Thursday, December 3, 2015

Panettone / Italian Christmas Bread (Sullivan Street Bakery)

When Joyce from Kitchen Flavours and Lena from Frozen wings and I said that we are going to bake Christmas yeasted bread for our Christmas bake-along, all I can think is Panettone!

Accordingly to Wikipedia, panettone is a traditional Italian sweet bread served on special occasions and holidays, such as Christmas and New Year’s Day and originates from Milan. Made with candied orange and lemon, lemon zest and raisins, most panettone are shaped in tall cylinder shapes which are about 16 cm diameter with about 12–15 cm height and can be as heavy as 1 kg. The most traditional way of baking panettone requires a long process that involves the curing of the dough for several days which makes it acidic like sourdough.

There are heaps of panettone recipes everywhere... in many books and internet! When I did a Google search on panettone recipe, the first hit was this and my mind just stopped wondering around!

This recipe from Brown Eyed Baker is from Sullivan Street Bakery’s website, written by the owner, Jim Lahey, who created the recipe. Seeing that the Sullivan Street Bakery’s panettone is listed as one of the best in New York at here and here, I tell myself that this is a must-try recipe and so I baked this...

Panettone Italian Christmas Bread Sullivan Street Bakery
Panettone / Italian Christmas Bread (Recipe by Sullivan Street Bakery)
Pretty rustic, huh?
At Day 1 (night), I soaked the raisins with rum and hot water and leave it to soak overnight.
At Day 2 (pm), I gathered the ingredients including lukewarm water and eggs to knead the dough.
I gathered my honey, lemon zest...
... and add this together with the raisins at the last 5 mins of kneading.
This dough can be very sticky to handle and I reckon that it is better to knead the dough using an electric mixer or a breadmaker.
At Day 3 (early am), the dough has tripled in its size and so I greased and lined a panettone pan with cooking oil spray and baking paper.
Found you!!! ... and I don't need you anymore :p
I tossed this vanilla bean into the bin.
I prefer to trim the paper after I placed the dough into the lined mould as placing the hard-to-handle sticky dough into the lined pan can shift the baking paper a little.
After 6 hours of proving at 37°C!!!
At Day 3 (late pm), I told myself I can't wait anymore and had to bake this bread :p
Panettone Italian Christmas Bread Sullivan Street Bakery
After 70 minutes of baking!
The recipe says that the panettone will be very dark and it is really true!
This idea of cooling a panettone is cool but scary!!!
Instead of using two metal skewers, I had to use four super flimsy satay sticks to pierce through the bread and let it hang upside down in a cooking pot to cool. When my husband saw me struggling to flip the bread... he was like "Are you mad doing this???"
Fortunately, everything (including the flimsy sticks) survive!
At Day 3 (super late pm), I can't wait for the bread to cool any further and sliced the bread...
Panettone Italian Christmas Bread Sullivan Street Bakery
The middle part of the bread with buttery center can be a little fragile to handle but the dark crusty side tends to make the bread kind of sturdy.
Panettone Italian Christmas Bread Sullivan Street Bakery
Due to its high buttery content, the bread is rather dense, heavy but very moist.
Kind of like a yeasted cake.
It is a beautiful bread as the moist and buttery inside compliment the dark tasty crust very well.

Have you notice that most panettone especially the commercial ones can keep at room temperature for months? Can't help to wonder... What makes panettone lasted for so long?

This homemade one is known to keep well at room temperature for up to 1 week and can keep up to 3 months if it is frozen.

Sorry to say, the picky me is not a big fan of panettone after its long period of storage. Although some people said that these aged bread is better with more robust flavour, I just simply don't like any breads that are typically not as fluffy and moist as the sandwich bread that we eat everyday. Hence to serve, I like to toast this bread with a thin spread of butter and enjoy it even more with beverages like coffee or tea. Alternatively, I also prefer to use aged panettone to cook French toast or bread pudding. Sorry but this is my personal preference.

Here's the recipe that is mostly adapted from Brown Eyed Baker and Tastebook

Makes one tall 15 cm x 16 cm (diameter) bread
1 cup raisins (about 180g which half of one 375g packet)
2 tbsp light rum
2 tbsp hot water
3 3/4 cup (560g) all-purpose flour (I used Italian OO flour)
2/3 cup (130g) caster sugar
1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp lemon zest or lemon zest from 1 lemon
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
3 large eggs, at room temperature, each is 70g with shell
2/3 cup water, lukewarm
1 tbsp honey
150g (10 tbsp) unsalted butter, well softened
15g (1 tbsp) unsalted butter, chilled
2/3 cup (about 70g) candied citrus peel, cut into 1/4 inch (0.5cm) pieces

Special Equipment:
One panettone disposable mould or one tall springform pan (6 x 4½-inch or 16 cm diameter x 12 cm height), greased and lined with baking paper
12-inch (30 cm) metal or thick sturdy wooden skewers or more if the skewers are flimsy

Day One (pm):
In a small bowl, combine the raisins with rum and hot water. Allow to soak at room temperature, stirring occasionally until the raisins are plump and most of the liquid has been absorbed, at least 8 hrs or overnight.

Day Two (pm):
Using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, mix together the flour, sugar, yeast, salt, lemon zest and vanilla bean on low speed until combined. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, lukewarm water and honey. With the mixer on low speed, pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture. Increase the speed to medium-low and mix until all of the ingredients are combined. Add the softened butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing until incorporated before adding more. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 mins.

Drain the raisins, discard the soaking liquid, and stir together with the candied citrus peel*. Stir this mixture into the dough with a spoon.

* The original recipe stirs in 1 tbsp melted butter into the citrus peel but I omitted that as I find the raisins, peel and dough and all moisten enough.

Instead of using an electric mixer, I have added the water, eggs, honey, flour, sugar, salt, lemon zest, vanilla bean, softened butter and yeast (according to this order) into my breadmaker and used the dough function to mix and knead the dough for 30 mins. Before the last 5 mins of kneading (most breadmakers will beep), add citrus peel and raisins and allow the breadmaker to knead in these addition for the last 5 mins of kneading.

Overnight, 12-15 hrs:
Place the dough in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a cold oven with the door closed until it has nearly tripled in volume, 12 to 15 hrs.

Day Three (early am):
Locate and discard the vanilla bean, then sprinkle the dough lightly with flour and scrape out onto a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle a bit more flour onto the dough, then fold the edges of the dough in towards the center, forming a loose ball, and place, seam-side down, into the panettone mould or a greased and lined tall springform pan. Trim the excess baking paper along the rim of the pan if necessary. Cover with a damp kitchen towel (not terry cloth) or a cling wrap and let rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature (100°F or 37°C) until the dough is just above the top of the mold , 3 to 6 hrs.

Day Two (pm):
Preheat oven to 370°F or 185°C.

Place the dough-filled panettone mould or pan on a baking tray. Use a very sharp serrated knife to score an "X" across the entire surface of the dough. Place the 1 tbsp chilled butter in the center of the X and bake until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out slightly moist but not wet, 60 to 75 mins - I covered the top of my panettone loosely with foil after 30 mins of bake and continued to bake it for a total 70 min. Yes that the panettone will be very dark.

Remove from the oven and pierce 12-inch (30 cm) metal or wooden skewers all the way through the panettone (including the paper) 4 inches apart and 1 inch from the bottom so the skewers are parallel. Hang the panettone upside down over a large cooking pot and cool completely before cutting.

To store the panettone, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, then either place in a resealable plastic bag, or wrap again in foil. The bread will keep at room temperature for up to 1 week or freeze the bread up to 2-3 months.

To serve kept or frozen bread, toast slices of bread (don't have to thaw if it is frozen in slices) with a thin spread of butter in a hot oven with grill and serve it with beverages like coffee or tea.

Merry Christmas and Happy Baking
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Please note that the linky tool for bake-along is no longer available.
This post is also linked at Cook and Celebrate: Christmas 2015 hosted by Yen from GoodyFoodies, Diana from The Domestic Goddess Wannabe and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids at here.


  1. Oh Zoe! I'm truly impressed! A panettone has never been an easy recipe to handle and you made it!
    Very nice! :)

  2. Zoe, that's stunning!!
    I love it, We use to eat it during Chriastmas holidays but I can bet at least one Panettone has already been eaten in each family in Italy in this period :-)
    I've never made it's easier to but it!

  3. Hi Zoe! It looks like a giant muffin :D I have never tasted a panettone before but from the looks of it, I think I will enjoy it.

  4. Wow ! It's a long process to bake Panettone ! Bravo to Zoe ! Yeah love the rustic & tall look ... wish I could try it.

  5. 圣诞节来咯。。。。。 浓浓的气氛就在这里开始。

  6. Looks great & love the additional butter in your panettone ! YUMMY!

  7. Looks like a string of Christmas bakes is coming along, huh? Feeling the mood already. Have a great weekend, dear!

  8. hi zoe, i like the dark crust of your panettone! i understand what you mean toasting the panettone bread if it's like a cake bread. If i can a find a pannetone mould like yours, i would hv baked a big one too. I actually like it's dome shaped of the bread . Thx for informing me about the cook and celebrate christmas event. Just linked!

  9. You did a fantastic job Zoe.... love it :)

  10. Hi Zoe,
    Lovely panettone! You got to wait 3 days to eat the panettone, a long process but definitely worth the time, from the looks of it. Mine is a "fast" version! Haha! Already linked to C&CC!

  11. Ohhh te ha quedado hermoso y esponjoso me gusta,abrazos y felicitaciones.

  12. Lovely bake, Zoe. I love the piece of butter in there. Interesting! You are so patient to wait this long.

  13. Ha ha ha, you're so cute! It looks good and you did a fabulous job! I'm not sure I have the patient.

  14. Thanks Zoe for your invitation. I've already put up the link. Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas !
    Blessings, Kristy

  15. Ooooo your pannetone looks good, I wonder if we can get the tin easily here in KL.

  16. This looks awesome Zoe! This is one thing I have yet to attempt in my kitchen!

  17. Well done for the effort. Anyway if you notice the crumb it's flaky and cakey. That's not the way panettone should be. It is a hard to do recipe. Panettone is a bread not a cake, the crumb should be stretchy and feathery.