Panettone Recipe

Panettone Recipe - A sweet Italian bread, traditionally enjoyed during Christmas. Rich, buttery bread, light in texture and studded with a mixture of dried fruit.

Panettone is a sweet Italian bread, traditionally enjoyed during the Christmas holidays. This panettone recipe produces a rich, buttery, sweet bread, light in texture and studded with a mixture of candied fruit.

Of course, this bread was never served during the holidays at our Italian family gatherings. When I mentioned to my aunts that I was going to try and make this bread I received “what is that?”. UGH!

So, I didn’t have a family recipe that had been passed down for generations and had to do a lot of research to arrive with this recipe I’m sharing with you today.

Panettone Recipe

Rich, buttery bread, light in texture and studded with a mixture of dried fruit.

How to make a light and fluffy Panettone

I’m a little hesitant to share this recipe with you because it takes patience and planning. This is a three-day bread recipe. Also, the dough is very sticky and somewhat cumbersome to work with, but if you are determined (like I was) you can turn out a fluffy panettone bread too!

I can’t even count how many panettones I made in testing this recipe. At one point my husband said, “it’s time to put a bow on this one”. There was no way I was giving up on this panettone recipe!

Day one ( the night before)

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

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

It will end up looking like this:

Panettone Recipe - A sweet Italian bread, traditionally enjoyed during Christmas. Rich, buttery bread, light in texture and studded with a mixture of dried fruit.

Bubbly and risen.

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 about 5-10 minutes until frothy on top.

Add the eggs, vanilla, sugar, and orange and lemon zest, to the yeast mixture and whisk together.

Panettone Recipe - A sweet Italian bread, traditionally enjoyed during Christmas. Rich, buttery bread, light in texture and studded with a mixture of dried fruit.

Add the starter and flour, attach the dough hook and mix 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.

This dough will not come together fully and completely pull away from the sides of the bowl like standard white bread dough.

Panettone Recipe - A sweet Italian bread, traditionally enjoyed during Christmas. Rich, buttery bread, light in texture and studded with a mixture of dried fruit.

Add the room temperature butter and knead for about 10-15 minutes or until it’s fully incorporated. Again you may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

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

Panettone Recipe - A sweet Italian bread, traditionally enjoyed during Christmas. Rich, buttery bread, light in texture and studded with a mixture of dried fruit.

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.

Panettone Recipe - A sweet Italian bread, traditionally enjoyed during Christmas. Rich, buttery bread, light in texture and studded with a mixture of dried fruit.

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.

Panettone Recipe - A sweet Italian bread, traditionally enjoyed during Christmas. Rich, buttery bread, light in texture and studded with a mixture of dried fruit.

Punch the dough down gently, remove the dough from the bowl to a lightly floured surface. Again only knead in enough flour to help you handle the dough a little easier.

Place it in a one-gallon zip-top bag or another bowl covered with plastic. Place in the refrigerator overnight.

In a small bowl combine the dried fruit with the orange liqueur (I use Grand Marnier.) and let soak overnight.

I find the bag much easier to make room in the fridge for and just tear open the sides to remove the dough the next day.

Panettone Recipe - A sweet Italian bread, traditionally enjoyed during Christmas. Rich, buttery bread, light in texture and studded with a mixture of dried fruit.

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 or at least 12 hours. Then continue with the rest of the steps.

Day Three

It will rise in the refrigerator and look like the above photo. This step helps improve flavor and texture.

Panettone Recipe - A sweet Italian bread, traditionally enjoyed during Christmas. Rich, buttery bread, light in texture and studded with a mixture of dried fruit.

If you used a plastic bag just rip it down the sides to open and place the dough on a very lightly floured surface.

Because the dough is cold it is MUCH easier to handle during this step and won’t require much flour at all. I have actually done it without any flour and it worked beautifully.

Press and roll the dough out into a rectangle. Drain any extra liqueur from the fruit and sprinkle it evenly over the dough.

Roll the dough up tightly folding the ends inwards.

Panettone Recipe - A sweet Italian bread, traditionally enjoyed during Christmas. Rich, buttery bread, light in texture and studded with a mixture of dried fruit.

Once rolled, fold the ends into the center and fold and tuck it around to form a smooth ball trying to keep a good bit of dough on top.

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

Panettone Recipe - A sweet Italian bread, traditionally enjoyed during Christmas. Rich, buttery bread, light in texture and studded with a mixture of dried fruit.

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 heat my oven to about 150º, turn it off and turn the oven light on. Once the dough is formed I place it in the oven to rise. The last couple of panettone recipes I made it only took about 2 1/2 hours for it to rise completely.

Just before it’s completely risen, preheat the oven to 350ºF.

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

With a very sharp knife cut a “cross” in the top about 1/4-1/2″ deep. Place a dab of softened butter in the center of the cross.

This step will help it rise properly and help achieve the dome shape.

Panettone Recipe - A sweet Italian bread, traditionally enjoyed during Christmas. Rich, buttery bread, light in texture and studded with a mixture of dried fruit.

Bake the bread for 40-45 minutes or until a wooden skewer comes out clean.

If it starts to brown too much lightly tent with a piece of aluminum foil.

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

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 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.

Panettone Recipe - A sweet Italian bread, traditionally enjoyed during Christmas. Rich, buttery bread, light in texture and studded with a mixture of dried fruit.

Slice and enjoy the fruits of your three-day baking adventure making this panettone recipe!

Just look at that light, fluffy bread studded with raisins and candied orange peel (candied citron).

I thoroughly enjoyed making this bread over and over again. I know it’s a traditional Christmas bread but I don’t think I can wait for just once a year.

Panettone Recipe - A sweet Italian bread, traditionally enjoyed during Christmas. Rich, buttery bread, light in texture and studded with a mixture of dried fruit.

Our favorite way to eat panettone is toasted and slathered with butter!

Traditional Panettone Recipe

Panettone Recipe

Panettone Recipe – A sweet Italian bread, traditionally enjoyed during Christmas. Rich, buttery bread, light in texture and studded with a mixture of dried fruit.
Prep Time1 d 8 hrs
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 d 8 hrs 45 mins
Course: Bread, Breakfast
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: bread, christmas, holidays, italian, panettone
Servings: 15
Calories: 261kcal
Author: DSTR

Ingredients

For the Starter

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/8 teaspoon dry active yeast (a pinch)

For the Dough

  • 1/4 cup water warm
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest freshly grated
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest freshly grated
  • all the starter from above
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for dusting)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter softened

For the Fruit

  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup dark raisins
  • 1/3 cup candied orange peel
  • 1/4 cup orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier)

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 all-purpose flour, 1/3 cup water (or a little more the make the starter thick and somewhat wet but not like a dough consistency), and 1/8 teaspoon yeast in a medium-size bowl. 
      Cover and let rise overnight.

    The Dough (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 about 5-10 minutes until frothy on top.
       Add the eggs, vanilla, sugar, and orange and lemon zest, to the yeast mixture and whisk together.
    • Add the starter and flour, attach the dough hook and mix 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 butter and knead for about 10-15 minutes more or until it’s fully incorporated. Again you may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl. The dough should be smooth and elastic but will still be sticky.
    • 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 very lightly floured surface. Again only knead in enough flour to help you handle the dough a little easier. Place it in a one-gallon zip-top bag or another bowl covered with plastic. Place in the refrigerator overnight.
    • In a medium-size bowl marinate the dried golden raisins, dark raisins, and candied orange peel with the orange liqueur.  Cover with plastic wrap set aside and stir occasionally.

    Day Three

    • Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on a lightly floured surface. Press and roll the dough out into a rectangle. Sprinkle the marinated fruit evenly over the dough. 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
    • 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.
    • Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a wooden skewer comes out clean. If it starts to brown too much lightly tent with a piece of aluminum foil.
    • 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: 261kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 185mg | Potassium: 147mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 222IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 2mg

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    Comments

    1. Reply

      Hi Leigh,

      Great recipe i’m a big fan of Panettone. I’m trying to make a gluten free version of this recipe but it seems it’s not working..

      Do you have any suggestion that would help me achieve the right texture of this panettone?

      Thank you

      1. Reply

        Hey Maria! I don’t have any experience with gluten-free baking but I googled and found this that might help. https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/converting-recipes-to-gluten-free/ Please do come back and tell us how and if it worked for you. 🙂

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