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Perfecting my panettone, or the tale of a sad second rise

Joe Fisher's picture
Joe Fisher

Perfecting my panettone, or the tale of a sad second rise

Good afternoon friends. I'm on a mission to make the perfect panettone, so I'm practicing before the holidays.

I refreshed my 100% hydration starter 3 times over the week before I baked, and the night before I fed 2oz with 5oz of flour and 5oz of water.

First dough went together fine. Beautiful, strong gluten development.

For rising, I put a seed warming mat on the floor of the oven with a baking dish of water on top. It keeps a solid 78-80F in there.

The dough tripled in 14 hours, just as the recipe suggested. So I moved on to the second dough, adding it to the first, kneading, checked for a good windowpane. All good.

Pre-formed loaves, left on counter for 30 minutes. Engaged the la pirlatura for a final shaping and popped into panettone molds.

The recipe suggests tripling in 6-12 hours, but after 13 it had just about spread to the edges of the molds. It was already 1am and I had to be up at 7, so I took them out for 30 minutes to develop a skin while the oven heated up, again as the recipe suggests.

Scored, added a pat of butter, and into the oven for 50 minutes.

It's impossibly soft, rich, and delicious. A hair undercooked despite measuring 200F, so that's a note.

So I'm hoping for theories on what went wrong with the second rise. I have two:

1. It was too dry in the oven and I didn't have the loaves covered, so it developed a skin too soon and stopped the rise.

2. The loaves were too small for the molds and they just spread out instead of rising up. They were about 650g apiece and the mold is 6 5/8" across. I think a 1 kilo loaf would be right for these molds.

But I'd love to hear any opinions y'all might have.


SueVT's picture

Just a few thoughts...

So you used regular sourdough starter and not lievito madre, is that right? Certainly that can cause problems...

Yes, 650g is not enough dough for that paper mould... more like 900-1050g would be usual

It's good that your panettone was soft and delicious! I have made some in the past that I had to discard

Joe Fisher's picture
Joe Fisher

So you used regular sourdough starter and not lievito madre, is that right?

Si, questo è vero. But if my regular starter was strong enough to triple the initial dough, is there a reason it wouldn't rise the second dough?

Either way, I will try again with lievito madre. As far as I can tell, the only difference is the hydration.

Joe Fisher's picture
Joe Fisher

Attempt #2 in progress. I built up a firm starter over the last few days that's just under 50% hydration.

I scaled the recipe up by 1.5, and each loaf is just a little over a kilo.

Got a great rise from the first dough, so I'm tentatively hopeful. My only concern is how much wetter my dough seems than in the video the recipe came from. Like...a lot wetter. Looks like really good gluten development, but it's very, very slack.

Joe Fisher's picture
Joe Fisher

They had barely doubled after 15 hours. I marked the side of the mold and checked it again in 45 minutes. Zero rise, so I made the call to bake.

Got a very nice spring in the oven. Oddly, they took fully double the recommended 50-minute cooking time at 325F to reach an internal 195F (yes, I have an oven thermometer in there).

They're hanging to cool now and will be opened for Thanksgiving, so crumb pix in a few days.

Still not sure what I could be doing wrong. I'm weighing everything to the gram, and I've checked my recipe against several other sources.