The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Perfect Panettone

  • Pin It
mwilson's picture
mwilson

Perfect Panettone

To me, the pinnacle Panettone. Formula comes from Iginio Massari.

This is the most challenging formula for Panettone, hence why I have been so drawn to it. I rise to technical challenges. I followed the formula, timings and temperatures without compromise.

Iginio Massari’s formulas typically use only 25% natural yeast and cooler temps for the first dough. The result, more flavour… I can still recall that familiar aroma after the first rise. So aromatic!

Oven spring was huge. I didn’t know when it was going to stop… Lasting nearly 20mins.

The taste and texture was perfect. I made the choice to use super strong Canadian flour to get that fluffy character I was looking for. A clean taste, not a hint of acidity or sourness. Just sweet, light, fluffy goodness, natural and nutritious.

The volume increase from dough to finished product was about 6 fold. All that lift created by my natural yeast...
 
Here it floats in water fermenting away. Beloved lievito 2.0! 

-Michael

Comments

yy's picture
yy

You achieved an incredible crumb! I've been attempting Massari's "best panettone" formula (which looks pretty similar to the modern panettone formula above), and the last two rounds have been a total failure - the first time, the dough never rose properly, and the second time, the dough turned into slop due to improper kneading. Is there an easier formula that you'd recommend starting with while I'm still a panettone novice? 

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Thank you yy. You're right they're almost identical. There's just a little more egg yolk in the "modern" panettone. Massari's formulas consider half the yolk to be water. If you divide the quantity of yolk in half and it to the water you'll find it'll be 50% of the flour in the first dough.

For a long time I struggled to get the first dough rise anywhere near the 10-12hr schedule. My advise is to measure volume increase of the natural yeast. It must triple in under 4hrs and be done three times before use. Also specific temperature control is a must! - I use an aquarium heater.

Bear with me I'll dig out something easier... Or there is the "traditional" panettone on my worpress blog, which is super easy!

Toad.de.b's picture
Toad.de.b

Heck, who needs Christmas?  It's always time for a panettone as "perfect" as that. 

You've provided the formula.  Where does one find the process?  Book?  Online?

Thanks.  And congratulations on that piece of perfection!

Tom

 

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Thank you Tom.

The recipe comes from the book Cresci: The Art of Leavened Dough". A wonderful book if you're interested in Italian pastry.

Iginio's "best Panettone" can be found here in Italian and here translated into english. It's almost identical to this one.

Cheers.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

best looking blob of glistening dough I have ever seen on a counter and not a speck of flour anywhere.  Just magnificent bread in every way. You have the method of panettone making mastered and your output is a work of art or better if there is such a thing.  So inspirational.  Can't wait to try to make my frst one - getting close now! 

Bake on my friend!

mwilson's picture
mwilson

I agree, to me the raw dough looks better than the finished product! These doughs are always turned out onto butter rubbed counters and handled with butter rubbed hands - hence no flour. Mastering the Panettone first involves mastering the natural yeast! 

Thanks for your kind words dabrownman. I look forward to seeing your Panettone. 

P.S. Something I didn't mention was that I soaked the sultanas in Marsala wine. I feel like this tid-bit would interest you...

Regards,
Michael 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

tips.  I think I would take all the dried fruits and citrus and soak them in some bourbon or cognac but I do have some Marsala.  natural yeast in the dough I can beat it into submission with 40 minutes of French slap and folds :-)  I'm really starting to look forward to this and will re read your blog before a first try.

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

WOW,

This is a stunning loaf!    Love the dough on the counter shot too.  Good example of strong gluten and a lot of egg yolks.  Looks like one huge egg yolk! I also really like the photo of your leaven in it's bowl of water.  Very interesting process.  Why is it fermented in a water bowl?

 I admire your ability to stick to a formula over and over again.....Me, I can't resist the temptation to tweak....

Take Care,

Janet

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Thanks Janet.

This Italian style sourdough is kept at room temp for 12-24hrs (ideally 16hrs) in either cold water or wrapped and tied tightly in cloth. Both methods serve to allow for correct fermentation and stop it from turning sour ie. stop a build up of acetic acid.

Regards,
Michael 

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Michael,

Thanks for the information but it leads to more questions...sorry....So how does the cold water or being tightly wrapped control the acetic acid build up?  Would not a stint in the refrig. accomplish the same thing? Do you have to keep changing the water while it sits out?

Janet

 

mwilson's picture
mwilson

I can only relay the things I've read...

Keeping the dough in water oxygenates the dough and this somehow prevents acetic acid from developing. Also it is just like a bath in that some of the acidity is washed away. It's new to me and it works well. I really like this method.

Being kept under pressure regulates consumption of the natural sugars. If unwrapped they are consumed in half the time. The trapped CO2 fixes the acidity...

Can't explain it much more than that. Still a bit of a mystery to me but these methods work!

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Thanks Mike,

Makes sense about the binding of the dough once I read your words but the water thing still puzzles me...Why doesn't the leaven dissolve in the water?  If I were to submerge my leaven in that much water it would come apart in no time at all and I'd have a bowl of really well hydrated starter..... :-O

Both methods sound intriguing and, maybe someday, I will give the water one a go; but for now I can't get the picture of dissolved leaven from my mind...Amazing....

What I currently do to keep my leaven on the sweet side is use fruit yeast waters in the buids before being used in a dough.  Now that is a method I do understand :-)

Take Care,

Janet

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Looks amazing Michael!

I so enjoy how much you love your beloved lievito.

cheers,
Phil

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Cheers Phil. It's my new baby... It spends a lot of time in the bath!

isand66's picture
isand66

Fantastic looking Panettone Michael!

Looks like to me you have perfected this one.  If you need to make some extra money just put an order form on your post and you will be making these for the next 2 months :).

Regards,
Ian

 

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Thanks Ian. I now feel very comfortable with the process and handling of my natural yeast. Still a few things to learn though...

I'd like to make and sell these but I need more helpful tools... Planetary mixers are useless for this task. Also I need a bigger proof box, bigger oven and so on... 

Regards,
Michael 

grind's picture
grind

Hello Michael, that's some beautiful baking.  Where did you get the aroma panettone?

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Thank you very much. I got the aroma from bakerybits.co.uk

grind's picture
grind

Thanks alot.

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

is really fantastic!! Meaning both the panettone and you, of coruse!! The crumb is excellent, stretchy and elongated. I'm afraid I'll never get that result, also because I'm a bit anarchic:).  My weekly panettone is head down, but I followed a different and new recipe.

I'm accustomed to more buttery recipes, I don't even remember when I tried this particular one of Massari's and how I liked it.

Do you happen to know the characteristics of the super-strong canadian flour? I'd like to try it, but Amazon doesn't absolutely deliver it to italy.

  Nico

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Thanks Nico. Always nice to hear from you...

The flour I used has a 15% protein content. see hear: http://www.waitrose.com/shop/ProductView-10317-10001-2744-Waitrose+very+strong+Canadian+white+flour

I doubt they'll ship it to Italy. If you really want it, I could send you some... let me know...

Cheers,
Michael 

grind's picture
grind

Molino Caputo , over there in Italy, carries high protein Canadian Flour -

http://www.molinocaputo.it//index.php?module=ecommerce&modulePage=dettaglio&id=12

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

it's not the same thing. Wheat is probably milled differently than in north America and moreover I'm quite sure that flour milled in italy is always blended. In a mail I received one miller admitted very clearly that they never sell pure american flour because "people in italy are not accustomed to that level of tenacity". Probably he's not the only one to make that reasoning.

grind's picture
grind

Have you actually asked the Caputo folks?  Or do you already know that they blend their imported (Manitoba) flour?

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

I don't know why but the first photo of the raw yellow dough makes me chuckle.  Looks so goofy!

Anyway, this Panettone look absolutely perfect.  It intimidates me beyond belief.  My wife is a connoisseur and she wants yours right now.  Should I be jealous?  Wait no, we are talking about Panettone, that's right.

Great bake Michael. 

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Goofy?! Is it the colour? I purposely used eggs from corn-fed chickens as they would in Italy...

Lol. Thank you for the compliment... ;)

Cheers,

Michael

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

No, No...it has nothing to do with anything you had done.  I just have never seen panettone dough before.  And let's just say it reminds me immediately of something my cat produced on a couple occasions.  It's just an image I cant get out of my head.

Either way, the end result of your dough looks amazing! :)

John

grind's picture
grind

Hi Michael, what kind of feeding schedule did you use?  I've read that Italian bakers feed their starters ever for hours in order to keep the yeast colony up and to limit the bacteria's influence in the final outcome.

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Hi,

Yes I fed it every four hours at 28C, three times before using to make the first dough. This, as you said, serves to boost yeast power and limit bacteria. Because I don't make Panettone every day it's not necessary to maintain this frequent feeding schedule daily. Instead the madre (mother) dough is kept at room temperature (~18C) and fed every 12-24hrs, typically every 16hrs.

The feeding is always 1:1. 1 part leaven, 1 part flour hydrated at 50%. These values can be, and are tweaked slightly from time to time to suit leaven and flour states/qualities. 

Please see more info over at my blog: lievito naturale

grind's picture
grind

Thanks again. Great blog, btw.  You do great work and I wish you the best with your business idea.

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Thank you grind. Really appreciate that.

Cheers,
Michael

kiki's picture
kiki

Looks BEAUTIFUL!!!

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Thank you kiki.

Luciana_DTT's picture
Luciana_DTT

Hi Wilson,your Massari is more than stunning! Bravo :) He is our N.1 challenge.

Just one question (as I have the same book).

In the 2nd dough when do you add the honey? It is not mentioned in the book and the precise moment is important.

I guess just after or before the egg yolks.Am i right?

And how long did the final proofing take?

Thanks :)

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Thank you Luciana.

Timing for adding the honey isn't that crucial. It incorporates quite easily, more so than sugar. I don't really follow the method and instead listen to dough.

Key points: Knead well the flour and salt with the first dough until very smooth, then cut into pieces (this helps with a domestic planetary mixer) before adding 1/3 yolks, 1/3 sugar and 1/4 butter. Wait until the dough starts to pull before adding more. I usually add the honey with the last of the yolks. Finish the mix with the last of the butter and then the water.

Final proof took about 6-7hrs at ~30-32C.

Cheers,

Michael

Luciana_DTT's picture
Luciana_DTT

Thanks for the hints Michael :) When i wrote i had already done ,maybe a bit more rougly (like Massaris descriprions) but all well.Have to wait 3-4 days for the cut.

For a Panettone of 1kg _First proofing was ready in 9hrs and 2nd in 5 1/2.

Your slice is unbeatable (free translation from italian :D)

 

Cheers,

bakinginQuito's picture
bakinginQuito

Yes, so inspiring that after finding your last post, i decided to make a couple last week, the result was very good even if here in Quito, we don't find Panettone aroma and candied citron (I had to prepare at home even  candied orange cubes ).

My issue is: I want to make the next batch with the glaze you normally spread on the Colomba pasquale...so I wrote a few minutes ago a couple of technical questions...Please, keep inspiring us with your passion and happy baking. Paolo from the Andes

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Hi Paolo.

Thanks very much.

If you still need a recipe for the glaze let me know.

Cheers,
Michael 

ww's picture
ww

I don't know why i do this to myself. Every year i tell myself to put panettone baking out of my mind - no time, no time to nurture the italian-style sourdough through the many cycles, no paper mould - and this time round, no mixer even, and a house too cold for the warmish temperatures the dough needs. YET i cannot help but think about panettones... you should see my 'clippings' of recipes to try. So this one goes into the 'file' and question you, Michael, I must. Sorry for this list of questions off the top of my head:

1. i saw on your blog that you've made quite a few versions of panettone, which is your favourite and why?

2.you give me hope when you say that the leaven is kept in cold water since the temp at home these days does not go above 15degrees. Is this just the storage stage? Your overall proofing temp was 30-32 degrees?

3.could you explain your recipe table above? The first column is ingredients by weight in grams and the last is baker's percentage? what about the other columns? With this formula, you get one big panettone? 

4.just how many egg yolks are there in this panettone? ;)) Should i want to cut back a little on the egg yolk, do you think i should up the water?

5.Did you use 100% strong canadian flour or a mix? 

6. you mentioned tremendous oven spring. You filled the mould to what level - half? two-thirds?

ok, this is what i can think of for now. I was in Italy a few months ago and your panettone looks as good as any. I love, love panettone  

thanks!

 

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Buy an aquarium heater with temperature control. They're not expensive. That way you'll have one less excuse ;)

OK, to the questions...

1. This is my favourite. I like the procedure and technical reasoning behind it. It has the highest sugar content I've seen for panettone making it very challenging and I love to be challenged. Not only that but the flavour is delicious and you can feel the nutrition going in when eating this natural cake.

2.Yes the storage of the starter aka mother dough (lievito madre) is at 18C. Warmer temps are for the usual three refreshments at 4hr intervals, first and second doughs.

3. First three columns are weights for 1Kg, 750g and 500g panettone. Bottom figures represent scaling weight, eg. 1100 for 1Kg panettone (+10%). Middle column is percentages where total flour is calculated over both doughs, e.g 80% flour in the first and 20% in the second. Last column is percentages per dough.

4. I not sure of your thinking here. Why would alter the formula just to save on egg?

5. Sometimes I use a mix but for this one I made here I used all canadian. My lievito is always maintained with Italian wheat though.

6. Dough typically fills just a third of the mould. It will triple in volume during the proof and then nearly double again with oven spring.

Thank you.

Michael

ww's picture
ww

hi michael,

thanks for your reply! an aquarium heater huh :) 

re eggs, it's to make it a bit less rich.

out of interest, do you feed your lievito madre regularly? i imagine at this temp and being so active, it must be a hungry beast.

oh yes, i forgot to ask this, did you make it by hand or with the mixer? Long ago i made a panettone by hand and it took me 50 mins to knead it into something resembling dough. I was not using strong flour, and i didnt know better so all the butter, eggs and dried fruit went in from the start. Believe me, it was not a pretty sight. 

pambakesbread's picture
pambakesbread

You really hit the mark --a fantastic bread. I would like to make it but do  not understand the recipe. What are the three columns of measurements on the left? Which one is the one you used and this is grams Right? Thanks I can only hope to get near the results you have achieved. Thanks for the posting.Pam

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Thanks Pam.

The answer to your question is already written in this comment here

Michael

pambakesbread's picture
pambakesbread

I girdled up my loins put on my apron and I have your recipe firmly in hand. Thanks for the idea of the aquarium heater I put a proofing box together with this brilliant idea..I do not think the goldfish will mind since they are pushing up tomatoes in my garden.

Thanks for explaining the numbers the rest of the recipe is very clear. Now I have Pendleton Mills Power Flour - High Gluten Four (14%). I use it for all my Rye breads as it is strong enough to give them the lift they need to overcome the gummy texture of Rye. Is this too strong a flour for your recipe?

I am looking at your results and boy do I want to get there, they are gorgeous!! If I can replicate you results I will never by boxed Panettone again!! Thanks again, Pam

nickboggon's picture
nickboggon

This looks fantastic.  Just one question  - and forgive my ignorance - what are orange cubes?

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Cheers. Sorry about the wording, candied orange peel cut into cubes is what I meant. (I use very thick peels)