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How to Make Panettone

Why this recipe works Originating in Milan, panettone, a tall, luxurious, candied- and dried fruit–filled sweet bread made during the Christmas season, was at one time a specialty of just northern Italy. Now panettone can be found in American supermarkets. Because it’s easy to come by, few attempt to make this gift bread at home. And existing recipes often turn out like dense fruitcake instead of the tall, light, and fluffy yet indulgently rich loaves that were once the bread of emperors and popes. We wanted to develop a recipe that was worthy of its regal history yet simple enough to make at home. Panettone is so prized because of its decadent ingredients; we packed the dough with butter, eggs, and extra yolks for richness and a golden color. But all of that fat made the bread dense and crumbly. To remedy this, we used high-protein bread flour and kneaded the dough for a full 8 minutes before incorporating softened butter, a little at a time, so the dough had a strong gluten structure to support all that fat. We stuck with traditional flavorings of golden raisins, candied orange peel, orange zest, and vanilla and almond extract to finish. We gave the rising dough a series of folds and let it ferment overnight in the refrigerator; our panettone relied on elongated fermentation and proofing times to maximize the gas development from the yeast in the dough that gives such a rich bread a remarkably light, fluffy texture and slightly tangy flavor. Because this bread is often given as a gift, our recipe makes two loaves in decorative baking paper. You can find paper panettone molds online or at kitchen supply stores. We do not recommend mixing this dough by hand. Be sure to reduce the oven temperature immediately after putting the loaves in the oven.

  • makes 2 loaves
  • resting time 1½ hours
  • rising time 20 to 21 hours
  • baking time 1 hour
  • total time 24 to 25 hours, plus 3 hours cooling time
  • key equipment stand mixer, two 6 by 4-inch paper panettone molds, rimmed baking sheet, instant-read thermometer

how-to-make-panettone

  • 1¼ cups (6¼ ounces) golden raisins
  • 1½ tablespoons grated orange zest plus ¼ cup (2 ounces) juice
  • 5 cups (27½ ounces) bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) whole milk, room temperature
  • 4 large eggs plus 3 large yolks, room temperature
  • ⅔ cup (4⅔ ounces) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1¼ cups (6 ounces) finely chopped candied orange peel

1). Microwave raisins and orange juice in covered bowl until steaming, about 1 minute. Let sit until raisins have softened, about 15 minutes. Drain raisins and reserve orange juice.

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2). Whisk flour, yeast, and salt together in bowl of stand mixer. Whisk milk, eggs and yolks, sugar, vanilla, almond extract, and reserved orange juice in 4-cup liquid measuring cup until sugar has dissolved. Using dough hook on low speed, slowly add milk mixture to flour mixture and mix until cohesive dough starts to form and no dry flour remains, about 5 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed.

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3). Increase speed to medium-low and knead until dough is elastic but still sticks to sides of bowl, about 8 minutes. With mixer running, add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, and knead until butter is fully incorporated, about 4 minutes. Continue to knead until dough is satiny and elastic and very sticky, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low, slowly add candied orange peel, raisins, and orange zest and mix until incorporated, about 3 minutes. Transfer dough to lightly greased large bowl or container, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise for 30 minutes.

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4). Using greased bowl scraper (or your fingertips), fold dough over itself by gently lifting and folding edge of dough toward middle. Turn bowl 90 degrees and fold dough again; repeat turning bowl and folding dough 2 more times (total of 4 folds). Cover tightly with plastic and let dough rise for 30 minutes. Fold dough again, then cover bowl tightly with plastic and refrigerate for at least 16 hours or up to 48 hours.

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5). Let dough sit at room temperature for 1½ hours. Press down on dough to deflate. Transfer dough to well-floured counter, divide in half, and cover loosely with greased plastic. Press 1 piece of dough (keep remaining piece covered) into 6-inch round. Working around circumference of dough, fold edges toward center until ball forms. Flip ball seam side down and, using your cupped hands, drag in small circles on counter until dough feels taut and round and all seams are secured on underside. Repeat with remaining piece of dough.

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6). Place dough rounds into two 6 by 4-inch paper panettone molds, pressing dough gently into corners. Transfer to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet, cover loosely with greased plastic, and let rise until loaves reach 2 inches above lip of molds and dough springs back minimally when poked gently with your knuckle, 3 to 4 hours.

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7). Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Using sharp paring knife or single-edge razor blade, make two 5-inch-long, ¼-inch-deep slashes with swift, fluid motion along top of each loaf to form cross.

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8). Place baking sheet in oven and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake until loaves are deep golden brown, about 40 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Tent loaves with aluminum foil and continue to bake until loaves register 190 to 195 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes. Let loaves cool completely on wire rack, about 3 hours, before serving.

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problem There are lumps in the dough.

solution Add the liquid slowly.

This dough is highly enriched—that’s what makes it so luxurious. The liquid ingredient mixture includes a hefty amount of milk, eggs, and sugar. Be sure to stream this mixture into the dry ingredients slowly when mixing the dough. Work too quickly and the loose, batter-like dough will form lumps. If, however, your dough does develop lumps, it is possible to eradicate them: Turn off the mixer and, using a rubber spatula, press the lumps against the side of the mixer bowl to break them up.

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