The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

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.

O Padeiro Strobel's picture
O Padeiro Strobel

Try to proof the 1º impasto at 21ºC/24ºC.

The first dough could have acidifyed and could have died before the 2º impasto. 

What was the final temperature of your 2º impasto? If it was above 26ºC it could have been the problem. It is good to maintain the temperature while you mix around 19ºC and 21ºC

therearenotenoughnoodlesintheworld's picture


Like everything there are many schools of thought...and probably most of them are correct when done in a particular way.  

That is very different to the Paticceria Natale recipe I use as a reference. (Ingredients list in the Youtube video description).  - particularly your moisture content.  Others have noted that increasing moisture has created all sorts of issues in their panettone baking. 

I do like the simplicity of the Paticceria Natale recipe and it has been very robust with just a basic sour dough starter. Also, please understand, not saying your recipe is wrong, only that it is significantly different. Given your quest will probably come down to finding what works for your sour dough, those difference might help highlight a way forward for your quest.

Not sure what you are using or its %protein. Just as an FYI, I use Caputo Manatoba as the strong flour (14.25% protein). It's a useful flour as it is available globally. 

I find my normal sour dough starter just fine for panettone with the recipe I am using. 

However, at present, many of the TFL are adopting using lievito madre. I must say some forum members are having amazing results with it, but the are constant threads about issues with people's lievito madre & bake outcomes.

With regard to temperature, and dough temp/starter,  I doubt I have ever made panettone when the air temperature has fallen below 26C and it's often higher.  It never goes in the fridge so the dough's at air temp at best. I suspect this is all down to the sour dough strain you have and what it prefers.  Mine hates cold ( actually just turns its toes up in the fridge) but loves the heat.  

Your slice image was interesting in that although it didn't have the rise and airiness you would want, the structure was still even and consistent.  The lack of dough in the forms would have made what ever the issue/s worse. 

Baked - the images of your first attempts looked very light in colour, so that could also be an oven temp issue. (something simple to check)

Shaped dough images looked flatter than I would expect, so it may be a lack of gluten development in the mixing. 


If it was mine, initial questions for exploration would be: is it a gluten weakness, yeast exhaustion, or recipe issue (i.e. are you overloading the capacity of your particular flour with the other ingredients).  

Start with the simplest and work from there.