Thursday, December 10, 2015

Saffron Panettone with Pearl Sugar Topping (all baked within a day)

After baking a must-try Sullivan Street Bakery’s panettone at here with about two days of fermentation, the always inquisitive me wonder if there is an easier or faster way of baking panettone.

Possibly... Well, it depends how you define a real panettone. The recipes at here and here suggests that you can bake panettone in the form of non-yeasted cakes. Whereas some recipes at here, here and here uses more instant yeast and can produce a panettone within one day with two sets of 1-3 hrs proving time... but are these quick-risen panettone real or traditional enough?

Later, I learned from Wikipedia and here that the word, panettone actually derives from "pan del ton", a Milanese phrase that means "bread of luxury."

Enlightened!!! I say it with a triumphal chord...

Does this mean that any well-risen dark-crusted brioche-like bread that is made with the best quality butter, premium candied peel and raisins says that the bread is luxury or "panettone" enough? Hmmm... Agree!

Here's an unique panettone recipe that I came across at Epicurious. Although it is neither made into the traditional cylinder shape nor made with many days of proving, I'm pretty sure that the addition of exotic and expensive saffron is making this panettone luxurious and also "panettone" enough.

saffron panettone crushed pearl sugar topping
The Aromatic and Luxurious Saffron Panettone with Pearl Sugar Topping
Instead of using vanilla, this panettone uses the flowery-scent cardamom and saffron to enhance its aroma.
The original recipe doesn't do anything to the raisins before using them but I like to take the initiative to soak the raisins with rum and hot water overnight.
Cover and allow saffron and cardamom to steep into the milk mixture while it is left to cool to 110°F / 40°C.
Let the dough rise for 2 hours or until doubled.
Instead of using the traditional tall cylinder springform panettone pan, I'm using a loose bottom tube pan to bake this bread.
This Daily Bake non-stick tube pan given by d.line Australia (Donaldson) is exactly the pan that I need.
Made in Portugal with non-scratchable non-stick surface, this pan is sturdy and durable. Like! Like! Like!
Although the dough is sticky, it is not too difficult to handle.
without using any flour to dust, I can actually shape the dough into this super long ropes!
To shape, wrap the long dough around the center tube of the pan and push the dough to the side to distribute the dough evenly.
Before baking ...
I would say that the pearl sugar topping is a must for this bake!
It makes the panettone looking so pretty like snowing!
After baking ...
No worries and drama at all to remove the bread from this d.line tube pan!
Just place the pan on a sturdy cup and push the side of the pan downward... Ta Dah!
This panettone is ready to be sliced and served!
You know... I so like this well-risen dark-crusted brioche-like saffron bread
To me, it is definitely panettone enough.

Although this panettone is much softer and fluffier than the rich and buttery Sullivan Street Bakery’s panettone that I made before, the texture of both breads can deteriorate pretty badly on the subsequent days of the bake. Despite the fact that all panettone are known to keep well at room temperature for up to 1 week and can keep up to 3 months if it is frozen, the picky me tends to compare these panettone with the typical soft sandwich bread that we eat everyday and don't like to consume them just on its own after two days of bake! Sorry!

Whether the panettone is commercially made or homemade, they can be a little dry for me to chew if they are not freshly baked on the same day! Therefore, in order to enjoy panettone at any time to the fullest, I like to toast this bread with a thin spread of butter and like it even more with beverages like coffee or tea. Alternatively, I wouldn't mind using aged panettone to be used to cook French toast or bread pudding but would definitely mind if I have to eat aged panettone on its own. Sorry!

This is how I baked this saffron panettone with my friends, Joyce from Kitchen Flavours and Lena from Frozen wings for our Christmas bake-along and this fantastic recipe that I used is mostly adapted from Epicurious.

Make one large 25 cm tube panettone

Prepare the day before the bake:
1 cup raisins (about 180g which half of one 375g packet)
2 tbsp light rum
2 tbsp hot water

For the dough:
1 cup (250ml) milk
8 green cardamon pods
1/8 tsp saffron threads
4 large eggs, at room temperature
100g (1/2 cup) sugar
3/4 tsp salt
4 1/2 cups (675g) all purpose flour (I used 500g bread flour and 175g Italian OO flour)
120g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, soften at room temperature
3 tsp (12g) active dry yeast
1 cup (about 100g) candied citrus peel, diced into small 0.5 cm pieces

For the topping:
1 egg white, lightly beaten
8 tbsp pearl sugar or 8 sugar cubes, coarsely crushed

cooking oil spray to grease the pan

On the day before the bake, combine the raisins with rum and hot water in a small bowl. 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.

On the day of the bake:
Combine milk, cardamom and saffron in small saucepan. Bring mixture to simmer (about 3 mins). While cooking, swirl pan to distribute saffron. Remove from heat.

Cover and allow saffron and cardamom to steep into the milk mixture for 20 mins or until the thermometer inserted into milk mixture registers 110°F / 40°C. Strain milk mixture and discard solids in strainer.

Electric mixer method:

Sprinkle yeast and 1 tsp sugar over milk mixture. Let stand until yeast is dissolved and mixture is foamy, about 10 mins. Transfer the milk mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Using a low mixing speed, mix the remaining sugar, eggs, salt and butter into the milk mixture. Add 2 cups (300g) flour and beat on low speed until smooth. Change paddle attachment to hook attachment and increase mixing speed slightly to medium low. Gradually add the rest of the flour and mix until smooth. Reduce the mixing speed back to low and mix in citrus peel and raisins. Continue mixing until dough pulls away from sides of bowl in long stretchy strands, about 10 mins and dough will be sticky. Transfer dough into a greased large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm area until doubled, about 2 hrs.

Breadmaker method:

Instead of using an electric mixer, I have added the milk, eggs, sugar, salt, flour, 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 breadmaker will beep), add citrus peel and raisins and allow the breadmaker to knead in these addition for the last 5 mins of kneading. To prove the dough, you can either leave it to prove in the warm breadmaker or transfer it into a greased large bowl with plastic wrap cover and let the dough rise for 2 hrs or until doubled.

Grease 10 x 4-inch (25 cm diameter round x 10 cm height) angel food cake pan with removable bottom with adequate cooking oil spray. Transfer dough onto a lightly floured non-stick surface and roll into 18- to 20-inch (about 50 cm) rope. (Note: Although dough can be sticky, it is not difficult to handle and I didn't use any flour to dust at all!) Wrap around center tube of the prepared pan, pushing and pinching ends together to distribute the dough evenly. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rise in warm area for 1 hr or until almost doubled.

Position a baking rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F or 180°C.

Brush top of dough with beaten egg white and sprinkle with pearl sugar or crushed sugar cubes on top. Bake until golden brown and tester inserted near center comes out clean, about 40-45 mins - I covered the top of my panettone loosely with foil after 20 mins of bake and continued to bake it for a total 40 min. Like most panettone, this one will dark crusted too.

Cool in pan slightly for about 10 minutes. Remove panettone from the pan and transfer onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Slice and serve.

Store at room temperature for up to 5 days or freeze the bread up to 2-3 months.
To serve kept or frozen bread, toast slices of bread (don't need 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
Please support me and like me at Facebook...

Here are our friends that have joined us for this bake-along. Please visit their blogs for more of their Christmas yeasted bread baking.

Please submit your details if you wish to link your post with this bake-along. This linking tool is open from 3 to 24 Dec 2015.

For our next bake-along, we are baking Ruby Jewel Cookies, Recipe from William Sonoma Baking Book, pg 46 or here which is to be posted on 9 Jan 2016. Please bake-along with us! All you need to do is to bake this recipe and link with us for the next 10 days.

Before linking with us, please make sure that: (1) Your post must be a current post. (2) Please mention Bake-Along in your post and link back to any of our hosts' Bake-Along post, (Joyce, Lena or Zoe). (3) Appreciate if you can display the Bake-Along badge in your post when linking up with us. Cheers!

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. This panettone looks so beautiful with the additional pearl sugar!
    I don't like to eat panettone just by itself but I enjoy turning it into a bread pudding :)

  2. Lovely saffron panettone, hopes i have time to bake one!

  3. I love saffron and cardamom and can't wait to bake this one... looks amazing! bookmarked... :)

  4. Those cookie cutters are too cute, Zoe! Good luck to all! xoxo

  5. I have not tried panettone but I think it looks like bread. I wouldn't mind trying.

  6. Hi Zoe, do you have any recipes for eggless cakes, cookies or muffins? (

    1. Hi Bakerro,

      All my recipes can be found at Please feel free to browse for any eggless recipes. Cheers!


  7. As I told you I love Panettone and this version looks delicious!!

  8. This cake looks just amazing! Everything about it is so perfect!

  9. Oh, I love this so much. You've done it beautifully, Zoe. I buy this every Christmas. I suppose I should try baking one myself. :D

  10. Zoe, I love the pearl sugar, so pretty and look so christmas!

  11. Zoe, absolutely love how the texture turned out. Looks really tempting !
    Happy weekend.
    Blessings, Kristy

  12. Wow...! excellent try ..... I love saffron flavor.... Love this saffron flavor infused panettone :)

  13. Oh that bread rose and baked sooo beautifully! I love the color and consistency of it! I plan to buy a fruitcake or panettone soon just to enjoy! I've never and my family never buys anything special in terms of cakes and sweets as we don't celebrate christmas but I'd love to try some sweet treats just for the sake of it :p

  14. Pretty! Great for Holiday get together. I'm so impressed!

  15. Lovely panettone Zoe! I am too kiamsiap to use saffron, too expensive! haha! But it does give a lovely golden yellow to the bread!

  16. i never tried anything withs saffron, i am curious about the taste of it..and i love how you decorate the pannettone with those pearl sugar!