Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without Panettone. After many trials, I think this recipe is the The Best Easy Panettone. It fluffy, delicious and simple enough to make a home.
3 cups strong ‘00’ flour or bread flour, divided
4 1/8 teaspoons active dry yeast, divided
1/3 cup water
½ cup golden raisins
½ cup dark raisins
4oz brandy or dark rum (optional)
1/3 cup milk
3 large eggs
½ cup granulated sugar, divided
2 teaspoons kosher salt (1 ¼ tsp fine salt)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
Zest of 1 large orange
Zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
¼ cup chopped, candied orange peel
1 egg, for egg wash
½ tablespoon of butter, for topping
- Make biga (aka starter): Warm water to about 110-115F. Stir in 1/8 teaspoon of yeast and ¼ teaspoon of sugar. Proof for about 5 minutes, until foamy. Combine ¾ cup of flour with the yeast mixure to form a stiff dough. Cover with a plastic wrap or a damp cloth and sit at room temperature overnight. Allow to ferment for about 10-14 hours before preparing the dough.
- Soak raisins: Place both types of raisins into a bowl. Pour over brandy or rum (or water) and allow to plump up overnight while the biga ferments. If you have plump, chewy raisins to start and do not want to use alcohol, consider skipping this step. If you have dry, harder raisins or just want to add more flavor, do not skip this step. Drain raisins the next morning. Use the remaining liquor for another purpose, if desired.
- Bring ingredients to room temperature. The morning after you prepare the biga, place eggs and butter on the counter to come to room temperature. To hasten the process, place eggs in a bowl of warm water.
- Proof yeast: Warm milk to 110-115F. Stir in remaining 4 teaspoons of yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Proof for about 5 minutes, until foamy.
- Make dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, add the remaining 2 ¼ cups of flour, along with the eggs and yeast/milk mixture. Process over low to medium-low speed until smooth, about 3-5 minutes. Add biga, one, 1-inch chunk at a time until fully incorporated and smooth, about 7-10 minutes.
- Rise: Transfer dough to lightly oil boil. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Place in a warm place of the house and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours or so. To create a warm environment, I use my oven and an oven thermometer. I turn it to preheat on the lowest setting. Then, when it is about 90 to 100F or so, I place the bowl of dough in the oven, shut the oven off and close the door.
- Add sugar and butter: After the dough doubles in size, punch it down and transfer it back to the bowl of the standing mixer. Add the remaining sugar (slightly shy of a ½ cup), salt, citrus zest and vanilla. Mix over low to medium-low speed until smooth, just a few minutes. Add the softened butter, 1-2 teaspoons at a time until fully incorporated and no longer greasy looking, about 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, rewarm the oven to 90-100F (if using for proofing). Transfer dough to lightly oil boil. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Place in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours. Make sure to shut off the oven if proofing inside of it.
- Add the fruit: Punch down the dough and transfer it to a lightly oiled surface. Flatten into a rectangle. Sprinkle over the drained raisins and candied citrus. Fold over the edges of the to entrap the fruit. Gently knead in the fruit, and shape into a ball. Make sure not too much fruit is on the outside of the dough, as it can burn while baking. Rewarm the oven to 90-100F if proofing there, making sure to shut it off before adding the bread. Transfer to a large panettone mold (4.8×6.75in). Cover and place in the oven to proof. After 30-60 minutes, when the dough is roughly 1.5 times the original volume, remove from oven and place on the stove top. Preheat oven to 400F.
- Bake: After dough rises just above the panettone mold or doubles in size, beat together an egg with 1 tablespoon of water. Brush top of bread. Score a large ‘x’ on the top of the dough with a razor blade or sharp knife. Place pat of butter in the center of the cross. Bake for 15 minutes at 400F. Reduce heat to 350F (do not open oven) and continue to bake for 30-45 minutes, or until the center of the bread registers between 190-195F, and a tester comes out clean.
- Hang upside down: Right after the bread comes out of the oven, poke two skewers through the bread close to each edge and about ½ inch from the bottom. Hang it upside down on something sturdy. I used photography apple boxes, but you can use a large pot or two chairs, for example. Allow to cool for about 2 hours or until room temperature. Take down and remove skewers. Cool completely before serving. Enjoy.
Substitute dried fruit with dried cranberries, currants, apricots and/or cherries, as desired.
I bought my molds on Amazon. You can also use parchment paper and a springform pan or other round to create a makeshift mold like this.
Store bread in an airtight container, in a plastic bag or wrapped in foil for up to 2-3 days at room temperature.
Freeze for up to 3 months. I like to wrap individual slices in plastic wrap and store them in a freezer bag. Defrost overnight in the fridge or in the oven.
Use leftover panettone for toast, French toast, bread pudding or trifle.
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: Bread
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: Italian
- Serving Size: 1/12 of bread
- Calories: 282
- Sugar: 19g
- Sodium: 270mg
- Fat: 7g
- Saturated Fat: 4g
- Unsaturated Fat: 3g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 47g
- Fiber: 2g
- Protein: 7g
- Cholesterol: 60mg
Keywords: best panettone, easy panettone, panettone, Italian Christmas bread, how to make panettone at home