The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Flour for panettone

adelie's picture
adelie

Flour for panettone

Happy holiday baking season!

I’ve been browsing the internet for holiday bread recipes and I’ve stumbled across several amazing panettone recipes that seem exciting to try out. However, they all call for very strong flour (around 15% gluten content) like Canadian bread flour or strong Italian 00 flour. I live in the US and these are all pretty pricey from the online vendors I’ve checked out, especially with shipping fees and whatnot. The strongest flour in shops seem to be King Arthur’s bread flour, which only has a gluten content of about 12%. Is that fine to use? Are there any substitutes or online vendors that sell high gluten flour at a more affordable price? Thanks, and happy baking to all!

suave's picture
suave

KABF does fine in sourdough panettone recipes.

Beatrice's picture
Beatrice

Hi, I baked a Panettone yesterday (I'm italian) and I used a W350 flour with 11 % protein content. It worked fine :) 

Edo Bread's picture
Edo Bread

Any pictures?!

Beatrice's picture
Beatrice
Edo Bread's picture
Edo Bread

Thank you! Looks very nice. I have not made it before and keep thinking this might be the year.

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Hi Beatrice.

I am very familiar with flour specifications from Italian millers. W350 at only 11% protein content? Really? If you mean 11% gluten then sure that sounds plausible. However if you are correct then the flour must be highly refined (00) and slighly tenacious P/L > .55

Can you link to the flour in question, I would like to see the specifications of this flour.

Cheers,

Michael

Yippee's picture
Yippee

if the butter % is high in the formula, be aware that the butter content in some of the formulae can be as high as 50%!  Giusto's Ultimate Performer claims to be the "highest protein bread flour" and has 13-14.5% protein. 

http://giustos.com/home_baker/flours/bread-flours/organic-ultimate-performer-unbleached-white-flour.html

It also has a High Performer Flour:

http://giustos.com/home_baker/flours/bread-flours/high-performer-high-protein-unbleached-white-flour.html

I once followed a formula using approximately 70% KAAP and 30% KABF.  The panettones turned out beautifully, but the formula only calls for 26% butter. 

Yippee

Abelbreadgallery's picture
Abelbreadgallery

Use the strongest flour you can buy. Usually for panettone you should use a flour around 15% proteine content. If you don't find it, you should reduce the % of sugar and fat. Think that a real italian panettone contains around 450 ml water, 450 gr sugar, 550 gr eggyolk, 700 gr butter and around 1 kilo of candied fruit x 1 kilo of flour. And you need to ferment this with only lievito madre. It's a huge challenge.

Beatrice's picture
Beatrice

I'm italian and I don't agree with your measures! I used less butter, sugar and yolks (as all the greatest pastry chefs do here). In this way, with a long bulk, the panettone could achieve tenderness and airyness without being too heavy in the mouthfeel!!

clazar123's picture
clazar123

I have some thoughts about panettone but am only an amateur having never made an authentic recipe but more brioche-type knockoffs. I've been reading about it and then I finally tasted a real panettone. Wow! That is when I started really analyzing the crumb structure. So here goes...

Is strong flour needed because of the long rising times that would make mush of a lower protein flour dough? The texture I experienced was a loaf with long feathers of soft, melt-in-the mouth,buttery deliciousness. How did they achieve the strength with that cotton candy mouth feel? Is it that the very strong bread flour, that would normally make a chewy crumb, is degraded in a skillful,calculated way by the acid of prolonged fermentation? The  butter and sugar further tenderizes the crumb for its wonderful mouthfeel.

The second question is would this type of dough benefit (or not) from a levietro madre that is cultured with sugar to make a sugar tolerant culture.? This was talked about in "The Modernist Bread" video as being very do-able. But then would a very strong flour be needed?

I have been waiting for a panettone discussion. I am very interested to hear everyone's thoughts on this.

mwilson's picture
mwilson

You already know the answers to your questions, well mostly...


Is strong flour needed because of the long rising times that would make mush of a lower protein flour dough?

Yes. Generally speaking, the longer the leavening time the stronger the flour required.


How did they achieve the strength with that cotton candy mouth feel? Is it that the very strong bread flour

Yes. Strong bread flour, which is has ample gluten provides the texture you describe. Don't forget that the flour only contributes about 30% of the dough mass whereas in a lean loaf it would be well above 50%.

The perceived problem of very strong flour making a dense loaf is only a problem in the hands of someone that doesn't know how to fully utilise its strength and take it to the great heights (large volume) it is inherently capable of.

would this type of dough benefit (or not) from a levietro madre that is cultured with sugar to make a sugar tolerant culture.?

No. No. No. Nobody does this, this is not how a lievito madre is maintained nor is it necessary. Proper maintenance will select for the capable microorganisms. If too much sugar is consumed then then final product will be dry and will lack the characteristic mouthfeel. The use or not of strong bread flour has no bearing on this factor.