Naturally Leavened Christmas Panettone

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I love to bake, my skills are no where near a lot of others. The other down side is I don’t have an artistic bone in my body. Well done! At least I dont feel bad about eating my stuff, some are good looking but not outstanding.

I have often contemplated making my own Panettone, but haven’t tried yet. I would love to see video of your process @djd418. I find it’s easier for me to learn by watching, rather than just reading, although your instructions are fantastically detailed!

Hi. Unfortunately I don’t currently have the tools to make a decent video, but I plan to rectify that issue after the Holidays. But in the mean time, here is a link to an Italian baker at Joyce’s World that is making the Massari Panettone.

However, she does not necessarily add ingredients in the same order as I do, but generally speaking, you can see how the final dough looks. I am pretty sure I have seen a couple other YouTube videos of the process. If I can find them again I’ll post links in this thread.
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Thanks so much! I’ll look for your video in the future :slight_smile:

That’s a cool video. Thanks for sharing it!

Thank you for this, I have an already established pasta madre, how many grammes will you recommend for this recipe?

Hi Seyfades, I like to keep my stiff starter (pasta madre / lievito madre) at least twice the amount I will need in the recipe, to allow enough for the recipe with enough left over to continue refreshing. Also, the Italian blog sites I have seen suggest that you remove the skin that forms on the top of the starter and only use the fresh starter in the center for the recipe and for refreshment. That is the most active part.

For this recipe, you need 60g of starter, so I usually keep my starter at around 120g. Then if you refresh 48g of starter with 48g of flour and 24g water, you will maintain 120g of refreshed starter. That will give you 60g starter for the recipe, 48g for the next refreshment and 12g left over for discard.

Panettone! I’m so excited. It tastes so good and is so soft.

My first try, I will admit, I made “Cakettone.” Spectacularly delicious but not Dan’s feathery texture. I got impatient and baked when the final dough was still low in the molds.

This time, I waited and kept the dough at 82-86F (so I didn’t actually have to wait so long as the first).

It’s amazing. Perfect… though I still could have proofed it even longer and will next time.

My notes:
first rise just under 12 hours
second rise 16 hours
bake time: 40 min (I think my oven runs hot-ish)

In general, I followed the directions pretty closely but I wasn’t perfect on everything (e.g. almost forgot the salt and thus added it out of order).

Next time, I’ll maybe remove the dough from my hot box for at the end of the final rise, to get it to form a skin (it’s too humid in my box even with no cover on the dough). That said, I was pleased with the look and simplicity of my egg white wash almond decor, which I got from Breadtopia’s yeast yuletide panettone recipe.

Here are some pics


Well done Melissa! Looks wonderful! I assume that the aroma and flavor match its beauty! I like your topping- it’s an attractive addition without the extra work making a full-blown topping. Also, very nice window pane on your dough and the texture looks nice and silky. It took me 3 years to get this recipe right. Well done to get a beautiful panettone on your second try!

Yes, the aroma and flavor are awesome.
Even my first, less fluffy panettone was a delicious sensory experience, so if someone is on the fence about trying this, I encourage them to go for it.

Thanks so much for this recipe. I’m very excited to try this and have been prepping myself to get started tomorrow morning with the bake happening Thursday evening hopefully.

One question though: I’m a little uncertain about the dough weight calculation. I could only find 7" panettone shells, which is 18cm diameter and 11.5cm height. By my calculations, this leads to an overall volume of 2,926 square cm, for a dough weigh of 1,170g using the .4 ratio. Can that be right? It doesn’t seem that the 7" shell should take more than twice the dough weight of the 5.25.

Hi jlmcst, in Italy they sell their panettone molds by the panettone weight they are intended to hold. It looks like 18cm x 11cm panettone molds are intended for ~1kg panettones. (17cm x 12.5cm seems to be a standard size for 1kg molds.) Also note that several Italian cooking blogs say that you should use dough weighing 110% of the panettone weight number in the mold. That would be 1100g. So the formula seems to be in the same ball park as what the Italian web sites recommend. By all means, give it a try and you’ll gain valuable experience to help you with next year’s bake!

Thanks so much, Dan. I will go forward with the full recipe here for my molds. It will be a big experiment and a learning process for sure.

Hi all, I have been meaning to share a few more tips about proofing times. I came across this one from Iginio Massari himself. He says to make sure your first dough rises to a full 3 times the original volume before proceeding with the second dough. If you short change that first proof, it will significantly extend your second proofing time. By the same token, if your starter is not strong enough to triple in volume in 4 hours before starting, then it will make both your first and second rise times longer. I used to prep my starter by feeding it twice per day for 2 weeks prior to mixing my first batch of panettone. Now I feed my stiff starter 3 times a day for 4 or 5 days prior to mixing the first dough. My resulting first and second proofing times are both around 8 hours. So remember, while panettone is definitely an exercise in patience, good things come to those who wait! :slight_smile:

One last thing. I came across a nice video about making panettone, which is in Italian but has an English translation of the verbal content displayed at the bottom of the display. It is not specifically the Massari recipe and the order of the ingredients is not necessarily the same, but the video gives good tips and gives you an idea of how ingredients are added and how the dough looks at various stages during mixing. It also shows the method for shaving back 4 thin flaps of dough after scoring the cross in the top before adding the pat of softened butter and baking. That should give you a higher oven rise than you would get if you only scored a cross in the top before baking. Happy Baking!

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Thanks for sharing the strategies for shortening rise time and the video.

This latest round, I got tripling of the starter in 4 hours on only my second refreshment (same day).

If I were to do a few more days worth of refreshments as you mentioned you do, how do I keep things to a sane 3x a day (every 8 hours) as you mention you do?

Do I bind the starter in cloth? Put it at a colder temp? Or letting it go past ripe?

I was refreshing on a 7am, 3pm, 11pm schedule, without binding in the days leading up to the first dough build. Sometimes the day before mixing the first dough, I switch to 4 hr refreshments and in that case I will drop the hydration level to 40% for the last refreshment of the night and then bind the starter and let it sit at a cool room temp over night (not at 85F). The next morning, switch back to 50% hydration with 4 hr refreshments rising at 85F leading up to mixing the first dough later that evening.

Thanks for sharing the strategy for three starter refreshments a day. Sounds reasonable.

Btw, I did a poll on Instagram last week, asking people about their total fermentation time, minus starter builds, for their panettone bakes. I forgot to save the number of responses and instagram deletes the info super fast but it was somewhere in the 50-100 people range. Here are the results:

Hi Dan,

Thanks so much for this detailed process! I’ve been wanting to make panettone for some time, and finally got down to it a couple of days ago. I followed your process pretty carefully - the pasta madre was very active, and I had everything ready to go, but when I transcribed the process, I accidentally repeated the 60 g levain in the second dough (I also went with the original 40 g water in the second dough)! Accidents will happen, and in this case, it might have been a happy one as the final proof in the molds took only 6 hours at 85 F. The end result was fantastic, the crumb was light and fluffy, perhaps not as wild and open as some, but for a first attempt, my special lady friend and were very pleased. I poked around the internet and none of the processes use levain in the second dough, but I wonder if a smaller amount, say 10 g, wouldn’t be helpful to speed up the final proof but not so much that it impacts the crumb? I also wonder if anyone has tried a laminated dough to open up the crumb? In any case, here are a few pictures. Thanks again and have a wonderful remainder of the holiday and 2020!


The little:

One of the bigs:

Two of the bigs:

In the proofing box at noon:

In the proofing box at 6 pm:

Link to Instagram for a few more pictures:

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Hi Tarek,
Congratulations on the successful result of your year long quest! To me, the crumb looks nice and open. Well done on your first try! Like you, I have stumbled onto some successful strategies by accident while baking. Even some of my greatest failures have given me renewed resolve leading to even greater successes. (One year, the tops of all 3 of my panettone fell off within minutes of inverting them! The following year is when I started having significant successes with this recipe.)

Regarding “spiking” the second dough with additional starter, I have not seen any of the many recipes I have looked at add more starter after the first dough. While it will shorten your final proof time, it may subtly alter the flavor profile of the second dough increasing the acidic “twang”, characteristic to conventional sourdough. I think the citrus content in this recipe is fairly forgiving of some extra acidity, since I think it can punch up the citrus notes. Of course, I think one of the prime reasons for all the attention to 4 hr refreshments leading up to mixing the first dough is to reduce the overall acidity level and perhaps to encourage a milder combination of lactic and acetic acids than you would find in a more mature starter. Last year I made a batch of Matt Tinder’s chocolate panettone and I was a bit more lax on my 4 hr refreshments. When we took the first bite of the panettone, we noticed that it had a bit of that sourdough twang, since there was no citrus to balance it out. Though my wife was a bit disappointed, my in-laws really liked it. So ultimately, if it tastes good to you, then that is what matters most!

Regarding laminating the dough, again I have never seen reference to using that for panettone. In my opinion, the very long leavening times and the pretty spectacular change in volume from when you first load the dough into the molds to when it comes out of the oven usually results in a light, open crumb even without laminating. That said, when I am measuring out the dough, I do some brief coil folding to get the dough back into a ball shape before the “pirlatura” action. You can see what I mean in the longer of the 2 pirlatura videos in the original blog post.

Anyway, congratulations again making your own panettone. I bet you’ll never buy one from the store again!

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