The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


d_a_kelly's picture

Hi bakers everywhere!

I made this a few weeks ago but have only had the chance to post it now. I took the recipe from Cresci, by Massari and Zoia. In the book it's for a panettone but I thought I'd try to make it in the form of a colomba because it was around Easter and I still had a few colomba cases left to use :)

This is a very unusual panettone recipe in the all the flour goes into the first dough. The traditional method is to split the flour between the two stages. I'm not quite sure what the benefits of this are (allowing for more autolysis) but there are a few recipes in the book where this happens. I'm pretty certain that these "non-traditional" formulae are associated with Achille Zoia. I've been working on his panettone paradiso (another flour-all-in-one recipe) on-and-off now for over a month and I kid you not, I've only made it work once, despite about 15 attempts!! Fool that I am, the one time it worked I didn't take any photos, but the crumb was the softest and moistest of any panettone I've ever had, so I'm determined to persever. But back to the colomba...

The recipe calls for hazelnut paste and gianduia amara. I bought the hazelnut paste online (very expensive) because I don't have the equipment to make a truly smooth paste at home. The gianduia I made myself, using the following recipe (in grams). I took amara here to mean the use of dark chocolate rather than milk. I used Amedei toscano black - a really delicious, and Italian, chocolate.

hazelnut paste 50

dark chocolate 70% 20

cacao butter 6

icing sugar 50

melt the chocolate and cacao butter together and then blend in the icing sugar and paste. It's important to stir constantly and drop the temp as quickly as possible to 26C to prevent it from separating. I took this recipe from Valrhona's cooking with chocolate book.

I made the first impasto at about 10pm so that I could go to bed and rise the next day with it ready.

sugar 79

water 177

hazelnut paste 32

very strong flour 316

Italian sweet starter 63

butter 63

I left the flour, sugar and water to autolyse for half an hour and then added the other ingredients, working it until the dough was stringy.

The next morning it had tripled in volume (12 hours precisely) so I reworked it with the following:

sugar 47

honey 32

butter 47

gianduia (melted) 47

hazelnut paste 32

yolk 73

salt 2.5

vanilla quarter of a pod

water 9

milk chocolate 62

dark chocolate 47


take 991 of the  impasto and add chocolate pieces. For the milk choc I used Valrhona's Jivara, and a mix of Amedei toscano black and Valrhona's Manjari for the dark. 

My last attempt at forming a colomba hadn't been a success, so taking inspiration from thefreshloaf, I decided to fold and stretch it repeatedly until I had a nice tight ball. I let this rest for an hour and then repeated the process, before putting it into the shape. I was much happier with the shaping this time, the dough had a better, tighter skin on it.

I had just enough dough left over to make a "panettoncino" of about 85g. 

About 6 hours later (held at c. 30C) it was ready to go in the oven. I glazed it, covered it was sugar granules and almonds, and then dusted it was icing sugar.

My glaze this time was a little thicker than I've made it before - too thick I think, even though I followed my usual recipe. I should have added a tiny bit more egg white. It was just a tad too thick to be easily spreadable. In the oven then for 50 minutes at 170C. I didn't bother with steam because I was worried about the icing sugar. I'm not sure it made any difference.

Oven spring was enormous. The top photo doesn't really do it justice. I doesn't show just how much over the edge of the form it is. I slightly crushed it with my hand when I was turning it upside down (idiot!!!) but apart from a crack on the surface, it popped right back out when it was hanging during cooling. 

The colomba itself was a present, so the only crumb shot I have is from the panettoncino. I think there was just a little too much impasto in the pirottino... markets them as 100g cases, but I think even 80g is too much if you are using them for a panettone. I think perhaps 70g might have been better. 

Well, my conclusions...

I tasted both the baby panettone and the colomba and I was very... disappointed!!! There was zero(!!) taste of hazelnut from it. Zero!!! The hazelnut paste I used was professional quality (it certainly had a professional price) but it didn't even leave a trace of flavour in the finished product. The photo in Cresci implies a deep brown crumb, but my crumb looks more beige. I didn't know what industrial strength paste Zoia must be using to achieve any flavour or colour on this one. The crumb itself, although very shreddy, as it should be, was also quite dry. The driest of all the panettone I've made so far. All I can say is thank God I used good quality chocoalte, because otherwise the entire thing would have been very uninteresting. 

It's a great shame, because I'd been looking at the recipe for ages, thinking it would be great. Where is the hazelnut flavour?!?!? Another thing I've noticed is the how much growth in the colomba is lost to sideways motion. The circular shape of the panettone form is very strong, so all the growth is directed upwards. The colomba seems structurally weaker, you can see how the sides have bulged out and become distored. 

I need a break from panettone making for the moment... the repeated disasters with the panettone paradiso have knocked my confidence terribly. Hopefully a break will allow me to... what? I'm not giving up on it though. I refuse to be beaten by a bit of flour, butter and egg!


mwilson's picture

Thanks Luciana for posting this recipe.

Gotta love chocolate!

Recipe source:

Final dough moulded and later fully risen.

Primo Impasto:

  • 230g flour, I used very strong
  • 90g sugar
  • 120g egg yolks
  • 100g water
  • 80g butter
  • 100g natural yeast, refreshed three times prior

Secondo Impasto:

  • 50g flour
  • 20g egg yolks
  • 15g sugar
  • 60g butter
  • 2.5g salt
  • 60g cocoa paste (1/3 cocoa +1/3 butter + 1/3 sugar)
  • 130g candied orange cubes
  • 100g chocolate chips, I used 50g milk / 50g dark
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • zest of 1 orange
  • seeds of 1 vanilla pod
  • 15-20g water to adjust dough consistency

Up close before before being scored with a cross and cooling upside down after the bake.

After cooling completely, this panettone was wrapped and left to mature for 5 days before being cut into… The texture was the best I’ve had so far, very bready and very shreddy. For my taste this could have done with a little more salt even though I did raise it to 3 grams already.

Various photos of the crumb.



dabrownman's picture

That’s right.  I’m one of the few people who can truthfully say they were born losers.  I am a twin and the second one born.  So, I managed to lose the first race I ever ran and was born in 2nd place – the worst kind of loser.  Luckily, I can’t remember much about my horrible awakening to the outside world that day so long ago, another loss I suppose.  Maybe I’m double, double born loser though.

That’s right a second time.  It is not the end of the terrible two’s that day.  I was also born on the 2nd day, of the 2nd month in a year that was 2 years past 1/2 a century.   I mean there ought to be a law that limits how many two’s a twin can be stuck with on one day don’t you think?

I would love to have back all the money I have bet on 2 and 22 over the years - roulette, lotteries, sports, etc.  #2 has never been kind to born losers like me, but that doesn’t stop us from trying to make it our lucky number.  We are eternal optimists and think things will change after all these years of suffering.  We think we will wake up from this bad dream and be born first and the number 1 has really been kind to us.  But no – it isn’t so – at least not yet.

So to celebrate, at lunch today, my wife and I split a 2 cheese, 2 bread and 2 meat panini with 2 homemade kosher dill pickles and 2 hot condiments, salsa verdi on chips and pickled jalapenos sans seeds.  The 2 breads can be found here :  

White Whole Wheat with Combo YW, Poolish, SD Starter, Water Roux and Wheat Berry Scald

Multi-grain Sourdough Chacon with Olives, Sun Dried Tomato, Garlic, Rosemary and 2 Cheeses

We split one of the 2 sandwiches in two to make 3 sandwiches since I was going to eat 2 of them and there was no really good reason for my wife to go hungry again this time.  . My wife lit 3 candles, one on each sandwich representing one for my brother and 2 for me since I am twice as good him on my worst day – which can be pretty bad come to think about it.

He always was and still is - the Evil Twin.  Most people don’t even know there is always an Evil Twin but, take it from a real Born Loser, you are twice as likely to be the Evil Twin if you were unlucky enough to be born first on that day - a day of too many twos.  Yes, I guess I’m saying my twin is a real Double Doofuss of the Twofuss! 

Happy Birthday Brother - still thinking of you often and kindly but why…. we can’t remember, even though we do forget and forgive at least as easy as any other Born Loser is likely to do – when celebrating the worst day we can remember J

Tonight we will have the panettone birthday cake that is oddly cut in two, with 2 candles.  One candle is for the Evil Twin; the Double Doofuss of the Twofuss and the other is for the Born Loser.


I suppose there could be a sadder tale out there somewhere but, it I think will be difficult to duplicate The Tale of Too Many 2’s for Twins.

dabrownman's picture

The last bake of 2012, panettone, was supposed to cap off a year (actually 11 months) of usually decent individual and different bakes with different formulas that numbered well over 100 – quite an achievement that deserved a year end spectacular panettone.  But alas, it was not to be.


Sadly, baking gremlins worked their evil spells as soon as the fine looking, up to that point, panettone, hit the oven.

The conversion from rye sour to white Italian levain went well over several days.  The first dough more than tripled in volume in 12 hours. The gluten development of the second dough was very good with an extremely fine window pane.  The second dough build rose very well too.  All looked good as we loaded the dough balls into the home made panettone moulds.


The dough rose well in the (2) moulds that held over 800g of dough each and then the glaze went on when they were fully risen after 6 hours.  They were just right for baking when they went into the 350 F oven.

Then the first of several catastrophic disasters struck.  First off, the bottom of the moulds blew out one side under oven spring and the panettone took on the look of a tower in Pisa- only leaning over to a greater degree than the famous tower.


The recipe said to bake for 45 minutes until the inside read 185 F they didn't look quite done so we baked them for an additional 10 minutes – but forgot to check the inside temperature – never ever do this.


We took them out of the oven and hung them upside down from my wife’s clothes drying rack.  My wife didn't like that at all, since it was in the living room with carpet and said to get a towel under the two bat like hanging panettone.


By the time I got back with the towel, the panettone had separated in the now clearly, way underdone, still liquid centers and plopped the bottom half of each onto the carpet.  My apprentice wanted to fix this problem in her normal way so it was all I could do to keep her from wolfing the fallen ones down with her being a short legged wolf descendant.

Here is the other one that managed to fall on it's liquid center so the glaze is still intact.

I un-hung the remaining half of the panettone and stuffed what I could of the now carpet fuzzy half back in on top and sent them back into the heat to bake to1 85 F - as they should have been baked originally.  It was another 30 minutes before they read 185 F and were taken out to cool on a rack – no hanging upside down this time.  It seemed pointless since no right side up could be discerned after careful perusal from all angles.

Oddly, even though they were deeply brown on the outside and the right temperature on the inside, they were still not done in the center and looked like they needed to bake to 205 F like other breads.

Remember, this all took place on New Year’s Eve and I could say that my apprentice was already snockered and responsible for this ridiculous baking feat.   But No!  Even though she was still totally responsible for the catastrophic outcome, she hadn't had a thing to drink with it being before 5 PM and is just a near worthless baking apprentice.

So 2012 ended on a gooey, messy, carpet fuzzy kind of note but, the panettone sure tasted good after being toasted for 7 minutes to finally get it done.  Use your thermometer and bake until done in 2013.  Also use a tin for panettone if you don't have proper moulds :-)

Happy New Year.

mwilson's picture

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! 


mwilson's picture

I couldn't resist making my favourite Panettone again!

As I wrote previously my regular Italian sourdough has been dried up and stored away in the fridge so that I could focus on making rustic sourdough breads. I created a new, wet 100% hydration starter but the temptation to convert it into a new Italian starter was too strong. And after bringing it to maturity I couldn't resist making Panettone again!

So here we have one of my favourites courtesy of master pastry chef Igino Massari. Entitled “The Best Panettone” this is one very soft, very sweet and very moist cake!

I made dough for a 500g mould but the smallest ones I have in stock are 750g capacity. Consequently the resulting shape isn't as proud as the Milanese style. I didn't glaze it and instead cut ears…

Paper removed.


Finally, I now have a better understanding of how best to mix the second dough. I have achieved the best crumb so far. I like those open pockets!

First dough: (26C for 12hrs)

  • 30g Lievito Naturale
  • 120g '00' Flour
  • 45g Water
  • 38g Sugar
  • 30g Egg Yolks
  • 43g Butter

Second dough: (28C until tripled ~8hrs)

  • 30g '00' Flour
  • 39g Egg Yolks
  • 30g Sugar
  • 7.5g Honey
  • 46g Butter
  • 21g Water
  • 2.4g Salt
  • .3g Aroma Panettone
  • .3g Vanilla
  • 60g Sultanas
  • 45g Candied Orange
  • 15g Candied Citron

Total Ingredients:

mwilson's picture

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.


adamkopp's picture


December 17, 2011 - 6:59am -- adamkopp

Making a Panettone - using recipe from Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker Apprentice.  Have my seed starter going for 5 days, getting ready to make the Barm.  Panettone to follow in a few days.  

Any pointers / suggestions from the group is appreciated.



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