The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

mwilson's blog

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Those who know me understand that Panettone is my thing! I have baked this wonderful bread-like cake countless times and I have pretty much dedicated myself to the art that is making Panettone. The technical ability required to produce Panettone is the pinnacle of understanding bread dough. It forces you to understand all aspects, including; controlling sourdough fermentation to achieve the desired acidity and yeast activity. And most challenging for me, understanding dough rheology, to be able to successfully mix this heavily rich dough. I believe anyone that can make real (sourdough) Panettone can truly make any bread.

I'm still on a high as recently I managed to make what I consider to be the most difficult recipe, entitled 'Modern Panettone'  this comes from master pastry chef Iginio Massari via his wonderful book "Cresci - The Art of Leavened Dough". This is the richest one of all. 40% sugar + another 4% honey. 53% butter and 48% egg yolks.

Making this particular Panettone was no easy feat. I have experienced many moments of despair trying so hard and not understanding why it hasn't worked. Often I would chuck an over-mixed dough in the bin. So many times I declared "I am never baking again" and yet here I am. Baking is clearly an obsession. Even those things that seem impossible at the time can be achieved with endeavor!

These shots don't do it justice but here are some close ups:


Other than uneven fruit distribution and a wild and uncontrolled oven spring this Panettone is perfect. It's so light and yet firm at the same time. Sweet, feathery soft, buttery and just delicious. This truly is a celebratory cake and not just for Christmas!

Many thanks to those that follow my work and to those that have supported me. 

If there are any bakeries out there that are interested in making Panettone, I would be happy to offer my services as a consultant.

Now, where to go from here... A new path / career awaits.

Goodbye all.

Michael

mwilson's picture
mwilson

This week I have cooked up a couple of breads to test my skills using my powerful sourdough and 00 flour.

Sourdough / Natural Leaven:

I spent a few days refreshing this firm starter for the panettone. Feeding 4 times a day, every 4hrs.

 

San Francisco SD:

 I converted my firm natural leaven into a 70% hydration starter and fed a few times, keeping at 28-29C. At the end of fermentation it was quite soupy. From this I made a 60% hydration dough.

This was the nicest all white sourdough I have ever tasted! Crisp and yet chewy crust. Delicate and smooth flavour. But unexpectedly just a hint of sour.





 

Fruitless Panettone:

Beautifully yellow, soft, light and shreddable crumb.



 

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Flavoured Ciabatta made using traditional methods. Suitable for sandwiches.

Traditional Biga - left to ferment for approx 15hrs at cool room temp.
300g '00' Flour, medium strength
150g cold water
1.1g Instant yeast

Final Dough - kept warm at 28c.
420g Biga
70g '00' Flour, medium strength
4g Malt Powder
7g salt
140g water
28g good quality extra-virgin olive oil.
sun-dried tomatoes to taste

Method
Mix biga by hand using downward pressure to a smooth, dry dough. Leave at room temp overnight for about 15hrs.
Next day, cut the big into pieces add malt powder, flour and an equal amount of water. Mix until smooth. Continue mixing adding the remaining water in stages.  Add salt with the last of the water. Finally add the oil and mix to full gluten development before folding in the  tomatoes.

Place dough in a well oiled flat and wide container. Leave to rise at warm temp (~28C). Stretch and fold at 30 min intervals until the dough is strong enough to sit high. Wait until almost double in size (~3hrs) before dividing in two.

Leave pieces to rest for 20 mins before shaping like a business letter. Dust with more flour and proof until double with cracks in the flour (~2hrs)
Bake.

Proofed:

Total dough volume is approx 4 times that of the mixed dough.

Baked:

Oven spring was great as with any well made ciabatta, rising vertically, swelling like a balloon. 

Crumb:

Extremely soft and porous crumb.


Michael

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Anyone who has seen my blog knows I make naturally leavened panettone often. I have tried a new recipe by Massimo Vitali which includes cocoa butter. The recipe also calls for milk powder which I don't keep, so I left it out. I made a few other adjustments with water and flavourings but other than that it's as described in the formula.

Finished dough.
 

 

Baked. The dough surface was very tight and ruptured in the oven. More water next time!
 

 

Crumb.
 

 

Formula.
 

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - mwilson's blog