The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Francesco Elmi Traditional Sourdough Panettone - 2 loaves, 16 yolks, many many hours

txfarmer's picture

Francesco Elmi Traditional Sourdough Panettone - 2 loaves, 16 yolks, many many hours

Sending this to Yeastspotting.

Click here for my blog index.

It's that time of the year again -- when I sacrafice sleep in honor of holiday spirit. Starting early this year since I am moving soon, and sourdough panettone makes a great goodbye gift. This recipe is from here: 53% butter, 36% sugar, and 50% egg yolks (that's 16 yolks for 2 loaves my friends, as I was seperating them, I was praying the breads would work out, I really would like NOT waste a whole case of eggs for nothing!)! It's rich, it's light as air, it's melt in your mouth, I am pretty sure my friends will remember me for a looooong time! I follow the recipe closely with the following notes:

- Yes, the link is in Italian, this is where we put Google Translate in good use.
- Instead of sultanas and candied fruits, I got inspired and add candied chestnuts. Recipe can be found here. Yes, it takes 4+ days to make, but hey, with this sourdough panettone thing, one should just ignore time spent, money spent, or fat/cholesterol content. :P I didn't make quite enough, so my add-in ingredients was 87.5% of what the formula specified for both sultanas and candied fruits, making the final loaves slightly lighter (but definitely not smaller, see below).
- I made 2/5 of the formla, which means I got 2 big loaves. If I had divided the dough evenly, each should be 1040g, perfect for the paper case. However, one loaf was a gift, the other was for ourselves, so I put 1100g in the gift case, only 980g in the other. From last years experience, I thought 1100g would fit, but OMG, this formula is much richer, which means the dough rose much higher. As you can see below, the 980g looks perfect, the 1100g one was threatening to spill over! Oh well, my friend had no objection with some extra yummy bread.

-Key #1 for a successful sourdough panettone, especially such a rich one, is an active Italian mother starter. I first kept my 100% liquid starter at room temp for 2 days (feeding everything 12 hours), then converted to 50% firm starter (20g 100% starter +20g Bread Flour+5g water), then keep it at 85F and feed it every 4 hours with following ratio: (starter: flour: water = 1:1:0.5). Did this for 48 hours, the starter more than tripled between each feeding.
-Key #2 for a successful sourdough panettone is a thorogh kneading. For the first dough, butter must be added little by little after the dough as come together, then I kneaded until the dough came together again and cleared most of the mixing bowl (no need for windowpane). Be careful not to overknead, with so much yolks and butter, it's easy to overknead. However, be sure not to underknead, otherwise, the 2nd dough would be much harder to knead. The following is first dough after kneading:

For 2nd dough, butter must be added little by little AFTER the dough has come together and clear the bowl. After butter is added, the dough must be kneaded until you can get a thin but strong windowpane. The dough literally felt like liquid silk, draping down from my hands.

-Unlike last year, the dough rose right on schedule this time, indicating an active starter and good kneading. After 5 hours at 30C, the dough came to the rim of the case. The chocolate glaze recipe I used was from AB&P.

- I hung the loaves upside down between stacks of books for 5 hours after baking.

- For my last years panettone post please click here, it also includes info on the paper case.

Definitely richer and lighter than last year's version

Shredding...the texture is literally like air, the flavor on the other hand, hits like a rock! If I can get my new kitchen in order before Christmas, I am sure I will make more of these.


PiPs's picture


I am floored by your conviction and dedication to this bake. The results speak for themselves. Simply amazing!

All the best for your move,

txfarmer's picture

Thanks Phil!

Yerffej's picture

Really really nice.


...and good luck with  the move

txfarmer's picture

Thanks Jeff.

lumos's picture

I simply find it extremely amazing you managed to find a time to make any kind of bread just a few days before you're moving, let alone such beautiful panettone!

The crumb looks really lovely, possibly one of the best I've seen which was made in a home kitchen.....though I must say your breads always are of very high standard, well above any 'home baker' level.

I say this again........Wish you lived near me......

txfarmer's picture

Thanks Lumos! I made your bagels again with pumpkin puree, will have to find time to post about it.

nicodvb's picture

and authentic!

txfarmer's picture

Thanks nicodvb, means a lot coming from you!

bakinginQuito's picture

very nice crumb.....i made some last week following the simili's sister recipe, but did not get that crumb.....perhaps lack of kneading (have no stand mixer) I'll consider your suggestions within a mounth when I' ll be making another batch. Complimenti.Paolo

txfarmer's picture

It would be tough to knead such a rich dough, however it's entirely possible. You might want to practice with hand kneading some lightly enriched dough, then go from there.

ananda's picture

Well-deserved compliments from everyone here, especially Nico, of course.

Best wishes


txfarmer's picture

Thanks Andy!

bottleny's picture

- Yes, the link is in Italian, this is where we put Google Translate in good use.

This information about Panetone is very good but it's already in English so so need for Google Translator. It also provides a video about Panetone with English subtitle.

After 5 hours at 30C, the dough came to the rim of the case.

In the video, it mentions it's important that tdough never reaches a temperature over 30C. Above 30C, it will release lactic acid. The baker used 28C.

Janetcook's picture


A question on the propotions of your leaven feed 20:20:5.....

This is a feed schedule I am unfamiliar with.

Can you explain why it is the way it is?  I am used to seeing the 100% between water and flour - not seed and flour with the water being so very low.

I am thinking that it produces a milder flavor due to the frequency of the feeding schedule and the temp. you kept it but the firm- ness of it all due to the low hydration contradicts that....

Beautiful loaves by the way....maybe in a few years I will attempt something of this magnitude....



txfarmer's picture

That's not a regular feeding, that's just one time, to convert 100% starter to 50%. 20g 100%starter has 10gwater and 10g flour, with 20g extra flour, and 5g extra water, the new starter will have 30g flour and 15g water, which makes it 50%.

Janetcook's picture

Got it...I was reading it incorreclty and now I see what you did and how you then proceeded...



mwilson's picture

Hi txfarmer well done. You Inspired me to try this. see hear.

yin.summer's picture

I found you~~~ I follow you from Sina, and I like the English blog better.

Such nice demonstration on what a beautiful Sourdough Panettone can be!! Love it.

Oregon Season~~