I love panettone. I just find it to be such a unique flavor, but I have only ever had it from the box and those can be so expensive so I thought I should just make it myself. So I did some research and then got very confused and did a lot more research than I was bargaining for.
I sought advice from Martha (Stewart. We are on a first name basis.) and she had a recipe that takes over 2 days to do and if you want to do it “right” you should really make your own starter that takes 30 days… so that wasn’t going to work out for me.
I also found out that there are two kinds of panettone from different regions in Italy, panettone Milanese and panettone Genovese. The panettone Milanese is the one that most people are familiar with and is light and fluffy. The Genovese is more like a scone or biscuit. You will know the difference because the Milanese panettone contains yeast or a starter that makes it airy.
After reading what seemed like hundreds of recipes, I combined some to find a middle ground of speed and authenticity and I think it turned out pretty well.
- 1 (.25 oz) package of active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm water (115°F)
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp. lemon zest
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 4-5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup varied dried fruit (I used cranberries and mango, due to lack of golden raisins)
- powdered sugar to finish
In a medium bowl, or stand mixer, mix sugar, warm water, and yeast. Cover and let sit for at least 10 minutes while you prepare the next ingredients and yeast creates a foamy layer as shown above. Add in eggs, lemon zest, salt, milk, and vanilla extract. Mix until well combined.
Add in flour until a ball begins to form. Move dough to a floured surface and continue kneading and adding flour until dough is no longer sticky (for the most part). Lightly grease a large bowl with cooking spray to place dough in. Cover and let rise for at least an hour or until it doubles in size.
After an hour, return dough to the floured surface. [I cut the dough in half because my baking paper (I got mine at Sur La Table) was only 5 inches. I am letting the other half of the dough rise overnight and making another panettone tomorrow to compare flavors.] Gently deflate dough while kneading and adding in fruits.
Place in baking paper or tin. Cover with a dish towel and let rise again for at least 30 minutes. More is better. [Make sure you are letting the dough rise in a warm place. If you kitchen is cold, place rising dough in the microwave or oven. Do not turn either on, just the smaller, enclosed space will help dough stay warmer.
Preheat oven to 350°F and bake panettone for 45 minutes (if using the whole recipe. My small panettone took only 35 minutes) or until a small skewer comes out clean.
Many traditional recipes recommend hanging your panettone upside-down while it cools to prevent deflating. This will only work if you are using baking paper. Simply pierce two skewers through the base of the panettone and hang from two taller objects.
Finish with some powdered sugar before serving! Buon appetito and Buon Natale!