Homemade panettone! This is something I’d always wanted to have a go at, an Italian sweet bread with a buttery base packed full of fruit and in my case, chocolate chips too. I have only had a couple of them in my life but decided to try and give this a try, how hard can it be? Well, in fact, the hardest thing about it is patience, it does take some waiting to make it overnight, but it was so worth it. This was made with no alcohol, just so my kids would have the confidence to want to try it. Hope you give this recipe a try!
How to make an easy panettone.
The first bit is easy! Grab the dried fruit, peel and the cherries. Place them onto a chopping board and slice up into roughly, pay a particular focus to larger items like the cherries getting them down to the size of the raisins ideally, then push into a mixing bowl. Cover the fruit with the orange juice, I added a little more to make sure they are all fully submerged in the fluid. Cover the bowl in cling film and place in a cool spot overnight for them to soak, don’t put them in the fridge.
Next up lets make the dough, this is an encriched dough with butter and eggs that gets sticky at first and is left overnight to develop flavour and texture.
Take the warmed (not boiling) milk, add in the yeast, then stir in the sugar and leave it for ten minutes. When you return to it it’ll have a foamy head on it and the yeast will have started working!
Next in a large bowl add the flour and salt, mix briefly then start to use an electric whisk with dough hooks ideally (or a stand mixer) as you pour in the yeast mixture, do this slowly and steadily until it is all fully incorporated into the dough mixture. Add the eggs in one batch and keep mixing as you go, slowly adding in lumps of the room temperature butter. This will take some time, but the butter will slowly merge and make a smooth dough, so keep going until all the dough is smooth and glossy.
Take a large flat dish and lightly grease with some butter, pour the smooth dough into it, scraping down any excess with a spatula. It will be quite sticky so try not to touch it too much with your hands. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for at least 12 hours or ideally overnight. Keep an eye on it in case it decides to escape your dish as it proves, but other than that, with your fruit soaking and the dough in the fridge your work is done for the day.
Next day drain off the fruit and discard the fluid. Stir in the chocolate chips if you are using them. Remove the dough from the fridge and flour your surface. Roll out the dough into a large rectangle and sprinkle all of the fruit on top spreading it out. Fold the dough in at the sides to encase the fruit and then dust with flour and knead carefully just to mix the fruit around. The moisture in the fruit can impact the dough so you will need a bit of flour at times as you knead it to keep it dry, don’t use too much, just knead it for a few minutes and dust as necessary. Shape it into a ball or divide up if you are making smaller ones into smaller balls.
Place the dough into a greased panettone mould, it will increase in size by a good third at least as it proves so consider this when filling your mould, decorate the tops with some nuts or extra fruit / chocolate chips if you wish, you can also use pearl sugar too. Leave to prove in a warm place covered with a damp tea towel for at least an hour or just as the dough is about to touch the top of the mould.
Pre-heat your oven to gas4/350f/160fan/180c. Whilst it’s pre-heating give the panettone an egg wash by mixing the egg and milk together. Then once hot bake in the oven for 20 minutes, before lowering oven to gas2/300f/130fan/150c for another 40 minutes. If it’s golden brown on top take it out and check with a bamboo skewer that if it comes out clean you can move on.
As a precaution I placed a tray under mine when baking to catch anything if it raised too crazy, please consider this before your prove the dough, get it right and you’ll have a lovely mushroom style cap top.
Leave to cool on a wire rack before slicing and serving up. Gorgeous!