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My first panettone milanese: notes on the trial run, formula and method, with thanks for all advice!

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

My first panettone milanese: notes on the trial run, formula and method, with thanks for all advice!


Thanks to all who encouraged me with this project. I baked my trial run in a case made out of parchment, with a card and parchment bottom, moulded around the outside of a coffee tin, glued with flour and water paste. This was enough to take 500g of dough. The homemade case lasted the test run but got a bit battered. The high shape was also a bit hard to bake out.  It has a Shakerish charm when spruced up with ribbon but was coming apart at the seams a bit after the bake. However, It did the job and I have now ordered some of the Italian cases.

I looked at a range of formulae for panettone but knew that I wanted to use natural leaven. I was also keen to use an Italian recipe. The formula was an adaptation of a natural leaven panettone milanese from an Italian pastry chef, suggested by Nico. (Putting the URL in Google translate gets an English version for just over 2kg). I scaled this down to slightly less than 500g, reduced the fruit content a little and added lemon zest and a glaze. I reduced the fruit content in line with other formulae because I thought too much fruit would make a dense cake. However I didn't anticipate how much the cake would rise in the oven so will consider scaling it up again slightly. 

I also watched quite a few videos of Italian versions of panettone making posted by TFLers over the years, to get some idea of technique. The main difference was that I would be mixing by hand and most bakers I saw used a dough mixer or special kneader to mix the dough. Nevertheless, one of the videos described the kneader as mimicking the movement of 'a man's hands' so I guess the dough must have been trough needed originally? Well that was it - I could do this with 'a woman's hands' LOL. Andy suggested air kneading, which I use regularly for sourdough. It proved to be a very efficient way to develop the dough: More on that below. 

Below I've given my scaled down formula plus notes on method, particularly when I did things slightly differently from the original. Most departures were to make the dough easier to hand mix, in ways that were meant to keep the integrity of the formula.

This is a beautifully balanced formula. It is not particularly sweet or buttery, which I think makes the dough easier for a beginner to handle. This also suits our tastes, although other bakers may prefer a more enriched formula. Nonetheless, it is shot through with beautiful, intense burst of flavour due to the peel, limoncello coated raisins, zest and essences. It is possible to make more enriched dough with this formula. Nico reports that up to 120g of both butter and sugar per kilo may be added. As the fruits give a lot of the flavour it’s worth making your own or going for a flavoursome store brand. I was wary of overdoing the essence this time and making the dough too 'perfumey': However I will try slightly more next time. Now I’ve kneaded it once I may try a bit more butter, to compare, but will keep the sugar content low, particularly as using the raisin yeast adds subtle fruit sugars.

Do try this formula if you can. It's time consuming but I also found it soothing to just be rhythmically mixing and forming the panettone. Fills the house with gorgeous scents too! When cut into it had an airy crumb (phew), and tasted delicious. This formula suited us down to the ground and was a great find – thanks Nico!

Some notes on initial preparation.

3-4 days before baking: strengthen your leaven.

Many of you probably know this already, but it was interesting for me to learn how traditional Italian artisan panettones use a special stiff, sweet leaven. Instructions for making this are on the original link. Susan at Wild Yeast, whose detailed post on panettone baking was a great help, also gives a way of preparing a leaven, based on a regular sourdough.

Such leavens have strong raising power but are not particularly acidic. They can take a sweet dough through a long fermentation without being broken down and without giving too sour a tang to the final dough.

This type of leaven is traditionally refreshed every 4 hours for several days before being used. However as I have to be away from the starter for several hours at a time I did what Susan did and refreshed it at least twice a day over several days, stepping up feeds the day before baking.

Over the last few weeks I have been using a leaven refreshed with raisin yeast water. This has proved to have very strong raising power. I also thought that as the yeast had grown strong in the presence of a lot of sugar from the raisins, it would cope well with enriched dough. This proved to be the case :-). More about making a raisin yeast water leaven plus much more on fruit and vegetable yeasts is on this thread, started kindly by RonRay, with great additions from Akiko and Karin.

Following Susan's method I also used a gram of fresh yeast in Dough 1. I'm not sure I'd do that again as the power of the raisin leaven was awesome. I know from baguette making that over 12 hours even 1 g of yeast can produce a good rise. However the dough only needed to treble and it quadrupled on an unheated bench! Next time I think I will rely on the raisin yeast alone.

The Italian instructions are for a leaven of about 44% hydration, fed with the flour used in the final dough. There is much debate about what flour to use for panettone. For the second dough I used only Waitrose Canadian Very Strong White Bread Flour at 15% protein. This indeed lives up to its name. I used a mixture of 66% of this flour and 34% of Italian Alimonti Organic Type 00 at 11% protein in the first dough, to give me a little bit extra extensibility as well as strength.  I do have to say though, following advice from Nico, that I think using a strong flour in this formula is key to getting a strong dough and good aeration.

My first test leaven for this project was around 50% hydration, fed with raisin water and the 66/34 flour mix. However in the end I did not use this but went back to my usual leaven. I’m not sure if it was because the Canadian flour is so strong and my yeasts had not been fed it before, or b

ecause low ambient temperatures slowed fermentation, but this mix produced a leaven that rose but which was so strong that it tended to ping in on itself. In the end it fermented less well than my normal leaven.

Since my normal leaven had shown great rising power when used in sourdough, I switched back to that. This is a mix of existing starter, raisin water and 50/50 Waitrose Own plain white and plain wholemeal flours in 1:1.5:2 ratio (approximately 64% hydration?) I refreshed this over 3 days, moving as close as I could to 4 hourly feeds in the day before baking.


Day before baking


Dough 1 is prepared and ingredients are laid out for the next day.


Although raisins traditionally go into panettone dry, as Nico pointed out they also benefit from being soaked in limoncello overnight!


Had only a limoncello miniature :-( so shook raisins in enough limoncello and grappa to just coat them and left them in an airtight container on the bench. This made the limoncello flavour less intense but also meant that they were drier when used and so easier to work into the dough. The limoncello did provide a beautiful flavour, nonetheless. 


One panettone baker on video stresses setting out all the ingredients for the next day, the night before. I guess in bakeries you need to keep to this discipline. I was doing panettone after hours of paperwork for a Friday deadline, so finished first dough at 2am. and was reeling. I prepared the raisins but really wish I had done it all, even down to breaking eggs and keeping them in containers in the fridge. Had spare white but not yolk. Would have saved me up to 3/4 of an hour the next morning, while the leaven was fizzing like a volcano. Didn't help that we arrived to buy candied peel after the super-organised bakers who made their fruitcakes in September had bought the best of the bunch and that I decided that what had been left at the store was too wan. I then hastily threw my own together with organic orange peel, honey, grappa and sugar syrup while I did other things! Was yum, though.


Baking day


Sees the addition of Dough 1 to Dough 2, any decoration you might care to do and the baking and hanging of the panettone. Have been told it's better after 2 day's curing. Oh no…I was like a child at Christmas. Can I open it yet?


The formula and method are below, with notes at the end about where my method was an adaptation of the original and what I might do differently another time.


Have to say the first thing is I would do differently is have a good breakfast!  My husband sat down to sourdough toast and eggs and would gladly have done some for me. However the leaven had risen so high that I just grabbed a bowl of muesli and ran! Several hours later I felt a bit giddy and realised I hadn't had very much to eat all day. Worth having a hearty breakfast, as although it is pleasurable mixing this by hand, it also demands endurance. Well worth it, however!



As a beginner baker, normally baking alone, one of my key needs has been to know more or less what the dough is meant to look like at different stages. When dealing with sweet dough for the first time, I was really helped by the detailed pictures and write up of such doughs given on txfarmer's blog. Many thanks for that tx.


I have included some pictures below, hoping they might be of some value to others. My apologies if some are dim as they were taken in low light in short time gaps between baking stages. Row 1 is Dough 1 and after that Dough 2. Dough 1 also had egg in it but that stage was so messy no photos were taken! Dough 2 pictures on Row 2 start after egg has been added. Air kneading is on this link. Be forewarned, however, the video can take up to 10 minutes to load. 









Below is more information on formula and method. Have done my best with this, but maths is not my strong suit. I would be glad to be told of any errors. Spare column is for any bakers who want to add baker’s percentages. I’ve also kept this column in case I have a sudden upsurge in maths skills and want to add them myself!

Hydration of total formula: (71 water 23 raisin water) 94/153 (97+38+9+9) = 61% (Please note raisin water also contains sugar and yeast but I couldn’t estimate how much. Working hydration might therefore be slightly lower.)

Updated: Just trying this again and noted 9g more butter has to be added to final dough so added this to chart for Dough 2. Is already in Total Formula. Apologies for inconvenience!

Total Formula: Dough

Weight

 

Waitrose Very Strong Canadian White Flour (15% protein)

97g

 

Italian Alimonti Organic Type 00 (11% protein)

38g

 

Waitrose plain white flour (in leaven)

12g

 

Waitrose plain wholemeal flour (in leaven)

12g

 

Water 

71g

 

Raisin yeast water (I added an extra 10g of raisin water to Dough. This is not included here)

16g

 

Fresh yeast

1g

 

Salt

2g

 

Sugar

39g

 

Honey

5g

 

Egg yolk

40g

 

Softened butter

39g

 

Raisins (coated with grappa and limoncello)

50g

 

Orange peel

50g

 

Mixed natural vanilla and orange water essences

2g

 

Lemon zest

2g

 

Total

476g

 

 

Initial leaven

Weight

 

Plain and wholemeal starter at approx. 64% hydration

9g

 

Raisin yeast water

13g

 

Plain white flour

9g

 

Plain wholemeal flour

9g

 

Total

40g

 

 

First Dough

Weight

 

Flour mix (66% Canadian, 34% Italian 00)

111g

 

Water

71 g

 

All leaven

40g

 

Fresh yeast

1g

 

Sugar

30g

 

Egg yolk (1 egg plus little extra)

20g

 

Softened butter

30g

 

Total

303g

 

 

Final Dough

Weight

 

First Dough all, from above

303g

 

*Canadian flour only*

24g

 

Egg yolk (1 egg this time!)

20g

 

Butter

9g

 

Sugar

9g

 

Honey

5g

 

Salt

2g

 

Liqueur coated raisins

50g

 

Orange peel

50g

 

Lemon zest

2g

 

Natural vanilla and orange flower water oils (1 coffee spoon)

2g

 

Total dough

476g

 

Glaze

Weight

 

Almond flour

10g

 

Bread flour

2g

 

Sugar

12g

 

Lemon zest

2g

 

Cocoa powder

1g

 

Egg white (see note below)

16g

 

Total glaze

43g

 

Total panettone weigh, pre-baking, with glaze

519g

 

 

Stage

Method

Preparing panettone leaven

Started to strengthen at least 3 days before, feeding at least twice a day.

Left the leaven covered on the bench.

Day before baking fed it as close to every 4 hours as possible.

Mixing of first dough

Weighed the leaven into a large mixing bowl.

Mixed fresh yeast with sugar, added water at 40C (ambient temperature was only C19. Adjust as necessary).

Poured this solution over the leaven and mixed with a dough whisk to a milky consistency.

I then added the flour and autolysed for 30-40 minutes.

In the bowl, mixed in egg by folding over into the dough with a spatula until there were no visible liquid bits on the outside to fly off when air kneaded.

Then air kneaded dough with oiled hands until the egg seemed well incorporated but the dough was not overworked.

At this stage it looked like a glistening, thick mayonnaise.

Put dough back in the bowl, folded in softened, cubed butter and air kneaded again, until butter was well incorporated.

The dough seemed a bit dry so I added 10g more raisin water, which effectively added more yeast. However please see note below and be led by your own dough. :-)

Temperature

Milanese formula suggests most of the preparation for baking be done at an ambient temperature of 20-22C.

First proof

The first dough was then left on the bench at room temperature for 12 hours, as in the Milanese recipe. Adapt as needed.

Mixing of final dough

First ingredients added to Dough 1, in the order indicated in the Milanese method:

Placed Dough 1 in the bowl: Mixed in flour, honey, salt, sugar

Formed into a ball.

Added the egg and incorporated them in the bowl; Added the butter and began to incorporate it in the bowl.

As I was hand mixing I departed from the Milanese method, at this point and did the following (see notes below for more detail):

Air kneaded in timed 10 minute ‘shifts’, testing the windowpane at each stage.

The dough was coming together well after 10 minutes.

After 20 I could pull and sustain a thin windowpane.

After 30 I could pull the dough to 'latex glove' consistency. 

I then chopped the fruit in using a bench scraper/Scotch cutter.

The dough is then left to rest for an hour.

Shaping

With oiled hands, I shaped the mixture into a rough ball and dropped it into the well-greased panettone ‘case’.

Second proof

Proofed at room temperature until the dough reached just below the top of the case.

Preparation for baking

Glazed the top of the panettone with a glaze based on one used by Nico for colomba and added cocoa. Topped with some blanched almonds. Glaze formula above.

I had heard about forming 'ears' on the panettone, but was not sure how to achieve this. Have since learnt from correspondence between Eric and Nico how this might be done.

Preheated oven to 180C

I left 2 small fajita trays at the bottom of the oven so that I could add some water in the second half of the bake. This does not turn to steam but provides humidity.

Baking

The Milanese method suggests baking for 1 hour at 180C for 1kg. In my oven, the 500g needed about 35 minutes. I suggest you adjust for your own oven. Mine is quite weak.

I added a small amount of water to the small fajita pans for the second half of the bake to aid humidity. The pans were not hot enough to create steam.

I needed to tent the panettone after 20 minutes with aluminium foil, to prevent the top burning.

Advised internal temperatures for panettone range from 185-190-200F. Mine peaked at 187F.

Cooling

Cooled upside down on skewers, overnight. 

Left 2 days before cutting. Note: That bit was hard!

 

Further notes:

Preparing panettone leaven: (See notes at top of blog about how the method in the grid differs

from traditional Milanese preparation).

Mixing of first dough: In one of the Italian videos, I saw bakers start mixing by making a syrup solution in a machine. This seemed a good approach for hand mixing as I find sugar harder to incorporate by hand than either eggs or butter.


I used some fresh yeast, as the raisin yeast was untested in sweet dough. However I think the raisin yeast would have been enough. It is, however, possible to mix fresh yeast with regular sourdough and get a great result, as Susan does.


Very few methods for mixing panettone call for autolysis. Many, and particularly those for mixers, call for all ingredients to be incorporated at once. However I find it hard to imagine making bread now, without autolysis, particularly when the method calls for strong gluten formation, as this one does.


The Canadian flour is very strong and sucks in water. The raisin water is also stickier than filtered water. After mixing the first dough looked a little dry to me so I added 10g extra raisin water.


This was a departure from the formula so be led by your own dough at this stage. In my case adding raisin water also added more yeast.  Also I see on the videos that the traditional Italian first doughs look quite firm.


Temperature and first proof: Ambient temperature in our house was around C19 at this point, falling to 15C at night. The recipe recommends an ambient temperature of 20-22C throughout the whole process. Lower temperatures did not retard the first dough, however, as it quadrupled in 12 hours.


I was worried the dough had gone over and that given the next ‘feed’ only included 24g of flour, it would not have power to do the second rise. This was unfounded as I hope you can see from the pictures above! However, next time I would try to take the dough off when trebled.  I would also try to weigh all ingredients for Day 2 the evening before, if possible so that I could add part 2 straight away if Dough 1 was very well developed.


Mixing of final dough: After adding the butter, I made some strategic departures from the method of the Milanese formula, in order to help the hand mixing. The method recommends that the fruit be added before mixing. When the fruit is incorporated no more kneading is done and the final dough is left to rest for 1 hour.


However I didn’t feel that I could mix a strong enough dough by hand without further kneading.


Thanks to Andy’s great advice I was also going to air knead and I wanted to mix and test the dough to full windowpane without having to bother about bits of orange peel and raisins flying in all directions!


Following Andy’s advice again, I cut the fruit in once the dough had reached a very strong windowpane.


I have never worked a dough to a very strong windowpane before. In fact I’ve never done such an enriched dough before. However I hope you can see from the picture at the start of Row 3 that the dough was very strong and pulled to ‘latex glove’ consistency. (My dh was at the shops at the time I took this picture so I got my friend ET to do the windowpane!). Joking – if ET had been there I would have got him to help with the mixing!


I was a bit concerned about spotting dough readiness but found, once started, that I had a sense of the dough I didn’t have when I started baking. For example, at one point I decided to rest the dough. I checked the timer and it had 4 seconds to go! Uncanny but I guess these skills build up?


However one of the things that helped me the most in terms of judging the strength of the dough was the picture of a strong windowpane that txfarmer gives on this post. Many thanks for giving such a clear illustration. Without it I think I would have stopped too soon.


Second proof: Milanese method suggests ¾ of an hour at 22C for this. However at lower ambient temperature this took about 2 hours, including ¾ final warming under plastic wrap with a bowl of hot water to take the dough from 19C to 24C.


Glazing: I glazed when the dough was just below the top of the case. Egg white was very ‘gloopy’ and hard to measure accurately, so 16g is an approximation. It could have been nearer 19g. I'd say be guided by how well your own mixture holds together. The ideal consistency, following Nico’s colomba method, is that of a ‘dense cream’. I added almonds on top in a star shape. Will place even closer together next time, if I use them, as the panettone rose so much the almonds ended up more like a fringe. Might invest in some pearl sugar next time, although may also use only a simple glaze so that dry ingredients don't risk impeding the crust expansion. (Have done this now in the wider panettone moulds and almonds in a ring in the middle weighed down the fragile dough so I think I would split the nuts and scatter or space them more widely, as seen on Sylvia, breadsong and txfarmer's panettones).


Baking: Thanks to the foil tent, the panettone top did not burn but it was vulnerable because of the abnormally tall homemade case. I think 500g of dough would bake out more evenly in a lower case.


I also greased the panettone case like a mad thing, because I was sure it would stick. In the end I peeled it off anyway, so this may have been superfluous and may have reduced browning? Any ideas on that front welcome.


However, I recommend the tenting technique over turning the oven temperature down to avoid burning the top, as suggested in some methods. I found, with a relatively weak oven, that when I dropped the oven temperature, the internal temperature of the panettone dropped from 186F to 177F.


Checking with a digital probe used outside of the oven that the temperature had climbed again, took so long that the panettone began to wobble on its base like a drunk at the bus stop. Crimped a bit but didn't collapse. Was a close run thing so won't do that again! Will either tent earlier or get a thermometer that can be inserted while the panettone remains in the oven.


My first panettone milanese: notes on the trial run, formula and method, with thanks for all advice! Daisy_A 2010




© Daisy_A 2010 FIrst published on The Fresh Loaf, December 15, 2010 at 12.22 GM time. I love to share bread stories and read other bakers' posts about bread. If you republish this page for 'fair use' please acknowledge authorship and provide a link to the original URL. Please note, however, I do not support the unauthorized and unattributed publishing of my text and images on for-profit websites..

Comments

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Lovely, Daisy.  Would you mind if I featured it on the home page for a bit?

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Floyd,


I'd be delighted. Thank you for asking.


I found it a good formula, so great to be able to share it.


Best wishes, Daisy_A

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello Daisy_A, Thank you so much for your time and effort in putting together this very informative post - the information you've provided will be so helpful to all of us who want to make this beautiful bread. The pictures are wonderful. The results are really, really lovely. I can only imagine the flavor!  Regards, breadsong

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi breadsong,


Thank you so much for your kind comments! I would encourage people to try this. It is a lovely, balanced formula. I hope there is time for those who wish to, to bake some before Christmas! I am also hoping to bake a few more to share when the papers arrive. 


It was fun to put the post together. I got the idea from a lovely Indian lady who is setting up a 'virtual cookbook' for her family. It's also easier for me to remember what I did when blogging, than when relying on the bits of paper I started with. They got a bit doughy!


Have also been enjoying reading about your inspiring Christmas baking. I come from a family where not a lot of people bake so it's been good to be part of shared TFL preparations!


Wishing you and yours the best for the Christmas Season, Daisy_A

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Thanks so much!, and I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas.
It has been really nice to see what everyone's baking and my, oh my, your bread is fabulous. from breadsong

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

and what a fantastic write up of your baking precedure.  Congradulations for a well deserved front page post!  I can appreciate the work that went into your baking and writing, you are very talented in both areas. 


It's wonderful seeing a variety or Panettone.  I just came onto tfl to post panettone I baked today...or should I say for the past several days, also have been at it...'lol'...I baked the same recipe from PRBBA.  I enjoyed it so much last year.  I've also had a problem with the paper molds..the ones I have are to large..I tried cutting them down some and it helped a little,  then in the middle of my first batch...what arrived at the door...5 boxes of goodies from KAflours and my order of smaller molds...I found at the local Sir La Table.


Happy Holidays,


Sylvia


 

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Sylvia,


Many thanks for your kind comments. I love writing. Also if I don't record what I do then next time I'm thinking - what did I do at this point? So then it just made sense to share, as I have got so much out of other TFLers' posts.


I agree it is good to see a range of panettone. I just looked at your post also - your panettone look superb! You managed to get the pearl sugar sprinkles too.


They are very hard to get in the UK. Zeb kindly directed me to the Swedish shop in London, which has them. However I think this will have to wait until next year, now as post is taken up with cards at the moment - quite rightly, given the season!


Your panettone do look gorgeous in the moulds, Sylvia. I have some on order so keep leaping up when I hear the door go. Hope they come soon :-). I can imagine how good it felt to get the KA and Sur La Table boxes!


Wishing you Happy Holidays also, 


Daisy_A


 


 

ananda's picture
ananda

Nice One Daisy_A,


A well-deserved front page feature.


All this work, and I would feel exactly like you; the hardest bit must have been to wait 2 days before slicing into it.   I'm sure they taste delicious


Best wishes


Andy

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Andy,


Thanks! Many thanks for your support and mentoring. It makes such a difference to feel there is someone to call on for advice and encouragement, rather than feeling you are on your own with it all.


In this case, I don't think I would have felt confident enough to attempt panettone without your support and Nico's and that of all the people and resources at TFL.


Does taste lovely and was happy to share it with P. Hoping to find time for a larger batch to share when the papers arrive.


Hope all is well your end. Best wishes, Daisy_A


 

Zeb's picture
Zeb

Hi Daisy, that is the most wonderful post and  panettone! I''m learning so much reading your essay. I've never heard of raisin yeast water and will definitely try it out - no need for the DME then is that right? 


 I made panettone last year for the first time and found the kneading experience by hand very hard, my egg clumped in the flour and I had lots of little bits that I spent about an hour picking out by hand in the end. I can't remember why it happened now.  It's also a real treat to read someone else using the exact same flours that I have available - I think I just used the regular strong last year when I made mine.  I am going to take notes from your experiences and get my mise en place together when I can schedule some time to make this again.  Thank you !


 

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Many thanks for your kind comments.


It is an essay, isn't it? Think I went into work mode, there. LOL. In all seriousness, though. I am such a novice at sweet baking. This is my second sweet cake after a rather random Victoria sponge I made to celebrate my husband and some of his pupils winning a round of Swot or Wot? (remember that?) If I don't make records I can't remember fully what I did when it went well. I have a kitchen notebook but I don't fill it in. Have lost some lovely stuff some that way, including a ras-el-hanout that I hand mixed and now can't reproduce :-(


Suddenly occurred to me that I do most reports electronically now, including online, I could do the same with baking, then print off the formula as needed. Then it could also be shared :-). Was inspired by an Indian home cook putting heritage family recipes online. Here is the link, if you are interested:


http://www.mamtaskitchen.com/about.php


My conclusion from my own baking is that the raisin water leaven I am using is sugar tolerant, so I don't need other sugar tolerant yeast for this formula, which is useful given its scarcity in the UK. Thanks again for putting me on to Totally Swedish. 


Leavens are such personal things that I can only vouch for mine. However Akiko and wao also say that raisin water is one of the strongest fruit yeasts. Ron's thread, linked in the blog, is great for information. Making the raisin yeast requires a clean jar, clean water and non-coated raisins. Like sourdough you do need to discard if there are any 'off' smells. You also need to leave room at the top of the jar to stir in oxygen. After that, if all goes well, it's easier than Sea Monkeys, in my opinion, put it that way…


I also found the air kneading a delight. Must let Andrew Whitley know. Flours worked well too. I found the hardest bit to be baking the panettone off in such a tall case. Just looking forward to the Bakery Bits cases arriving:-)


Would be lovely if you had the time to have a go at this. 


Very best wishes, Daisy_A


 

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Daisy, your panettone came out exceptionally well as the crumb witnesses.


You report is equally fantastic.


I have only one observation: please, next time don't let the first dough raise more than triple or big risks will be in sight. I made too many mistakes for having followed precisely the times indicates in that and other recipes.

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Nico,


Many thanks indeed for your encouraging comments. I have to say I couldn't have done this without the great formula that you suggested to me. The fact that I could do this shows how incredibly well balanced it is. I hope other bakers can be encouraged by this.


Thank you also for replying so quickly to all of my queries. That really did help.


You are not wrong about not letting the first dough more than triple! That did take me by surprise, as it managed to do that at a bench temperature 7C less than the recommended one, while I was asleep in my cosy bed.


I did think I had lost it at that point. It's a testimony to the strength of the yeasts and flour that it had the life in it that it did, because it looked like mature leaven. Pulled through well, as you can see but I wouldn't do that again!


Will try less yeast and less time on the bench next time. Given it may be Friday night, Saturday morning again I think I will also weigh all of the ingredients for both days at the beginning and keep any perishables in the fridge, so I can keep up with the lively dough.


Can't thank you enough for suggesting this, Nico. It was a cracker!


Best wishes, Daisy_A

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Daisy,


Congratulations on not only making some lovely Panettone, but having them displayed on the home page as well! Your writeup is an excellent guide to anyone wanting to make Panettone regardless of whether their experienced or relatively inexperienced. Great work!


Regards,


Franko

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Franko,


Lovely to hear from you and many thanks for your kind comments!


It was a surprise to be asked to have a post on the home page, but was honoured that Floyd asked -very kind of him!


I'm just glad to be able to share such a great formula, as I have had so much support here at TFL. Would never have been able to attempt this without it.


Wishing you and yours a good Christmas season, Daisy_A

RonRay's picture
RonRay

Daisy, you've posted an excellent blog - Congrats (º¿º)


Ron

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Ron,


Many thanks for your feedback :-) I am sure, as I stress, that the raisin water yeast made a huge contribution to the success of this project. Many thanks to you and Akiko for all your support on the wild yeast front.


Best wishes, Daisy_A

Mary Fisher's picture
Mary Fisher

Daisy, I know I said I wouldn't be looking at TFL until after Christmas but I'm glad I did - although there are several questions I have to ask you and shan't have time for a couple of weeks.


Could you possibly mail me at mary.fisher@zen.co.uk so that I can discuss various points in this fabulous part of your blog?


There's no urgency,


Must rush, Mary

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Mary,


Good to hear from you. I will contact you on that email.


With best wishes, Daisy_A

wally's picture
wally

and an exceptional write-up of the process you followed and why.  Truly a labor of love and the results show it!


Larry

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Larry,


Many thanks for your kind comments! They mean a lot coming from you, as I have been inspired by both your baking and your writing.


With best wishes, Daisy_A

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Yummy!! Daisy, that is one tastey greasy dough! How would you describe the falvor?

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Khalid,


Know what you mean! LOL. Final thing wasn't oily but dough was like a lovely mayonnaise :-).


My husband just bit one piece and exclaimed 'Mmm, yummy'. However to give a more detailed description I would say it's as we like it, which is a subtle and airy vanilla sponge, shot through with really intense bursts of liqueur and fruit flavour.


Others might like a slightly different style of panettone, though, and Nico reports that 120g extra butter and sugar per kilo can be added.


I look at the lovely Challahs, brioche and other sweet breads on here and I would love to make them. I really admire the bakers who do make them, but sadly I don't know how the breads are meant to feel and taste in the mouth.


With panettone I've been fortunate that Italian friends have shared them with me, so I had some idea of what I was aiming for. I'm glad to say this was close to it. I think that is down to the original Milanese formula, which this pastrychef has balanced very well.


I do have to say, though, that we love strong flavours. I only blanched the orange peel for a short amount of time so there was a strong afterburn of orange oil. Phew!


Hope you have time for some holiday baking also.


Wishing you and yours a good holiday season,


With very best wishes, Daisy_A

breadinquito's picture
breadinquito

and furthermore, very well explained every step!! WOW! i baked yesterday mine: very rich flavor, but unfortunately in Ecuador, don't sell the pape molds...I have a bit of envy, in this sense...aniway....keep deligthing you (and us) with new recipes...Cheers from Quito! Paolo

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Paolo,


Many thanks for your kind comments! I really do appreciate them knowing your food heritage, also. I bet your panettone were delicious. 


I am hoping the paper moulds will come for the weekend, in time to make some more for gifts. This one was the test run. I did manage with parchment moulded round a coffee tin but the moulds do look appealing. 


Wishing you and yours a good Christmas season,


With best wishes, Daisy_A

breadinquito's picture
breadinquito

You're right...my panettone was very good, probably the best i've done (in a series of 3 years in a raw)...why? the love and passion I put on it, but also the ingredients: I 'm lucky enough to have a very good friend (65 years, with breast cancer since at least 12-14 years) in Italy that specifically bought the oranges to make the candied orange peel (spending 30 box just to send them) for my panettone..as I told you...the success is also to find a good recipe and following it step by step...if I had a stand mixer (kneading by hand for 40 min a 6 pounds dough turns out a bit tiring for my back, to be honest) and could find paper panettone moulds, I would be planning to offer, next year home made panettone to banks or institutions that wish to give them to their employees...not a bad idea to sum up a bit more of money, don't you think? Happy baking and merry Christams from Quito! Paolo

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Paolo,


Sounds like your panettone was delicious! Such good oranges must have made all the difference to the flavour. How generous of your friend. I hope she is keeping well now. I found the same thing - a good recipe step by step is the way to go, plus some good, homemade peel. 6 pounds of dough by hand - wow!


I think homemade panettone to give as gifts would be a lovely idea. Are there any American or European suppliers of paper moulds who might ship to Quito? I know the price can be quite reduced for bulk buys or at trade suppliers. It would be something different and special for the employees to receive. Vamos a ver...


Wishing you happy baking also and a Happy Christmas to you and yours.


With best wishes, Daisy_A

geraintbakesbread's picture
geraintbakesbread

Daisy, what an amazing write up of your first panettone bake! I can't imagine how long it took you to put it together - it would have taken me longer to write than to bake (probably including the leaven build). I do make notes but nothing so comprehensive, this is something to aspire to.


And here's a photo of the crumb, nothing like as airy as yours & I didn't do too well on the fruit distribution either.



500gpanettonecrumb by sgratch13, on Flickr


I look forward to following your recipe & method sometime during the holidays. I had a go at air kneading today with 2kg sourdough, 70% hydration, but not sure how long I could keep that up. Much better than joining a gym in the New Year (not that I'd ever do that).


I hope your cases arrive soon & your next bake goes as well as your first.


Have a great Christmas.


Geraint

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Geraint,


Thanks for your kind comments! Your panettone looks delicious, like many of the Italian ones I've seen. I'd be delighted if someone offered me a slice like that! The artisan Italian panettone I've seen have a range of crumb patterns. You have the aroma too. Bet it tasted great.


In terms of the write up, like I said to Zeb I was inspired by an Indian cook who is putting heritage recipes online. Helps me not to forget what I did and it's there for others! I love to write and take photographs so I enjoyed it, really. I learnt to do formula tables really early on from Andy/ananda. If I've done something before, though I mostly just add a few sentences about what went differently to a written or electronic file with the formula on it. This is much more detailed because I'd not done it before. Helps me too as the original printed sheets are a bit doughy now!


Hope you get to have a go at this. Looking at posts on Floyd's thread, I would say try a stronger flour. Been advised that stronger organic whtes include Shipton Mill, Marriages and Waitrose Own (which lumos found was milled by Marriages). The Alimonti was organic (you say you have an Italian organic?). The Waitrose Own Canadian White is very strong. Did the job really well. However it's about the only non-organic flour I use. Marriages Canadian isn't organic either. Am hoping to source an organic Canadian but no luck so far. I'd be glad for a shout out if any UK bakers know of any.


I like doing this with sourdough. See Sylvia had a good rise with flour and water sourdough. I find the raisin yeast leaven gives a great rise. If you are into all things green it's an interesting yeast to keep as you can add different vegetables to it in season, as with natural wine making. 


Yeah - air kneading is a great upper body workout LOL. I did the panettone in 10 minute stages, grabbing a cup of black Earl Grey in between. Rests seemed to do the dough as well as the baker good!


Cases not here yet. Wondering if they are delayed coming from Devon? Would be great if you could do this. However, as I say, panettone above looks great! Still, nice to have more to share.


With best wishes for a good Christmas,


Daisy_A

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Daisy, for a strange case of life you happened to use a flour  the is produced in the same small town where my parents live. Actually I never liked it:-)

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi nico,


The Alimonti Bio? LOL. Town is coastal, then? Geographically this would be a bit like you working with Village Bakery, Melmerby flour, I guess. Your views on 00 are noted. Like it that you tell it straight ;-). I've quite enjoyed working with it in small amounts, though. Like that it is bio. Have got good, strong Canadian in there also but alone I find it over-elastic, like working a golfball. Great mixed, though. Got them both in Waitrose.


Best wishes, Daisy_A

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

I've been living in Ortona for 20 years myself and ... I can't say there's a single thing I miss of it, not even flour ;-)


Yes, canadian flour that is sold here is sooooo elastic! A pleasure to knead when you mix  it with some other fancy ingredient.

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Daisy_A,


A quick search suggests it will not be easy to source Organic Canadian White Flour in the UK.


Shipton do a wholemeal organic Canadian.   Their White No. 4 is a blend of Canadian and UK organic wheats.   This was our mainstay flour at Melmerby throughout the 1990s, so it is very familiar to me.


Other than that, all the "strongarm" Canadian white flours in the UK appear to be from non organic sources.


However, one could note that Canadian wheat yield is about an eighth the amount per hectare of the bread wheats currently produced in the UK.   Such intensity is derived from high fertiliser input, plus very intense seed sowing.   So, it is likely that non organic Canadian wheats are grown with more sensitivity towards the environment than the UK bread wheats.   Unfortunately, the flip side is that they've then been shipped half way round the world to get here, and are used at the expense of the local staple.


"Pays yer money, takes yer choice"???   Well, maybe, but we both know how complex this situation really is.


Very best wishes


Andy

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Andy,


Many thanks for looking into this. Was more or less as I thought. 


I would be interested in the Shipton wholemeal. May try to get some in the New Year.


I am moving more towards UK organic such as Bacheldre Mill rye, for main flours. Canadian very strong white is my least used flour but it is great for certain applications that need a very strong gluten sheath. Your information on fertility and the environment is reassuring. Might carry on going to my Canadian cousins for flour at Christmas then, while also supporting as many UK independent millers as I can rest of the time!  I am wondering, actually if Waitrose Canadian is milled by Marriages, as the rest of their flours are?


Very best wishes, Daisy_A

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Just hit an Italian produce Christmas market today and came away with some Dolcelatte, pecorino and also limoncello for store cupboard and gifts. Stallholder had panettone and was enthused when I said I belonged to an online community in which people supported each other to bake their own. Kept patting the one he had for sale and saying wistfully 'Homemade is so, so much better - no comparison' even though this was obviously not a great sales technique!


Daisy_A

Swathi's picture
Swathi

You  did wonderful job in creating this panettone.  loved the way  you put each step, so that  beginers like me can bake. I will try and let you know.

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Swathi,


Good to hear from you. I have to say that I was encouraged by Susan at Wild Yeast whose panettone link is in the blog. Her view was that panettone was 'not for the faint hearted' but that it could be done by a beginner if they got prepared and took it step by step. 


I'm happy to pass on the encouragement! It would be great if you could do this.


With best wishes, Daisy_A


 

geraintbakesbread's picture
geraintbakesbread

Today's edition of the Food Programme (a BBC Radio 4 programme here in the UK) had a 15min feature on panettone. Listen here (for the next seven days) http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00wntyn including an artisan bakery in Italy making a sourdough one & a homebaker. Good piece on buche de noel too.


Don't understand why the homemade panettone featured is only good for a couple of days though?! Not our experience, eh Daisy?


 


 

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Geraint,


Many thanks for this link. Look forward to following it up.


No - my experience of panettone was similar to yours - only reason it might only last two days is because panettone in general is so yummy that everyone wants to eat it up! Otherwise I found, like sourdough bread, it was fine for a good few days. Put it in an airtight tin, though, which I don't with breads.


Followed up your panettone link on Flickr by the way. You have some tasty looking sourdough on there as well!


Best wishes, Daisy_A

geraintbakesbread's picture
geraintbakesbread

Hi Daisy


We finished our last piece of panettone this evening, a week after baking, and if anything it was better than earlier in the week. I kept mine in a plastic bag, which I believe is better for sweet breads, though I imagine an airtight tin is equally good (I keep my sourdoughs & other breads in a cloth bag). I think it could last much longer, but as you say, it tastes so good it gets consumed long before it goes stale. I've never tasted commercial/industrial panettone but I understand it to be quite dry. In fact, one of the people who came on Friday who was used to eating panettone at Caffe Nero thought it was much too fresh & cake-like and should be kept much longer before eating! However, the Italian artisan baker on the Food Programme seemed very insistent that it was a cake, albeit a yeast leavened one, not a bread.


Another interesting panettone link: http://giulianohazan.com/blog/panettone-the-story-of-italian-christmas-cake/


Aidan's recipe is also biga rather than sourdough based; I think the one you've used is the most authentic I've seen.


Have your cases arrived yet or are they held up by the snow?


Just now I've got some sourdough stollen in the oven (without marzipan as everyone I know seems to hate it - don't understand why?!), my own recipe based on one I did on a Paul Merry course back in July.


Hope you get chance to listen to the Food Programme, it's well worth it.


Best regards


Geraint


 

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Geraint,


Keep the panettone in a plastic bag in the airtight tin - belt and braces! Keep sourdough wrapped in cloth in one of those big, old enamel bread bin. Boy do those hold more bread than most contemporary breadbins :-)


Thanks for the link - that was interesting. I like Marcella Hazan. I'd be interested to see Aidan's recipe also. This formula came on Nico's recommendation. Original author is a trained Italian pastrychef, though, so I guess that explains the authenticity. He has other sourdough recipes. Had a look at his pandoro also - looked very good. 


Homemade panettone has to be better though, doesn't it? Like homemade bread. Like I say about the Italian stall holder in the Italian market - even he was saying that and he was selling the stuff!


Cases arrived this afternoon - yippee! That's the main reason I haven't listened to the Food Programme yet. Have been in panettone Day 1 mode. Air kneaded Dough 1 @ 1.4kg. Boy was that some upper body workout. Did it though! May have to add a rider about only air knead large amounts of dough after consultation with your physician like they do with hard gym workouts! LOL


Stollen sounds delightful. I love marzipan and so does my partner but a lot of his family don't. Can't understand it really. To me it's a real treat. 


Tomorrow the dough will have trebled. There's no going back though as we don't have a mixer. Hand kneading all the way. The new panettone will also bake out very differently in the lower cases. They do look pretty, though. Wish me luck! WIll be ready to crash out and listen to the Food Programme after that!


Happy baking and good wishes,


Daisy_A

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Geraint, Swathi,


Just trying this again and rechecked ingredients. If you want to make it there is 9g final dough of butter added to Dough 2. Not enough to make it super buttery but needs to be in there! Mis apologias. Have just added this to Dough 2. Was in total formula already. 


Best wishes, Daisy_A

ww's picture
ww

Dear Daisy,
Congratulations on your beautiful panettones. It was a labour of love that has turned out very well.

On Christmas eve itself, I am finding myself contemplating panettones - I know, crazy. Had intended to but got side-tracked, then found out last night that our usual purveyor of Milanese panettone is not importing them this year :(( So I may in a moment of craziness attempt this - ive got 12 days of Christmas right :))

Off the top of my head, some questions if you even have time to reply - after xmas of course.
1. can I use a liquid or stiff (50% ) starter? I don't quite know how to do a 64% starter
2. can I use water instead of raisin yeast water
3. don't think I can find moulds at this late hour. So you wouldn't recommend constructing a sort of case with parchment paper over round cake tins?

Gotta go! last min xmas shopping calls. Appreciate your help and beautiful panettones once again.

MERRY CHRISTMAS ALL!

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

 Hi ww,


Thank for your kind comments! Panettone making is lengthy but well worth it! It does take up quite a bit of time on the second day , though, so think about how much time you can commit to it on day 2. Needs to be hung overnight and then best left for 2-3 days to 'cure'. Your choice when you go for it over the 12 days!


With family now but we are having a quick tea break so can answer questions, no problem:


1 You can certainly do this with a 50% starter. In fact, 50% is much closer to the hydration of the starter in the Italian original.


Two things to think about. though. Firstly whatever starter you use it has to be super strong and vigorous or the second rise will take hours and hours, particularly at low temperatures. Traditional Italian panettone starters are refreshed every 4 hours over several days. With a less stong starter you could add a few grams of fresh or instant yeast to the leaven, or include more sourdough. If you add more yeast, do watch the leaven, It should only treble in 12 hours. With raisin water mine quadruples and is at risk of going over so I take it off earlier now.


Secondly you would need to think about how the stiffer starter might change the hydration and either check the numbers or eyeball Dough 1 to see if it needs extra flour or water. I find I have to recheck dough consistency after forming Dough 1 anyway. Have found it goes best for  me when it is the consistency of a stiff mayonnaise or aioli, as in the picture on the blog. You could certainly get to this with a stiff starter. As said, stiffer is more traditional and some of the Italian mixed leavens look stiffer as well. Worth just looking at the videos on Floyd'e panettone thread to get an idea.


2 You can certainly use warmed water in place of raisin water. However I have done this now with and wiithout raisin water and I found using raisin water made a significant difference to the length of the second proof, reducing it from overnight to 3-4 hours! I think the raisin water provides strength similar to a well-refreshed panettone leaven. Without that you will have to judge, based on the strength of your own leaven, whether you want to add some fresh or instant yeast (1-3g fresh) or more sourdough. or whether you prefer to keep proportions similar and wait longer on proof 2. I think a weak fresh yeast and water solution would mimic the raisin water, which contains fruit yeasts. I was more reliant on this as the last few weeks have been crazy. If you have a few days, producing a 'sweet' starter with 4 hourly feedings is the traditional way.


3 I've tried this formula now with both homemade and shop bought moulds. Shop bought molds are lovely but I though the difference when baking would be greater than it was. I think the homemade moulds can work well and as you can see crumb didn't suffer in them so regular parchment must manage the baking heat well.


I used the parchment moulds because, like you, I didn't then have shop bought at hand. Just a few things I would do differently.


Got the idea from ehow who recommend 100% hydration flour and water glue. Mine was thicker, based on my starter, but this dried out. Would try 50/50 flour/water another time.


I thought the homemade mould needed greasing, but it didn't. Would put dough in without greasing, to get higher coloration on the sides.


I punched small holes in the bottom of the case with a small corn fork but next time would do sides as well before gluing.


Did this one by taking a 750g coffee tin, cut a cardboard disc for the base round the tin lid; cut two parchment circles on same lid; cut twice length parchment needed for sides, then folded over to get doublie thickness with fold at top, plus extra inch at bottom, which was snipped then folded over bottom and glued. The side strip also needs an overlap, which is glued and can also be held in place at the top with a paper clip. (Did all this around the tin then slid it out). Before putting dough in, pushed the last parchment circle down inside the mould, to the bottom.


Hope you get a chance to do this ww - it is great fun and a lovely Italian tradition.


Merry Christmas to you and yours and fellow TFLers!


Daisy_A

ww's picture
ww

Dear Daisy,

Thank you so very much for your copious tips. Can't believe I made you type all this out and took you away from your family!

I must admit that a post-Xmas lethargy has set in - everyone just lolling about well-fed, well-boozed, you get the picture. We are awash with fruit cakes (two more in the fridge untouched) and when I broached the topic of a panettone at the table, there were groans all round. I think we might have reached our dried fruit quota for the season :) So I think I'll have to sit this one out but who knows I might just make off-season panettone.

But your post has been bookmarked and I've already learnt some things. For example, air-kneading. I still don't know what exactly that is but I realise that I must done a version of it a few years back when I attempted a panettone. This was pure instinct arising from sheer necessity though - the dough was so sticky it just stuck to any surface so I did loops in the air. I also know better now than to add the fruits at the beginning and have them flying in all directions. I'm sure you were the very picture of elegance and control in your kitchen - should have seen me when I hand-kneaded mine!

Thanks again for your detailed tips and hope I get a chance to tap into your expertise again! hope you had a lovely Xmas with your (panettone-bestowed, lucky them) family.

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi ww,


No problem - it was a tea break and I type very quickly!


Know what you mean about fruit-caked out!


Panettone did go quickly, which was a relief.


Hand kneading is great. You were doing air kneading, from your description. Andrew Whitley can relay it from hand to hand but I can only do that for a few seconds. Mostly I just bounce it in the air any way I can. Can knead as much as some of the smaller domestic mixers that way. 


Nope - I'm not the picture of elegance and control. I'm from a background in Drama, Theatre and Spanish Cultural Studies. When I air knead I put on some lively Brazilian music and bounce around the kitchen tossing the dough about, as if at a carnival....Helps me to keep going and spreads the dough weight about.


Fruit last was from andy/ananda and it's a top tip. 


Hope you get a chance to try this in the New Year. I was reading that in times gone by panettone was made at other times of year too :-)


Wishing you and yours a lovely Christmas season and Happy New Year.


Daisy_A

geraintbakesbread's picture
geraintbakesbread

Happy New Year Daisy (et al)


Hope you had happy holidays. How did your full run of panettone go?


I gave it another go over the New Year, using the same recipe as you, but with less success. Worked better than the Carol Field recipe though. I was hoping to get them baked by 7pm on New Year's Eve, but they weren't out of the oven until 10.15am on New Year's Day!


Main problems this time were:


1) Insufficiently active starter. I was in a bit of a hurry, my 100% hydration starter (66.6% wholemeal 33.3% white) was refreshed normally on 27th, then 3 feeds at 12 hour intervals with white flour only & 44% hydration, followed by 2 feeds at 4 hour intervals, the final one at 50% hydration as 44% was really dry. It was at least doubling in those four hours, but I think it should have been quadrupling. Anyone?


2) Proofing time/temp. Although room temp was considerably warmer than my last attempts, it was still a bit cool (18-20C/64-68F). After 12 hours bulk ferment, there was little sign of rising, so I gave it a stretch & fold and put it into a prewarmed oven (36C/97F). After 3-4 hrs it did seem to have doubled (I know, it's supposed to treble!) so I proceeded with Dough 2. Gave air kneading a go, definitely the best method with such a wet dough (achieved latex glove stage; did yours ever get from 'sticky' to 'tacky' though?). By the time I added the fruit it was 6pm on New Year's Eve & we were due to go out at 7pm. Got it into 6x500g cases just after 7. Having missed my first deadline, I was hoping to bake them when we got back in the early hours. However, they were nowhere near ready & having read on Susan at Wild Yeast's post that this stage could also be left 12 hours, I decided to wait until later in the morning. By 7.30am they were only an inch or so from the top of the cases, but I decided - foolishly I believe - to give them a bit longer. Also foolishly, I slashed them at this stage too. 2hrs later they had risen another 1/2" and the slashes had opened; into the oven they went: zero oven spring. Very disappointing. Clearly overprooved, but the dough hadn't felt very different to the touch at any time post-kneading.


3) No skewers. Even though they hadn't risen to the top of the cases, they were domed. The dome flattened out/collapsed as they cooled.



panettoneglazed by sgratch13, on Flickr


Crumb (about an hour after baking):



panettonecrumb by sgratch13, on Flickr


 My only amendments to ingredients were:


1) I used 2tsp Aroma Panettone and 1tsp natural vanilla extract.


2) I didn't have quite enough raisins or peel as the recipe, so I made up the raisins with currants (400g/100g) and the peel with natural colour glace cherries, roughly chopped (c.300g/200g).


The texture of the crumb, fruit content and flavour were all superior to the Carol Field recipe IMO. I may post an illustrated account of all 3 attempts as a blog post if I find the time.


I've got an exciting year ahead: setting up a bakery as part of a Workers' Co-op in Cardiff! Still got a month of my current job to go before that can begin though.


I've also made a resolution to complete the BBA Challenge, new group starting here: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/21412/bba-challenge-2011#comment-150288


Happy baking in 2011!


Geraint


 

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Geraint,


Happy New Year! Panettone looks delicious - fruit distribution and crumb look great - bet it tasted good! Delighted you got to do this.


I'm glad the air kneading helped to get the dough to 'latex glove' stage.


Great news about the community bakery - many congratulations!! Do you think there might be time to share news on this via a blog or will it be too crazy? Great initiative, though. All the very best with this. 


On the panettone front, I made panettone twice before Christmas Day and that gave me some opportunities to reflect on what helps and hinders the process with this formula. Will share if that's any help as they do coincide with your observations?


First I concur with what you observe, that the starter does have to be super strong at the start. Otherwise the final rise in particular will take much longer.


I did batch 2 on a weekend after a punishing Friday paperwork deadline and I had not had time to really charge up the starter. I also took out the fresh yeast. The raisin water was weaker as I spilt some when putting it on the water dish and it was then diluted.


Given that the starter was much weaker for a number of reasons, I then had to do the second proof overnight, as you did here. Due to the fact that the starter had not been refreshed as much, the final panettone was also more acidic. It tasted a bit more like a New York cheesecake! It was really, really more-ish but not quite right for panettone. I did learn, however, that I can mix 2.5 kg of dough at a time by air kneading! Probably will do this in smaller batches next time but I looked at home mixers in John Lewis recently and they looked puny LOL!


I looked back at the Italian method and it talks about the initial sweet starter at least doubling before use. However other commentators talk about it more than doubling. The videos seem to show a super strong starter, capable of pushing Dough 1 up over the top of the proofing bin, like a mushroom.


Once I'd met the work-related deadlines I had more time to have another go and really stoked the starter until it was sweet and strong and also strengthened the raisin water. I also used a small amount (up to 3g), of fresh yeast in Dough 1. Dough 1 then quadrupled overnight again. My aim is to take it out when it is trebled. Dough 2 rose in 3-4 hours again.


With the most successful bakes I used raisin water yeast as a catalyst and was concerned that using a catalyst to boost the starter was not authentic. However, when I looked back at some of the Italian versions, some of them used yoghurt as a catalyst to help build the initial sweet starter. 


My main conclusion is that using raisin water yeast (10g extra of which can be added to either Dough 1 or Dough 2), makes a massive difference to the rising power of both starter and doughs. 


It's hard to say when observing your own doughs and starters, how far anything you see can be extended to anyone else's baking. However Karin's report on 'horned apple bread' does confirm the turbocharging power of fruit yeasts. 


With version 3, after I had charged the starter, used raisin water and added a pinch (1-3g?), of fresh yeast to Dough 1, as said, the second rising time went back to 3-4 hours, even though temperature was not high.


If you try this formula again and if anyone else tries it I really do recommend building the raisin yeast water. It's less work than starting a new sourdough culture and can be used for other breads. Info is on this thread. As long as everything is clean the raisin water yeast can noodle away for a few days until bubbles form. It's great for sweet doughs as the yeasts produced seem to be sugar tolerant. It isn't generally kept though but done from scratch every 1-2 months. It can therefore just be done for festive periods if desired.


I also concluded, as you do, that temperature is key. I can see now why even small bakeries invest in proofers and retarders. Doing the second batch coincided with the coldest night since the reign of Queen Victoria and the second rise took much longer! It was so cold in the kitchen one of the water pipes froze...


To be fair all the Italian methods I read do stress keeping both the starter and the doughs warm throughout the whole process. I use hot water in pyrex dishes to aid proofing, and though good for a couple of hours, the heat falls off overnight. I might try a reptile heater thing next time. However, as said, charging up the starter did reduce the length of the second proof dramatically.


The other thing is the cases. I realised after baking with the moulds, which were great, that the home made case I made was smaller and therefore 500g of dough had to rise less to fill it before baking.


In the first bake there was 500g weight of dough in a 500-750g mould. When I measured the bought moulds I put them at 1kg capacity, so the dough obviously has to more than double to bloom over the top of the mould. This is tough with a weaker starter and lower temperatures.


The instructions I had said you could start when the dough is 1 inch below the top. However another time I might play with baking out 500g dough in cases recommended for 300g or 750g in the cases recommended for 500g. Version 3 did rise fine but produced a more mounded shape than version 1, which was baked out in a much slimmer case. With this mounded shape putting whole almonds in the middle tended to weigh heavily on the fragile dough so I would split them and distribute more thinly another time, more like on Sylvia, txfarmer, breadsong and Susan's panettone decorations. I may also try some with just the butter glaze. However good panettone taste was restored and there were quick requests for second slices! 


This formula does need hanging upside down, though, as crumb tends to be airy and fragile and it will collapse. Got versions 2 and 3 upside down a lot more quickly with some assistance. Just hung version 1 on metal skewers over a stockpot but dh constructed a rack from doweling between two chairs for later versions.


Panettoni from batch 2 are in the freezer and I don't have many clear pictures of version 3 as there was only a small time to take them before eating, Here are the slices  taken quickly on the snapshot camera. Seemed to go down well!



 


So here are my notes to self in short:


1 Starter needs to be very strong and both starter and Dough 1 or 2 do benefit from being boosted by raisin water. It makes a critical difference as rise 2 will take much longer without this.


2 A small amount (1-3g) of fresh yeast in Dough 1 can be useful, depending on starter strength.


3 Temperature control of both starter and doughs is critical: Get a pet heater?


Well vamos a ver/we shall see. Am also thinking of pandoro for family members not keen on raisins.


Wishing you very happy baking in 2011!  Daisy_A


 


 

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Geraint,


Re BBA. I've looked for this in book shops to get a 'hands on' look but not found it yet, sadly.


I've heard good things about it. How does it look to you?


Wishing you well with the challenge.


Best wishes, Daisy_A

geraintbakesbread's picture
geraintbakesbread

Hi Daisy


Well done on managing two batches over Christmas. I imagine lots of happy faces as Batch 3 was devoured!


Did your Batch 2 rise less, as well as tasting more acidic?


I have to say I didn't do a lot of air-kneading. With Dough 1, I followed the original recipe and made a syrup with 300g of the water and the sugar. I then kneaded the dough on the bench for 10 mins until the gluten was pretty well developed;



I then added the butter, which took about 5 mins to incorporate, then kneaded for 5mins using the lift & slap method (a la Richard Bertinet); finally, I incorporated the other 200g water (another 5 mins) & air-kneaded for a further 5 mins.




For Dough 2, I did a bit more air-kneading, but as there wasn't much additional flour being added I didn't think this was very important in terms of gluten development; I used it mainly to assist with incorporating the other ingredients. Getting it up in the air in the first place was a challenge!







I think you're right about the case sizes being inappropriate for 500g dough - I don't know why I've blindly followed the recommendation. Looking at my photos again, the dough had at least doubled in the expected time: I really should have baked them after scoring; instead, I waited nearly two more hours?!?! If I had baked them after scoring, they might have sprung up to the edge anyway. However, I think I would use at least 600g of dough in these cases in future; 750g might be pushing it though.






I haven't tried any since New Year's Day, virtually fresh out of the oven. Most of them have gone/are going as belated gifts, but I'm hoping to hold onto at least one to try at the weekend.


Best wishes


Geraint

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