Panettone a tre impasti - the perfect panettone?
Anyone browsing through TFL will sooner, rather than later, come across mention of the Tartine Bread Book. I'll confess, I don't have a copy of this, but it does seem to be one of the go-to books at the moment for sourdough, no-knead, and lots of other techniques. Likewise, if you want to make enriched breads, there's really only one port-of-call, and that's Cresci by Massari and Zoia. I have a love/hate relationship with this book: it's expensive, the photography is not particularly beautiful (my opinion only but everything is so dark!) and the instructions are absolutely FULL of mistakes and omissions. But when the recipes work... well, everything seems worthwhile.
I've been interested in the panettone a tre impasti for some time now. For those who've never made a panettone, there are usually two separate mixing stages (excluding feeding the starter). The first one late at night and the second in the morning, followed by shaping and a 6-7 hour proof. The panettone a tre impasti is, as the name suggests, produced through three separate mixes. Cresci claims that a panettone made with more impasti will be lighter, softer, moister, and last longer. Better in every way therefore.
But I had my doubts. First, the dough looked far too lean compared to other panettone recipes in the book. If we look at the panettone a gusto moderno and the tre impasti it is easy to see what I mean:
(Baker's % of total ingredients)
al gusto moderno
a tre impasti
Starter (at 50%)
Inclusions (raisins etc)
The other thing which put me off is that the instructions (I have the Italian edition) are definitely very wrong. It seems as if the first page has been printed twice and page 2 is missing, leading straight into a mysterious page 3.
But I thought I'll have a go! And I'm thrilled I did. This panettone is excellent! The volume increase is truly unbelievable. I thought it would never stop growing in the oven. And the flavour is wonderfully rich and complex - it really is a celebration of the magic of a good starter and slow proofing!
I started mine at midnight and left it to proof for 7 hours at 28C. It had just over doubled in this time. I did the second impasto at 7 in the morning, put it back in to proof for another 5 hours, and then did the final impasto. I left it to rest for about 30 minutes and then shaped it (folding it repeatedly works best before making the final shape). Final proof was at 28C for 6 hours, then 45 minutes in the oven at 175C.
To give you an idea of how much this thing grows, the pirottino here is 20cm by 6cm, and I put in only 750g of dough. It must have increased its volume by at least 6 times. Instead of using candied fruit I used gianduia. Yum! I also added the seeds from half a vanilla pod and the zest of half an orange. Because I had decided to substitute chocolate for the candied fruit and raisins, I included 5% acacia honey, to act as a humectant, and a sweeter, but mostly because I like the taste.
I made a little too much impasto to take into account loses during mixing and then took 583g of it before adding the chocolate.
My recipe was:
1st (at midnight)
2nd (at 7am)
3rd (at 12pm)
Flour (w320 - v. strong white)
Starter (at 50%)
Vanilla & zest
Half and half
Gianduia chocolate (milk and dark)
This might be the best panettone I've ever tasted, and the beauty of it is, is that it is a lot cheaper to make (though very inconvenient in its timings) than the gusto moderno.
I might have to make another one very soon, but not here in Perugia. My time here is at an end... a pity, because it's a wonderful city, and I recommend it if you ever get the chance to visit. And it's great as a base to explore Umbria, which might be one of the most perfect places I've ever seen.