Daring Bakers’ December Challenge: Panettone

This month’s Daring Baker’s Challenge really hits the nail with such a festive challenge- panettone. After my previous mini panettone bakes that took a total of 2 days (ok, minimum hands-on, but still..), I was slightly put off from baking panettone again, unless if it is for a crowd. Too much butter can be very dangerous! As the saying goes, a minute on the lips but forever on the hip! But Marcella of Marcellina in Cucina reignited my love for panettone with her simple yet delicious recipe and lured us further by her little snippet of history associated with panettone. Now how could I resist making those buttery, tall bread temptation? Anything with history and tradition, is always a winner in my book.

I followed Marcella’s recipe to the dot for the dough but made changes to the fruits I added in- I used my homemade mincemeat instead! Those jars of goodness were sitting on the kitchen counter for 2 days, staring at me with glee, when would you make pie out of me? Half they went to mince pies and the other jar was generously slathered and rolled into the panettone dough. After all, you could not go wrong with raisins, cherries, figs, candied peels and dates, could you?

Few days before the public holiday began, I was already planning the panettone as I knew it will take days. In between watching home cinema and playing with the tot, the dough was kneaded and left to rise. First the biga ie the poolish starter followed by the first dough rise. See, minimal hands-on and the female talent of multitasking:P. But what somehow dampen my spirit the day was the futile calls to numerous baking specialty shops enquiring about panettone cases and all I got in response was a mute silence or ‘what’s that?!”

Off to the crafts store I went, and got myself some sturdy cardboards for a totally homemade challenge. I loved the simplicity of the diy panettone case. You could obviously use only parchment paper, just like Marcella’s guide. 
I halved the recipe as I knew Hubs is not a big fan of breads (huh), so the loaf was savoured by the rest of us heartily. The recipe was so much better than the one I tried last year for mini panettone, so this is definitely a keeper. Thank you Marcella for the gorgeous Italian challenge, it really brings a nice holiday mood with it, especially with the sweet smells of fruits and yeast being baked to perfection in the oven! 
this recipe makes 2 large x 9cm diameter panettoni

1 satchel (2¼ teaspoons) (7 gm) active dry yeast
1/3 cup (80 ml) warm water
½ cup (70 gm) unbleached all purpose flour

First Dough
1 satchel (2¼ teaspoons) (7 gm) active dry yeast
3 tablespoons (45 ml) warm water
2 large eggs, at room temp
1¼ cup (175 gm) unbleached all-purpose (plain) flour
¼ cup (55 gm) (2 oz) sugar
½ cup (1 stick) (115 gm) unsalted butter, at room temp

Second dough
2 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
2/3 cup (150 gm) (5-2/3 oz) sugar
3 tablespoons (45 ml) honey
1 tablespoon (15 ml) vanilla extract
1 teaspoon (5 ml) lemon essence/extract
1 teaspoon (5 ml) orange essence/extract
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) salt
1 cup (2 sticks) (225 gm) unsalted butter, at room temp
3 cups (420 gm) (15 oz) unbleached all-purpose (plain) flour; plus up to (2/3 cup) 100 gm for kneading

Filling and final dough
1½ cups (250 gm) (9 oz) golden raisins or golden sultanas
½ cup (75 gm) (2-2/3 oz) candied citron ( I didn’t have this so I made it up with candied orange peel)
½ cup (75 gm) (2-2/3 oz) candied orange peel (try making your own; recipe below)
Grated zest of 1 orange
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 to 3 tablespoons (30-45 ml) (15-25 gm) unbleached all-purpose (plain) flour


  1. Mix the yeast and water in a small bowl and allow to stand until creamy. That’s about 10 minutes or so. Add in the flour and leave on the counter for 1 hour. 

First Dough
By hand:

  1. Mix the yeast and water in a large bowl and allow to stand until creamy. Again, about 10 minutes or so
  2. Mix in the sponge and beat well with a wooden spoon
  3. Stir in the eggs, flour and sugar.
  4. Mix in the butter well
  5. This should only take about 5 – 6 minutes
  6. Cover with plastic wrap and allow double in size, about 1 – 1 ¼ hours

By Mixer:

  1. In the mixer bowl, mix together the yeast and water and allow to stand until creamy. Again, about 10 minutes or so
  2. With the paddle attached mix in the sponge, eggs, flour, and sugar.
  3. Add in the butter and mix for 3 minutes until the dough is smooth and even.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and allow double in size, about 1 – 1 ¼ hours

Second dough
By Hand:

  1. Be sure to have your dough in a large bowl as above.
  2. With a wooden spoon mix in eggs, egg yolk, sugar, honey, vanilla, essences/extracts and salt.
  3. Mix in the butter.
  4. Then add the flour. Stir until smooth.
  5. At this stage the dough will seem a little too soft, like cookie dough.
  6. Turn it out and knead it on a well-floured surface until it sort of holds its shape. Don’t knead in too much flour but you may need as much as 2/3 cup (100 gm). Be careful the excess flour will affect the finished product.

By Mixer:

  1. With the paddle mix in thoroughly the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, honey, vanilla, essences/extracts, and salt.
  2. Mix in the butter until smooth.
  3. Add the flour and slowly incorporate.
  4. At this stage the dough will seem a little too soft, like cookie dough.
  5. Replace the paddle with the dough hook and knead for about 2 minutes.
  6. Turn out the dough and knead it on a well-floured surface until it sort of holds its shape.  
  7. Don’t knead in too much flour but you may need as much as 2/3 cup (100 gm). Be careful the excess flour will affect the finished product.

First Rise

  1. Oil a large bowl lightly, plop in your dough and cover with plastic wrap
  2. Now we need to let it rise until it has tripled in size. There are two ways to go about this.

  • Rise in a warm place for 2 – 4 hours
  • Or find a cool spot (64°F -68°F) (18°C – 20°C) and rise overnight
  • Or rise for 2 hours on your kitchen bench then slow the rise down and place in the refrigerator overnight. If you do this it will take some time to wake up the next morning( I used this method)
  • Soak the raisin/sultanas in water 30 minutes before the end of the first rise. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Now take your dough and cut it in half. Remember we are making two panettoni.
  • Combine all your filling ingredients and mix well *

* Note: Instead of soaking the fruits, I used mincemeat

Press out one portion of dough into an oval shape, sprinkled the fruits.

  1. Press out again into an oval shape and sprinkle over another quarter of the filling
  2. Roll into a log shape again.
  3. Repeat with the second portion of dough
  4. Shape each into a ball and slip into your prepared pans, panettone papers or homemade panettone papers.
  5. Cut an X into the top of each panettone and allow to double in size.
  6. Rising time will vary according to method of first rise. If it has been in the refrigerator it could take 4 hours or more. (mine took 6 hours) If it has been rising on the kitchen bench in a warm place it should be doubled in about 2 hours.


  1. When you think your dough has only about 30 minutes left to rise preheat your oven to moderately hot 400°F/200°C/gas mark 6 and adjust your oven racks
  2. Just before baking carefully (don’t deflate it!) cut the X into the dough again and place in a knob (a nut) of butter.
  3. Place your panettoni in the oven and bake for 10 minutes
  4. Reduce the heat to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 and bake for another 10 minutes
  5. Reduce the heat again to moderate 325°F/160°C/gas mark 3 and bake for 30 minutes until the tops are well browned and a skewer inserted into the panettone comes out clean.
  6. I turn the panettone upside down for cooling before taking it out from the paper case.

Sending this to Yeastspotting!

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  1. says

    This is d bread vch is famous in brasil 4 natal.I have 3 in my fridge.Have an idea abt making bt don`t know exact recipe.n urs just awesum.very clearly explained n d loaf was perfectly done…..BTW Liked d name of d blog….meaningfulllll……..Happy new year2013..

  2. says

    Hi Jehanne. This is another marvelous post dear. My hubs and Farhan saw the first photo in facebook and was like “”AAAWWWW”. So beautiful the clicks are…
    U new camera baby is doing magic in your blog. I have never made this bread before. It has come out so well and I love all the clicks here. simply amazing. I was figureing out how you have kept the camera and taken these beautiful shots.

    • says

      That is so sweet of you guys, I am loving this 5d III every minuite, in fact looking for more raw photos to shoot every time I’m free. Must make some panettone for u soon.

  3. says

    hi dr jehanne…oooops!!! i just got curious cos your recipe is very challenging. i am very hopeful i can give this a try- so, bookmark with many thanks:)- o ya beautifully captured images–glad you did.

  4. says

    Wow, what a challenge! I’ve been baking for many years but haven’t bake a panettone just yet! Yours look perfect and delicious. Wish you and your family a wonderful 2013!

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