The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Panettone - A test of will - A new path

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Panettone - A test of will - A new path

Those who know me understand that Panettone is my thing! I have baked this wonderful bread-like cake countless times and I have pretty much dedicated myself to the art that is making Panettone. The technical ability required to produce Panettone is the pinnacle of understanding bread dough. It forces you to understand all aspects, including; controlling sourdough fermentation to achieve the desired acidity and yeast activity. And most challenging for me, understanding dough rheology, to be able to successfully mix this heavily rich dough. I believe anyone that can make real (sourdough) Panettone can truly make any bread.

I'm still on a high as recently I managed to make what I consider to be the most difficult recipe, entitled 'Modern Panettone'  this comes from master pastry chef Iginio Massari via his wonderful book "Cresci - The Art of Leavened Dough". This is the richest one of all. 40% sugar + another 4% honey. 53% butter and 48% egg yolks.

Making this particular Panettone was no easy feat. I have experienced many moments of despair trying so hard and not understanding why it hasn't worked. Often I would chuck an over-mixed dough in the bin. So many times I declared "I am never baking again" and yet here I am. Baking is clearly an obsession. Even those things that seem impossible at the time can be achieved with endeavor!

These shots don't do it justice but here are some close ups:


Other than uneven fruit distribution and a wild and uncontrolled oven spring this Panettone is perfect. It's so light and yet firm at the same time. Sweet, feathery soft, buttery and just delicious. This truly is a celebratory cake and not just for Christmas!

Many thanks to those that follow my work and to those that have supported me. 

If there are any bakeries out there that are interested in making Panettone, I would be happy to offer my services as a consultant.

Now, where to go from here... A new path / career awaits.

Goodbye all.

Michael

Comments

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

A really wonderful specimen, Michael! Dign of the best bakeries. I'm very happy you accomplished such a perfect crumb. Baking a perfect panettone has been an obsession for me, too, and for  a long time.

I wish you the best of luck for your new career!

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Cheers Nico. 

Thanks for all your support along the way.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

I have to admit that I too love Panettone - chocolate - sliced 1" thick, width wise, with whipped cream piled at least 1" on top of the entire disk and then adorned with fresh sliced strawberries and chocolate sauce.  It is only about 1,200 calories a serving - so I eat two!

Yours I would eat half as fast - to savor twice as long.

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Thanks dabrownman. It's been hard to savour this panettone, it's nearly all gone already...

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

"Hello, Panettone Police, we have a live one here! He made the Massini. And it is good! Can't be any better! But sounds terribly despondent! At the end of his journey! Nowhere but down. Even signed off with "Goodbye all!" We think he's going to jump. Come! Come quickly!"

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Haha. Nice one. But soon you might not hear from me again... Sorry fellow TFLer's

yy's picture
yy

Gorgeous panettone. I have yet to attempt making it myself. The thought of it is a bit daunting - clearly it's not a simple task that one gets right the first time around. Can't wait to see what your next baking adventure is. 

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Shouldn't be too much of a step up, given that you have made Pandoro for which I'm waiting to see your second take!

elizag1958@gmail.com's picture
elizag1958@gmail.com

I can almost taste this gorgeous bread just from looking at the photos.  Kudos!  Marvelous!  Now that you have mastered panettone what is next?

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Indeed what next...?! Maybe La Baguette if I have time before I start my new job.

Syd's picture
Syd

Another beautiful panettone Michael.  Would so love a slice of that.  I have never eaten panettone before and would really love to try some.  If I ever start a bakery, you can be certain you would be the first person I would consult on how to make panettone.  Look forward to your next experiment.

Syd

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Never eaten Panettone???! Wow! Where have you been?! You'll have to fix that! I love to have a cup of coffee with panettone, a frequent luxury.

Cheers Syd.

Michael

FlourChild's picture
FlourChild

It's really gorgeous, I'm sitting here imagining what the aroma and texture of the crumb must be like.  I haven't achieved anything like your level of skill, but I've baking enough sourdough and panetonne to truly appreciate how challenging it must have been to craft a dough with that much butter and sugar that still rises to such lofty heights.  Good luck in your new endeavor.

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Thank you FlourChild.

There is no doubt this is the best panettone I have ever tasted! So so so tasty! I am typically over ambitious and I can struggle sometimes but I always get there in the end!

Thanks,
Michael