Traditional panettone is a delicious Italian Christmas bread that is perfect to serve at breakfast with a cup of hot coffee. This detailed recipe shows you how to make this soft and fluffy dessert so it turns out perfectly the first time. You’ll be wanting a second piece!
For the Fruit Mixture
- 1/2 cup raisins (85g)
- 1/2 cup currants (60g)
- 1/2 cup candied citrus peel, finely diced (75g)
- 1/4 cup glace cherries, cut in quarters (40g)
- 1/4 cup citron peel, diced (43g)
- 2/3 cup orange juice (160 ml)
For the Dough
- 5 cups bread flour (600g)
- 3 teaspoons fast-action yeast (10g)
- 2 teaspoons fine salt (10g)
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar (75g)
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter (70g)
- 1 cup whole milk, plus 1 tablespoon (250 ml)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons whole blanched almonds (19g)
- 1 tablespoon icing sugar, for decoration (8g)
Soaking the Dried Fruit (15 min + overnight soaking)
- Mix up the dried fruit. Toss all the dried fruit and the orange juice into a mixing bowl and mix until well combined. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap and let the fruit stand at room temperature overnight, stirring occasionally.
Making the Dough (35 min + overnight proving)
- Warm the milk. Melt the unsalted butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, then pour in the milk and heat to 115 F on a meat thermometer. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Mix the dry ingredients. Pour the bread flour into a large mixing bowl and add the salt and yeast on opposite sides of the bowl. Stir each one into the flour with your finger. Mix in the sugar.
- Add the liquids. Dump in the eggs and vanilla extract, then gradually add the milk and butter mixture, mixing constantly, to form a slightly sticky dough. Keep mixing to make sure that all the flour has been picked up from the bowl.
- Knead. Knead on a floured surface for 10-15 minutes. It’s done when it passes the windowpane test. Break off a lump and stretch it as thin as you can. If you can read through the stretched dough without it tearing, it’s good. If not, knead for a minute longer and check again.
- Prove. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a buttered bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge to prove overnight, or at least 8 hours. It should almost double in size during this time.
Shaping & Baking the Panettone (35 min + 3 hrs proving + 30 min baking)
- Warm up. Place the bowl of risen dough on the middle shelf of a cold oven. Place a casserole dish full of boiling water on the shelf underneath to create a warm, moist environment. Shut the oven door and let it prove for 1 1/2 hours to warm it up and soften it.
- Prep the pans. You’ll need two 6-inch springform cake pans that are at least 3 inches deep. You’ll get a higher-rising loaf if you use a special panettone pan with 6-inch tall sides. Grease the pans lightly with butter. If you’re using a shorter pan, line with parchment paper, and let the paper stick a few inches above the sides of the pan.
- Drain the fruit. Stir the soaked fruit mixture, then dump it into a large mesh sieve set over a bowl. Any excess liquid will drain into the bowl.
- Add the fruit. Punch down the dough, then divide it in half. Place one half in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add half of the dried fruit mixture, mixing on low speed until the fruit is evenly distributed. Repeat with the other half of the ingredients. (Feel free to do this step by hand if you don’t have a stand mixer.)
- Shape and prove. Shape each piece of fruited dough into a ball and place in the prepared pans. Cover with plastic wrap and prove in the steamy oven until the top is level with the top of the tin. This will take about 1 1/2 hours.
- Preheat the oven. About 10 minutes before the loaves are done proving, take them out of the oven and preheat it to 400 F.
- Bake. Press 5 blanched almonds in a star shape onto the top of each panettone. Bake the loaves at 400 F for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 375 F and bake for another 10 minutes. Lower the temperature again to 350 F and bake for 10-15 minutes. Cover the tops with foil if it is getting too dark.
- Cool. Unclip the sides of the springform pans and remove the loaves from the pan. About 2 inches from the bottom of the loaves, poke three long skewers all the way through the loaf. Flip the loaf upside down and hang them over a large pot or mixing bowl. Repeat with the other loaf, then let the bread cool upside down for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
- Serve. Remove the skewers, sprinkle with sifted icing sugar, cut in wedges, and serve with generous amounts of salted butter. Leftovers can be frozen for up to 3 months and defrosted at room temperature.
- Start the dough the day before to give the fruit extra time to soak and the dough to rise.
- Always use bread flour; all-purpose will not give you the best rise or texture.
- Knead thoroughly until the dough passes the windowpane test, as described in the instructions above.
- Dough rising slowly? Put the dough in a cold oven with a pan of boiling water on the shelf beneath.
- Let the panettone cool upside down. This prevents it from collapsing.
- Category: Bread
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: panettone recipe, Italian Christmas bread