Panettone from Scratch, Italian Christmas delicacy, featuring my grandmother’s story of how it all started …
There are several legends about history of Panettone. They include noble Italian families since sugar, wheat flour and eggs were luxuries in 15th century. Rye and spelt were the most common, cheaper grains to use then.
I decided to start my Panettone from Scratch story with love.
So here we go: once upon a time, there was a young boy named Toni, humble, poor and hard working Italian. And of, course, there was a lovely young Lucia. Toni worked at a bakery and he watched Lucia walking the street every single morning. He fell in love.
As seasons were passing by, Christmas was getting closer and he had nothing to give her to show how much he cares and loves that pretty little girl.
So, he decided to use the leftovers from breads he made every day. He carefully stored them, day by day, combining, hiding, adding extra leftovers to make the best for the girl that steeled his heart.
Christmas Eve arrived, families were going to Midnight Mass and Toni went to the church carrying his bread ( pane ).
And ….. there she was. Lucia. He approached and offered the sweet bread to her family.
Her father accepted the gift and invited Toni to join them at Spuntino di mezzanotte ( midnight snack ) all families have after the mass. Since then, the bread is called Pane di Toni; Panettone.
And, yes friends, they lived happily ever after.
If you are interested to make „pane di Toni“ on your own, here you have my version. It is a week end project and my second attempt to make it this year. Yes, I failed once, and this is how it should not look like :
Just let me say, please stick to the recipe. I wanted to make some changes and payed the price.
If you’ll have any leftovers, there is simple breakfast you can prepare :
The most important of all is to have all the ingredients at room temperature. Please prepare them at least several hours before you start the preparation. I measured everything a day before to be sure all the ingredients reach the same temperature.
There is a special panettone dish I have to bake this beautiful festive bread ( 18 centimeters in diameter and 10 centimeters high; converted to American measures, it would be approx. 7inches in diameter and 4 inches high ) :
If you don’t have original panettone dish, you may use simple, old fashioned enamel dish.
Here you can see dried and candied fruits’ preparation :
Since my English is far from being excellent, here I made the collage of steps to help you during the process :
Panettone from Scratch
Panettone from Scratch, Italian Christmas delicacy, featuring my grandmother's story of how it all started …
- 5 cups all purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp dry yeast
- 2/3 cup water
- Finely grated 1 orange
- ½ cup white sugar
- 5 eggs
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp salt
- 13 Tbsp melted butter, warm, not hot + extra for the pan
- ¼ cup golden raisins
- ¼ cup dark raisins
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup candied orange peel ( arancini )
- 4 Tbsp dark rum
- 4 Tbsp warm water
Combine 1 cup all purpose flour with dry yeast and 2/3 cup water. Cover tightly and leave to rise for 40 minutes in a large bowl of a standing mixer. That is your sponge.
Put both raisins, cranberries and candied orange peel in a small bowl. Pour rum and water over them and leave overnight.
Install the sponge bowl into the standing mixer base and mix it with paddle attachment, adding eggs, one at the time. Mix on medium speed. Slowly add orange zest, sugar and vanilla extract. Incorporate well.
Switch to the dough hook. Start adding the flour, slowly, mix on low speed. The dough should be elastic. Continue to mix for 10 minutes. You may need to push down the dought that “climbs” to the top of the hook.
Keep the dough in the bowl, oil your hands and form a ball. Cover with foil and leave to rest in the fridge overnight. I left it to rest for 21 hours. You may leave it in the fridge for max. 48 hours. Minimum time is 12 hours.
DAY TWO :
Butter the pan and leave aside.
Drain the fruits. I suggest you keep the liquid and warm it later to drink. It is amazing ! Besides, after all this work, you’ll need it 😊
Lightly flour your clean, flat working surface.
Take the dough out of the fridge and turn it to the floured surface.
Roll the dough with rolling pin to get approx. 11 x 15 inches rectangle.
Spread the fruits over the dough and press it to the dough. You may do it using your hands or rolling pin.
Fold the long sides into thirds. Then fold the bottom of the rectangle to meet the top. See the collage above.
Pat to have 1 – 2 inches thick square.
Gather the corners in the center, form the ball and place, seam side down into the pan.
Cover tightly with foil and leave to rise for two hours.
After 45 minutes of rising, preheat the oven to get 165 C / 330 F.
Once the dough reaches the edge of the pan, uncover it, cut the cross on the top, surface only and drop 1 tsp butter on the top.
Bake for 30 minutes. Then cover the top with a piece of baking paper to avoid too much browning.
Continue baking for another 44 minutes.
Take the beauty out of the oven, leave in the pan to cool.
Take panettone out of the pan, cut the slices and enjoy !