The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Back to drawing board-Panettone

ehanner's picture

Back to drawing board-Panettone

I posted this on the end of Floyd's post on Panettone but I thought better of it getting more readers on its own. I could use some help.

My batch of Panettone smelled heavenly as it baked for nearly 2 hours. I checked every 15 minutes after an hour. i divided the recipe in Floyd's post in half and loaded it in two ornamental paper buckets. It was about 1/4 to 1/3 full. I let them proof for 3.5 hours at around 80F and I did use the osmotolerant yeast. They rose slightly and did dome some where I made a cross cut and plopped a dollop of butter.

I'm pretty sure the reason it took so long to get an internal temp of 185F is that the dough was so dense.

Looking at why it didn't rise well:
I saw on the Italian site that they use only egg yokes. Sooo, I figured that 2 egg yokes would be about the same as 1 whole egg. Later I checked and I see a yoke is around 18g where the entire large egg, minus the shell is closer to 50g. I was a little short of egg product it seems.

Thinking about how the dough felt, I think it may have been a little dry. I added the egg yokes to the booze and whisked them together. I added the butter to the flour and other dry ingredients and broke it up by hand similar to making a pie crust or biscuit. Now I'm thinking maybe I should have added it after the dough was combined and partially developed, similar to a straight brioche.

I just put together a batch of mid level brioche in my old KA mixer to see how it would compare in texture. It is a very nice dough of much better quality than what I did yesterday and I have no doubt it will rise perfectly later today and would be a good base for Panettone with the fruit additions.

I should say that my wife has been noshing all morning at my mistake and thinks I'm nuts. She thinks it tastes great. It's starting to look like the first 2 Lb loaf isn't going to last the day.:>) Yes, I know you are supposed to wait a couple days to cut into it.

Any of you Panettone experts out there, I'd be happy to hear your take on my door stops.



clazar123's picture

I jumped on this recipe because I've had great success with his recipes.But I think this one needs a little adjustment. I posted at the end of his thread and then decided to post a thread "Pannetone in a can"in the "General" category of the forum. You can see what my issues were. 1.It didn't want to rise and 2. It was too dense with fruit. Tasted great-smelled wonderful-very dense.

I believe a major part of the problem is that there is way too much fruit listed. There is a total of 4 cups of fruit!!! That is an awful lot for the amount of dough involved. I believe it should be a max of 1 to 1 1/2cups of fruit-total. Take a look at other pannetone recipes and you will see what I mean.

Except for the pre-ferment, the recipe is similar to the Lazy Man's Brioche recipe which is a wonderful recipe. I've made that about 6 times in the last few weeks and it has never failed. My next "pannetone" is going to be the brioche dough with vanilla,fioiri siciliano and only 1 1/2 cups of fruit. Maybe I'll do a pre-ferment within the existing ingredients or an overnight refrig retard to develop more flavor but I am looking for a bread with fruit rather than a dense fruitcake.

Keep posting-I really want to get a good recipe.

ehanner's picture

I agree to some extent about the amount of fruit. When I was mixing it I thought it was a huge amount but when baked and cut it didn't seem so to my wife. I agree with you that the underlying bread is a brioche and that not enough attention is made of getting the dough developed prior to adding the fruits and nuts. With a good brioche dough, smooth and fully ready to be cooled, I don't know how this could fail. Changing the hydration after adding the fruits would be impossible. So long as you dry the raisins after soaking, they should have minimal impact on hydration.

Have you had a look at ananda's (Andy) Panattone recipe? Nico's comments below are also along this line.

Andy pointed out to me that egg whites contain an amount of protein which should improve strength in the dough I think. 

I'll be starting another batch today with my new found wisdom :>)


nicodvb's picture

Eric, a panettone is always a very challenging task.

For a 1kg form I use a dough made with 900 gr of dough proper and 250 gr of raisins (soaked and dried) + candied fruits. Short formula: dough in kg=1.15 * volume/3.

The dough should be very elastic and tender, absolutely not overly tenacious or dense. Since it must raise a lot generally I fill 1/4 of the volume and let it rise until the rim.

Just cutting the surface is not enough: you should do what they call "ears", that means lifting all the 4 quarters of tiny crust (formed in the last hour when the dough is in the open air), adding some butter and laying back the 4 ears over it.

I tend to think that heat should come mostly from the bottom and that the panettone shold stay as far as possible from the upper resistence, or the top will crust soon and not develop a proper dome. Take this with a grain of salt: my panettone curricula is constellated with many and horrible disasters!

My eggs generally have 15-16 gr of yolks and 40 gr of white. Generally I discard whites because several times I noticed they tend to make the baked dough dry sooner. Better use plain water, instead. Whites are good for the eventual glossing with almond powder and sugar.

Finally: leavening should be slow, or aromas won't develop properly. Always use a properly refreshed starter (2-3 times) or very little yeast in a biga.

You should also hang the panettone head down (using large sticks) for 6 hours just straight out of the oven: this prevents a collapse at the center and permits humidity to remain trapped inside thanks to the bottom of the form (it's thicker than the rest).

Post finally: never slice a panettone before 2 days! or aromas won't be fully developed and mixed.

highmtnpam's picture

Has a wonderful Panettone recipe.  I just made it and it was a total success.  But I think tis recipe had 7 egg yolk and 2 eggs.  It made 18 small panettone.  


clazar123's picture

I soaked my fruits in rum and used that as part of the liquid, as suggested by floyd. I wonder if using higher proof liquor should be counted as the liquid portion of any recipe? Doesn't a significant portion of it evaporate in baking? There is a popular pie crust recipe that uses vodka as the liquid because it makes the pie dough soft and easy to roll out but evaporates in the cooking so the crust is dry and perfectly flaky.Does hard liquor have the same effect in a bread recipe-thus leaving the crumb drier than expected when  the alcohol portion evaporates?

This is always a good resource:

Take a look at Susan's setup for hanging the panettone! Reminds me of my grandma's noodles hanging everywhere to dry.She also has a lot of helpful comments. She talks of developing the starter (as Nick mentioned) and also the importance of developing the gluten in this dough to support the sweet,airy texture with the heavy fruit.

I am curious to hear from Nick, with his extensive background, on the question of the alcohol and its effect on bread.I think the rum may have been better for the baker than the dough! :)

 Panettone,made traditionally,does seem very challenging. I may stick to brioche for a while.


nicodvb's picture

in small portions it won't probably have any effect, but in large amounts...?

pmccool's picture

Hi Eric,

I make no claims to expertise with panettone, seeing that I've only made it once.  What I can tell you is that the recipe I used called for mixing the butter and yolks into the second stage of the dough.  My expectation is that it allows the gluten to be fully developed before coating the gluten strands with fat, supporting the enormous expansion that is typical of a panettone.

In that same vein, I wouldn't rush to cut down on the quantity of fruit.  It looks like a lot in the unfermented dough but that three- to four-fold expansion of the final dough will spread the fruit pieces apart quite a bit.

When it turns out well, or even to the liking of the one who eats it, it is defnitely worth the effort.