The traditional Panettone is a sweet bread from Milan, made with a sweet sourdough starter. It has flour (of course), egg yolks, butter, sugar, orange zest, vanilla, honey and dried fruits/raisins. I changed the last two for chocolate. In Perú, eeevery Christmas we have panettone for breakfast on the 25th, toasted wth some butter and hot chocolate on the side. I think it’s a world-wide tradition to have this bread on our table during Christmas season right? And since Monitouille this year is dressed for Christmas, I decided to bake 9 kgs how about that!
What a challenge! After making son many breads and being obsessed with my sourdough, this 2011 I decided to finish the year making il Panettone. Of course, with natural sweet sourdough starter, the traditional way. Not only that, but I decided to sell them (If they worked out well of course) as now I am also selling my bread each week with pâtés, cheese, marmalades and home-made things. Anyway, lots of nerves. I started Wednesday to convert a portion of my liquid 100% hydration sourdough starter into a stiff one (50% hydration). Y finished baking on Sunday, 9 kgs of panettone, which ended up being 16 panettone. They were soft, spongy, and really tasty. Of course I have some critiques of my own and would like to improve some things for next time -> January, that way, next year I’m an expert ;) Are you ready for a fully detailed recipe???
Ok. But first, I’d like to tell you my favorite story about where this delicious sweet bread came from. There are many, this one is my favorite: It’s Christmas eve, and the 1500′s. Duke Ludovico, known also for the “Lord of Milán” is hosting a huge party. Time for dessert is coming, but turns out the cake is ruined. However, Antonio one of the dishwashers took some leftover fruits from the party and was baking a sweet bread for him and his family. The kitchen smelled so nice, the cook decided to serve his bread as dessert. The Duke liked it so much, he entered the kitchen asking for the cook that had made the dessert. …’Antonio’, ‘il pane di Toni’, and so today we know it for ‘Panettone‘.
It is very important that you manage well your time. You will be needing a 2-day early start to get your sourdough ready and ‘sweet’ (no acid).
Ingredients. 1.5 kg Panettone.
To convert your starter to a stiff one 50% hydration, you’ll need:
- 10 g liquid starter
- 40 g flour
- 20 g warm water
You will need at least 24 hours to make it, since it needs to be fed every 12 hours, and at least 2 times.
For the sweet sourdough starter:
- 20 g 50% hydration sourdough starter
- 80 g flour
- 40 g warm water
- a pyrex with boiled water
This step requires 12 hours. You will need to feed the sourdough 3 times every 4 hours before starting the first panettone mix. It is important to keep it all the time at 30ºC/85F, this way fermentation will be faster and you will avoid the sourdough from becoming acid.
- 346 g bread flour
- 175 g water
- 2 g yeast
- 83 g sugar
- 70 g egg yolk from farm eggs (each yolk weighs aproximately 18 g)
- 90 g good quality unsalted butter
- 90 g 50% hydration sourdough starter
Total: 856 g
- 115 g bread flour
- 114 g water
- 5 g salt
- 82 g sugar
- 24 g honey
- 166 g chocolate chunks
- zest from half an orange
- scrape seeds from a vanilla bean
- 140 g of butter
- 35 g farm-egg yolk
- Mix 1
Total: 1537 g
- Egg whites
1. Preparing the sweet sourdough starter. You will need at leat 36 hours.
To prepare Panettone we need to obtain a swee sourdough starter. For that, you will need first of all to convert your liquid starter to a stiff one. Sometimes, it is even well wrapped. This is done, to trap the carbon dioxide, which inhibits acid production, therefore achieving a ‘sweet’ sourdough.
The sourdough should also be kept at 30ºC/85F. This way, the fermenting process won’t be slow and it will prevent from extra acid formation. Yeast will be active, and every 4 hours fed again.
A day before in the morning (8 am for example):
- Mix 10 g from your liquid starter with 20 g flour and 10 g water. Leave it 12 hours at room temperature.
- Repeat the process, take 10 gr from the starter and add 20 g lour and 10 g water. Leave 12 hours at room temperature.
- Repeat as many times you like. With 2 it should be ready.
- Now you have your 50% hydration starter.
So, at 8 am the next day you will have your 50% hyrdation starter ready. Now you will be needing to feed it 3 times every 4 hours. If you start at 8 am, at 8 pm you can do the first mix, which will also requite 12 hours fermenting.
- Take 20 g of your stiff starter and refresh with 20 g flour and 10 g water.
- 4 hours later, take 20 g from this mix and refresh with 20 g flour and 10 g water.
- 4 hours later take 40 g of your starter and mix with 40 g flour and 20 g water.
It is important to keep the starter, as I told you at an adecuate temperature. What I did was that I had always a small pyrex with boiling water in the oven (and kept the starter there). You can see the picture. It worked out good for me!
First Mix (8 pm):
- Mix well all the ingredients of the Mix 1, starting with the liquid ones, adding the butter at the end.
- Leave well covered overnight.
- The next day I had a very elastic dough that doubled its volume.
Second mix (12 hours later):
- In your mixer bowl, place the flour, yolks, salt, orange zest, vanilla, mix 1 el harina, yemas, sal, ralladura de naranja, vainilla, the mix 1 and half the water.
- Mix at low speed until it is well incorporated and turn up the speed to medium (3 in the KitchenAid).
- Add the sugar little by little, and mix for two minutes between additions. The sugar retards gluten formation, so that’s why we need to add it slowly.
- Once the gluten is almost developed (this requires about 10-15 minutes, so be patient) the dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl.
- Turn to low speed, and start adding the butter. Leave for a few minutes at low speed, and take it to medium until gluten is fully developed (Window Pane Test).
- Turn to low speed, add the honey and start adding the remaining water until you have a soft dough. Finally, add the chocolate chunks and when the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl (about 1 minute) it’s ready!
- Place in a pyrex with some oil and leave for 1 1/2 hours, folding it every half hour. This helps formation of gluten, gives strength to the dough without the need of excess kneading. You will see how it gains strength with the first folding, and even more with the second one.
- After 1 and a half hours, divide the dough into the pieces you’d like. You can make 3 panettone of 500 g or 1 kg and 1 of 5oo g, etc.
- Let them rest for 20 minutes.
- Shape into balls with surface tension and place into the panettone molds, which should have skewers through them (just along the bottom) before placing the dough into them (see picture).
- Place them in a room at 27ºC/80F until the dough grows up to 2/3 of the mold. Mine took a long time to grow, about 24 hours. Be patient. When we deal with sourdough starters, specially for me the first time, you never know how much time it will take.
Baking and resting:
- Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350F.
- To glaze the panettone, mix sugar with water (2:1) to make a thick sugar.
- Brush with egg white and then with the thick sugar.
- Take to the oven for 20, 40 and 60 minutes for 250 g, 500 g and 1 kg panettone, respectively.
- After baking, turn them as fast as you can and leave them hanging between to chairs for example (see picture) at least 4 hours. Better if it’s overnight. The dough needs to stretch a lot in order to achieve the characteristic bread-crumb from panettone.
The result was a very spongy soft crumb. Maybe next time I’ll add a bit more starter and I will feed it longer to get it more active. I feel the fact it took so long was this one. I’ll let you know!! They were really amazing and tasty. Great experience. Giving it a second one in January for sure.