. Whisk the salt into the flour and set aside.
      In the bowl of a stand mixer, proof the 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast with the 1/4 cup of warm (115º degrees F) water, and 1 tablespoon of the 1/2 cup of sugar about 5-10 minutes until frothy on top.
      Add the eggs, vanilla, sugar, and orange zest, to the yeast mixture and whisk together.
    • Add the starter and flour, attach the dough hook and mix on low speed until it comes together and starts pulling away from the bowl slightly. Turn the mixer to medium speed and knead for 10-15 minutes or until smooth and elastic. You may need to stop the mixer and scrape down the sides a few times.
    • Add the softened butter a few tablespoons at a time until fully incorporated and knead for another 10-15 minutes until you can pull a window pane. Again you may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl. The dough should be smooth and elastic but will still be sticky.
    • Knead in the chocolate chunks and the drained candied orange on low speed for about 2 minutes or until fully incorporated.
    • Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead JUST ENOUGH flour into it until it’s not EXTREMELY sticky and slightly easier to handle. The less flour you can use the lighter and fluffier your panettone will be once baked.
    • Place the dough in a large oiled bowl. Oil the top of the dough, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise 3 to 4 hours or until tripled in size. Once tripled in size gently punch the dough down, remove the dough from the bowl to a work surface and form into a ball by tucking and pulling towards you. Place it back in the bowl and covered with oiled plastic. Place in the refrigerator overnight.
    • In a medium-size bowl marinate the candied orange peel with the orange liqueur.  Cover with plastic wrap set aside and stir occasionally.

    Day Three

    • Remove the dough from the refrigerator for at least one hour to take the chill off a little. Place on a work surface. Press and roll the dough out. Roll the dough up tightly into a log shape. Fold the ends into the center and fold and tuck it around to form a smooth ball. 
    • Transfer the dough into a greased panettone mold. Place it onto doubled baking sheets.
    • Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rise until almost to the top of the paper mold about 3 to 4 hours. Almost tripled in size again. Remember the dough is cold so it will take a while to rise.
    • Just before it's completely risen, preheat the oven to 350ºF degrees. Brush the dough gently with the egg wash over the entire surface. With a very sharp knife gently cut across the top about 1/4-1/2" deep and again in the other direction. Place a dab of softened butter in the center of the cross (optional).
    • Sprinkle pearled sugar across the surface of the panettone.
    • Bake for 45 minutes up to 1 hour or until a wooden skewer comes out clean and the internal temperature is 200 degrees F. Lightly tent it with aluminum foil after about 15 minutes if it starts to brown too much.
    • While the bread is baking prepare a way to hang it upside down to cool. Once baked carefully slide two skewers through each side of the bottom of the bread. Flip it over into the prepared place to let cool at least 2 hours.

    Notes

    UPDATE: While in the process of writing this post I decided to try to make this in 2 days. It worked perfectly. So if you don’t have the time to do 3 days, make the starter early in the morning. Let it sit for at least 6 hours. It needs to be bubbly and risen.
    Then make the dough and let it rise 3-4 hours. Transfer to a plastic zip-lock bag and refrigerate overnight. Then continue with the rest of the steps.
     

    Nutrition

    Serving: 15g | Calories: 299kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 183mg | Potassium: 139mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 221IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg

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    2 Comments

    1. What size panettone mold do you use? When do you add the salt? Day 2 step
      # 8 seems to be in the wrong place can you verify? Can’t wait to make this my family loves orange,chocolate and panettone so it has to be good!

      1. Molds are 6.75-Inches W x 4.25-Inches H. The salt is whisked into the measured flour on Day 2 step #2. I hope this helps. Merry Christmas!

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