[The December 2012 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by the talented Marcellina of Marcellina in Cucina. Marcellina challenged us to create our own custom Panettone, a traditional Italian holiday bread! Thanks Marcellina for a great challenge!]
Hello, hello, hello! I'm back to blogging with a big backlog of posts to catch up on. Christmas for me this year meant more baking than usual, and 800 grams of butter, 500 grams of sugar and over 1 kilo of flour later, the conclusion I reached whilst pondering over a freshly baked batch of cookies was that I need to hit the gym. The sooner the better.
But before I get to that, I am super excited to be posting about my very first DB challenge! I am officially a Daring Baker - that makes me feel happy, nervous, intimidated and also a little surreal. It seems like an official commitment to food blogging, somehow, and I have no idea if I can keep it up.
I joined DB just in time for the festive December challenge: panettone. Time for confession #1: I've never tried panettone before. Not freshly baked or the ones at the local supermarket. So I have nothing, really, to compare or qualify the final product to but my trusty taste buds.
Here's confession #2: I didn't expect the bread to succeed. This recipe was long. Really long. I made this with my cousin, and we had decided on baking both this and a batch of Momofuku cookies (recipe later!) together back-to-back. We had some trouble with the cookies and burnt the first few batches, so when we started on the panettone, it was 10.00pm. Completing the second dough for a second rise took us to 12.15am. By the time we were done washing the dishes and cleaning the table, it was past 1 in the morning. I don't think either of us had high hopes for the bread at all at that point.
But the dough rose beautifully overnight, just peeking over the brim of the mixing bowl. Having successfully had the sponge, the first dough and the second dough all rise, I continued the process feeling a little more cheery.
Marcellina gave us free reign on varying the filling of the panettone, so I skipped the candied citron and peel since those usually make me gag, and instead filled the bread with chocolate chips, raisins and dried cranberries, then left it to rise - one more time.
The final bread was not as golden or brown as I would have liked it to be, which probably had something to do with the fact that I put scarcely a teaspoon of butter on top of the dough before putting it in the oven. This was largely due to the copious amount of butter that had already been kneaded into the dough and I was attempting, rather fruitlessly, to minimize the calories.
The end product was a tall dome of bread which filled your nose with the fruity and festive smells of Christmas. The taste was not too sweet, which I liked, but also meant that parts of the bread without any filling tasted a little plain. I would probably add 1.5x amount of filling to the bread next time around. It probably wasn't as citrus-y as it was meant to be given that we neglected orange and lemon peel and only used orange extract. We had also left the dough to rise in the fridge in its final rise, which dried it out a little so that the surface of the bread turned out rock hard (we may also have added too much flour while kneading). However: the insides of the bread was soft and fluffy and seemed to be more of a cross between bread and cake, the choices of chocolate, cranberries and raisins was a sweet combination and honestly, just having an edible bread that looked somewhat panettone-shaped after over twelve hours worth of effort felt like a pretty damn good accomplishment to me this Christmas.
From Marcellina, who adapted it from The Italian Baker by Carol Field
Makes 2 panettone
1 satchel (2 1/4 tsp/7 g) active dry yeast
1/3 cup (80 ml) warm water
1/2 cup (70 g) all purpose flour
1 satchel (2 1/4 tsp/ 7 g) active dry yeast
3 tbsp (45 ml) warm water
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cup (175 g) all purpose flour
1/4 cup (55 g) sugar
1/2 cup (115 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
2/3 cup (150 g) sugar
3 tbsp (45 ml) honey
1 tbsp (15 ml) vanilla extract
1 tsp (5 ml) lemon extract
1 tsp (5 ml) orange extract
1 tsp (6 g) salt
1 cup (225 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups (420 g) all purpose flour; plus up to 2/3 cup (100 g) extra for kneading
Filling & Final Dough
1 1/2 cups (250 g) golden raisins (I used 1 cup of regular raisins instead)
1/2 cup (75 g) candied citron (I used 1 cup of chocolate chips instead)
1/2 cup (75 g) candied orange peel (I sued 1/2 cup of dried cranberries instead)
Grated zest of 1 orange
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2-3 tbsp (15-25 g) all purpose flour for dusting
For the Sponge
Mix the yeast and warm water in a small bowl and allow to stand for 10 minutes, or until creamy. Mix in the flour, cover with plastic wrap and allow to double in size, about 20-30 minutes.
Note: I still don't own a stand mixer, this was mixed using a hand held machine with dough hooks attached, which works fine.
In the mixer bowl, mix together the yeast and water and allow to stand until creamy (about 10 minutes like before). With the paddle attachment mix in the sponge, eggs, flour and sugar. Add in the butter and mix for 3 minutes, until the dough is smooth and even. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to double in size for about 1 - 1 1/4 hours.
Take your first dough and with the paddle attachment, mix into the dough the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, honey, vanilla, extracts and salt. Mix in the butter, then add the flour and incorporate slowly. Replace the paddle with the dough hook and knead for another 2 minutes.
The dough at this point will be very soft and sticky. Turn it out and knead it on a well-floured surface until it holds its shape - don't knead in too much flour, but you may need as much as 2/3 cup more. Excess flour will affect the finished product.
First Rise: Oil a large bowl lightly and put in your dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise until tripled in size, which can be done in 2 ways: either rise in a warm place for 2-4 hours or rise in a cool place or the fridge overnight.
Filling: After the first rise, make the filling. Soak the raisins (if using) about 30 minutes before the end of the first rise (you can use water or alcohol), then drain and pat dry. Combine the raisins with the rest of your filling ingredients and mix well.
Take out your dough and cut it in half. Put one half of the dough on a lightly floured surface and press out into an oval shape. Sprinkle over one quarter of the filling and roll up the dough into a log, press out again into an oval and sprinkle on another 1/4 of the filling. Roll into a log shape again. Repeat with the second half of the dough to make 2 panettoni.
Second Rise: Shape each log into a ball and put into your prepared pans/molds. Cut an X into the top of each bread and allow to double in size. This will depend on how you went about you first rise: if it has been in the fridge, it could take up to 4 hours to double in size.
When the second rise is almost complete, preheat your oven to 200C/400F. Just before baking, cut the X into the dough again (confession #3: I forgot to do this) and place in a knob of butter. Put int he oven to bake for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, reduce the heat of the oven to 180C/350F and bake for another 10 minutes. Then reduce the heat again to 160C/325F and bake for 30 minutes or until the tops are browned and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Cool your panettone on its side, cushioned up with rolled up towels. Turn them gently as they cool. Otherwise follow my example and give in to your lazy side: set them on a wire rack and leave to cool like normal.