Last loaf for 2014 is once again a panettone though it seems that there is a longer delay between when I baked it and when I post it. This year's special bake feature home made citrus peels (50% orange and 50% lemon) as well as beans from a vanilla pod for the added boost of flavour.
It was quite a bit of work slicing the peels thinly but the result was well worth it. Less sweet than the commercial version but much brighter in flavour. I especially like the lemon ones with their tangy, bright notes. Here is what it looks like after boiling and discarding the water twice before simmering in a sugar syrup for about an hour.
In the meantime, I prepaid the panettone starter over a week, feeding it at 4 hours interval about 2 days before I was planning to make it. Similar to last year's loaf, I used foolishpoolish recipe available here: http://www.cookaround.com/yabbse1/entry.php?b=66479 with the useful notes from txfarmer: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/21232/sourdough-panettone-who-needs-sleep-when-one-can-make-such-delicious-holiday-treat
The stiff starter rose magnificently, quadrupling overnight. The following morning, I mixed in the remaining ingredients substituting the citrus syrup for the honey and using it as a glaze as as well. In addition, I lowered the sugar to about 15% since the loaf was plenty sweet with the raisins and candied citrus. The dough took about 6 hours to rise to become a delicate pillow like cloud.
This time I decided to bake the 2kg dough as 2 loaves using an 8 inch round pan and a chiffon pan. Of course heaven forbids the baking of a panettone to go so smoothly - the dough in the cake pan exploded out of its custom made support mold which I hoped would help it rise vertically like a typical panettone. This resulted in its mushroom like appearance and it unfortunately collapse slightly while I was readjusting it to fit the pan.
Nonetheless, I am still left with a super tasty, eggy, buttery, sweet bread with a super light texture. The natural starter does not add any sourness, but gives it an added dimension that makes it stands apart from a normal yeasted sweet bread.
And here's a slice of the loaf / cake from the chiffon pan. The bottom crumb structure can be improved, its slightly dense but otherwise I think this is the best panettone I baked so far!
More things to experiment with and the next time I would like to get some proper molds to bake it in as well as to invert them after baking but I guess that would have to wait 1 more year. Have a great 2015!