19 Dec2008

Panettone a la Sister

by Marketman


Panettone for Maria Maffia

Maria was 94 when she passed away a few years ago and she loved panettone which I made for her during the holidays. To the end she retained her sense of humour and her kind, forgiving nature, and lived independently within very limited means but always with a deep enjoyment and zest for life and a generousity of spirit that made her a very special person. Few leave this earth as luckily as she did- dying instantly of a massive heart attack at NY Hospital while waiting for a test to be performed. So this is for Maria.

Recipe makes 4 panettones (7″ round and 5″ high) or 3 (8″ round) or 5 (8×4″) loaf pans. You can divide recipe in half. It has the requisite five rising periods (sponge, dough, fruited dough, shaped, oven spring) and its flavour development and ropey, light texture is due to the long risings, I do not recommend any shortcuts. It is best to use homemade candied peels (half orange and half lemon to make 3/4 lb). I’ve tasted many panettones across Italy and this is pretty close to the Milanese classic from Piave; it will taste far better than any supermarket version and well worth the two day effort.

4 c. tepid tap water
3 packets yeast (3/4 oz total) or 7 tsp. or one cake fresh yeast
2 lbs. bread flour (6 1/2 c.)

In a 5 qt. bowl dissolve the yeast in the water.
Beat in flour for 5 min. to form a soft ball.
Cover tightly and refrigerate for 24 hrs. It will rise and fall.

3/4 lb. raisens (yellow or half yellow and half dark)
1/4 lb. each candied lemon, orange and citron peels or 3/4 lb. mixed peels 1/4″ dice
1/4 c. rum

Chop peels coarsely and combine with raisens and rum in a covered container and shake occasionally, marinate for 24 hrs. Fruit will absorb the rum and keep the bread moist.


12 eggyolks (1 c.) plus 2 whole eggs (1/4 c.)
3/4 c. evaporated milk (6 oz)
1 c. sugar (about a scant 1/2 lb.)
1/3 c. honey (5 oz)
2 tbsp. real vanilla extract
1 tbsp. each real lemon and orange extracts (or 2 tbsp. fiori de sicilia)
1 tbsp. each grated lemon and orange rind

2 more lbs. bread flour (6 1/2 c.)
4 tsp. salt

1 lb. unsalted butter

To the sponge add the eggyolks and eggs, milk, sugar, honey, extracts and grated zests. Beat for 5 min. until well combined.

Add flour and salt and beat until incorporated. Do not lessen amount of salt. Add 3/4 lb. of the butter and save 1/4 lb. for kneading. If the dough rides up the hook divide in half and knead for 8 minutes each by machine or 15 min. by hand until soft and elastic. It will still be sticky but shiny.

Let rest for 30 min. at room temp. to relax the dough so it will take the fruit.

Grease a large bowl and knead in remaining butter and fruit into dough until well distributed. Form into a ball, put into bowl, cover loosely with a large, clear plastic bag and let rise for 3-4 hours at room temp. My kitchen is about 60 F in the winter so refrigerate the dough if your kitchen is warmer. It will double in bulk in 3-4 1/2 hrs. You can also leave it overnight in the fridge at 45F. Do not freeze.

Prepare your molds. Acquire four 7×3″ round pans or buy 2.2 lb. size panettone paper molds. Line bottoms of metal pans with parchment paper; fold a long piece of parchment three times to make a 5″ band around the inside, secure with a piece of tape on the outside. Sounds complicated but it’s actually very easy to do. Brush with soft butter or corn oil. The band will help the bread to rise above the rim of the pan.

Punch down the dough and divide into 4 portions approximately 2 1/3 lb. each or 3 portions for 8″ pans or five portions for 8″ loaf pans.
Flatten into discs and pull edges under with your hands to form a ball. Drop into pans and level off by pressing down with fingers, for loaves form into cylinders. Molds will be less than half full.

Let stand at room temp about 70 F and allow to rise until 2 1/2 times the original volume. The loaves will be about 4 1/2-5″ high. It will take 3-4 hours. Check after 2 hours to see if they have almost reached the desired volume. Do not rush to bake or bread will be heavy.

If your oven can only bake 2 panettone at a time retard the growth of 2 pans, #3 and #4, by refrigerating for 1 hr. after shaping, then allow to rise at room temp. and bake after pans #1 and #2.

Preheat oven to 350 F. and lower rack to lowest setting. Place a small pan of hot water on the floor of the oven. Place pans of panettone on a cookie sheet, do not over crowd.

Cut a 4″ cross 1/4″ deep on top of round panettones with a single razor or serrated knife and pull back the quarters to make “ears”. Place a small pat of butter in the center. If you like you can brush gently with beaten egg and sprinkle with pearl sugar or blanched almonds. Do not jostle too much or it will deflate.

Bake one sheet at a time. After 20 minutes turn them halfway around and cover tops lightly with foil to prevent overbrowning. Bake another 20 min. for a total of 40-45 min or until tops sound hallow when tapped and panettone is deep brown.

Remove and cool panettone in pans, after 10 min. lay metal pans on its side to prevent the top from sinking and do not remove until completely cold. Or if using paper molds place 2 skewers horizontally through lower half of panettone, turn upside down in a stock pot to cool completely.

Wrap in paper, not plastic, will keep a week, toast stale panettone. Makes terrific french toast or bread pudding.

Makes four 2 1/4 lb. panettones (a couple of oz. of moisture will evaporate in the oven).

Try this recipe exactly as written, no substitutions, before you adjust it to your liking the next time around.

(Note from Marketman: Yowks! Even I have to set aside a calm day to give this a go! But doesn’t it sound delicious?)



  1. pinoycontests says:

    Maria lives on with this yummy panettone…The picture looks great. I love how the green ribbon brightens up what would otherwise be a drab-looking cake.

    Dec 19, 2008 | 11:16 am


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  3. Maria Clara says:

    Sister, wherever Maria Maffia (my namesake) is must be beaming and brimming with pride and joy with your Panettone and with the turn around time of two days just making it morer exciting. The wait time is always unbearable to me but it is a big reward afterwards. I can imagine the waft coming from your oven arousing all the six senses. Yes, Panettone makes an excellent bread pudding with what else rum sauce on the side it is really good which is a good antidote for hangover. Again and again thank you much for unraveling the secret of one of your masterpieces – Panettone which makes it a breeze to make with your true, tested, tasted and tried recipe and the success pointers you give out. Thank you thank you.

    Dec 19, 2008 | 11:58 am

  4. Rico says:

    Yikes indeed! We”ll pass on this one for when a lazy afternoon comes along. I don’t know if my wife can handle this much this soon. Maybe after a few more practices on the cookies, hence more haul for me :)

    Dec 19, 2008 | 12:31 pm

  5. bluegirl says:

    That is one drop dead gorgeous Panettone!

    Dec 19, 2008 | 3:01 pm

  6. ging says:

    i just received a “Chocotonne” along with a Pandoro from a client. It’s Panettone with Hershey’s chocolate in it, instead of the glaced fruit. Yikes!

    I gave the Chocotonne to my staff for their snacks. The Pandoro i brought home.

    I myself prefer the classic Panettone.

    Dec 19, 2008 | 5:06 pm

  7. chrisb says:

    Thanks MM’s sister for sharing this recipe. Will try it soon. Ging, I love Pandoro too. In a restaurant where I used to work, we would toast thick slices and spread some mascarpone on it, then top with fresh berries and powdered sugar. It was very simple but very good.

    Dec 19, 2008 | 5:30 pm

  8. Maki says:

    looks awesome..

    Dec 19, 2008 | 6:14 pm

  9. sister says:

    Note: If you live in a warm country the rising times will be shorter, about 2-2 1/2 hrs. at 80-85 F so check its progress after 1 hr. Don’t let the long process discourage you, it’s really very easy to make, however, patience is one of its ingredients.

    Dec 19, 2008 | 6:26 pm

  10. Katrina says:

    MM, off-topic, but I wasn’t sure if you’d see this if I left the comment in the relevant eyeball posts. I’ve FINALLY posted my photos from the eyeball. (My average is to post a month and a half after the event, but I’m trying to improve that terrible record.) Anyway, I hope you like the stories and pictures: http://lagkat.multiply.com/photos/album/115/When_pigs_flew…into_our_mouths

    Oh, and if you’re not used to Multiply, clicking on the thumbnail pictures makes them bigger, and also shows some additional descriptions I’ve included.

    Dec 19, 2008 | 6:44 pm

  11. chrisb says:

    I agree with MM’s sister that patience is a key ingredient in baking bread. One of my artisanal bread books goes as far as saying that one needs patience of pygmalion proportions to bake a good bread, panettone or pandoro in particular. Talk about bread love! I guess it’s true, the love one puts in baking will ultimately be apparent in the the final product. It is what makes the difference between artisanal/homebaked breads and commercial ones.

    Dec 19, 2008 | 7:57 pm

  12. Connie C says:

    Patience and the luxury of TIME!!! what a labor of love Sister. You too are one of a kind.
    A warm kItchen, a warm hearth and most of all a warm heart that shares the good things in life.



    Dec 19, 2008 | 8:56 pm

  13. Teresa says:

    Thanks again MM & Sister for sharing the recipe of one of my favorite holiday staple. I love panettone! Hubby hates it the same way he hates fruit cake lols We normally purchase panettone and I’m the only one in the household who eats it. I love to make french toast out of it too. With this recipe in hand, I can try my luck on making my own. I am always into home cooked food, and with the turn around of 2 days, this is one recipe that I just got to try especially this holidays. I’m so excited and I can’t wait to have a taste of this favorite break, out of my own hands lols Happy holidays and thank you once again for spreading the recipes :-)

    Dec 19, 2008 | 9:00 pm

  14. Aileen says:

    Thanks for sharing such a wonderful recipe, you are so generous. BTW, Where in Manila can we get candied orange, lemon and citron peel?

    Dec 19, 2008 | 9:03 pm

  15. sister says:

    Candied peel: Make it, it’s very easy,faster than going to the storeand cheaper. Save your peels in the freezer. When you have a lb. boil in water to cover 10 min. Cool. Scrape off half the white pith and any membranes. 1/4 inch dice or cut into thin strips. For every cup of cleaned peel add 3/4 c. sugar and 1 c. water. Simmer over low heat until translucent and sirup is reduced, about 25-30 min. Let cool. Next day if you still have thin sirup boil again for 5 min. do not allow to caramelize, watch closely, take off heat as soon as you have large bubbles. Store in fridge, drain before using, save sirup for currant cookie icing.

    Dec 19, 2008 | 9:20 pm

  16. Gina says:

    Hi MM and Sister. Can we have a photo of the panettone sliced? I’d like to see the ‘innards’ of all that golden goodness. Thanks.

    Dec 19, 2008 | 10:54 pm

  17. sister says:

    Gina, have to wait for my photographer to come over this weekend- my camera has been borrowed by my daughter in Boston.

    Dec 20, 2008 | 1:43 am

  18. san says:

    I had only tasted the store bought dry ones so I can not wait to try this one….got some lemons and oranges today ….I can start on the candied peels! Thank you!

    Dec 20, 2008 | 6:10 am

  19. sister says:

    Great, San, I hope it turns out well for you. sorry about not having pictures of the dough. But if you have made bread before just follow the instructions, they are pretty comprehensive.

    Dec 20, 2008 | 6:37 am

  20. sonia says:

    Sister — the photos are great and your instructions so specific – we cannot help but be egged on to try making panetonne and the candied citrus peels on our own.

    thank you for this, the recipe for sugar cookies and all other forthcoming recipes.

    happy holidays and thanks MM for sharing your sister with us all

    Dec 20, 2008 | 7:16 am

  21. sister says:

    Sonia, if you have any questions I will check this a couple of times a day and try to reply asap. Make sure you buy fresh, new yeast. If the sponge does not rise and fall throw it out and don’t waste the rest of the ingrdients.

    Dec 20, 2008 | 7:26 am

  22. sister says:

    Butter should be very soft and spreadable, lerave at room temp. 30 min. before using.

    Dec 20, 2008 | 7:29 am

  23. millet says:

    thanks, sister. have always loved panettone, but have only had the italian store-bought ones. this sounds like something i’d want to try after christmas, just in time for the new year!

    Dec 20, 2008 | 8:36 am

  24. corrine says:

    The problem with baking in the Manila is that it’s too hot here. When I bake something that has plenty of butter like scones, it becomes such a mess…becomes gooey. It’s impossible to cut the dough with cookie cutter! Any tips?

    Dec 20, 2008 | 8:16 pm

  25. Marketman says:

    corrine, try baking in the early morning hours, particularly during the Christmas season. Use a marble slab or counter which is cooler than the surrounding air temperature (I bought a 2.5 foot square marble slab for very little money and it works well. Also, an airconditioned room might help… Also, chill your stainless steel mixing bowls, and I also like to freeze the flour for at least 15-25 minutes before I start mixing ingredients…

    Dec 20, 2008 | 9:27 pm

  26. Gina says:

    Corrine, I had that exact same problem a few days ago when I made pie crust for the first time. Having seen a few pie-making segments on baking shows, I knew that one way to deal with the gooey mess was to roll the dough between wax paper. That helped tremendously. When the rolled dough stuck to the paper, I just put the whole thing in the fridge to chill until the flattened dough separated easily from the paper and could be transferred to the pie dish with ease. I was glad I resisted the temptation to add flour because the resulting crust was great, flaky and light and buttery; but for a while there it felt like I was battling with a very temperamental ingredient. Thanks, MM, for the very helpful tips! I shall chill the bowl and freeze flour next time.

    Dec 20, 2008 | 10:31 pm

  27. sister says:

    I understand the problem with baking in a hot kitchen, I find it next to impossible to make sugar cookies in MM’s kitchen. Freeze the rolled out dough, cut each sheet in half to limit exposure to hot room. Freeze your cookie sheets, it really helps. I hardly bake in the summer here in NYC. My kitchen has no radiator and I open the window and keep it at a cool 50 F, butter does not melt and I bake wearing a heavy sweater. Bread I proof on my dining table since the rest of the apt. is warmer at 70-75 F.

    Dec 20, 2008 | 11:33 pm

  28. sister says:

    Note: This has a spare amount of fruit so it rises better, you can increase the fruit to 1 lb. raisens and 1 lb. mixed candied peel and 1/3 c. rum if you like more fruit in it.

    Dec 20, 2008 | 11:38 pm

  29. marissewalangkaparis says:

    Thanks MM for the tips about chilling the mixing bowls. I always use stainless but sometimes encounter the “messy” dough. Also,now I will pop my flour into the freezer for 15-25 mins before. Wow great tips! I always do mine on a marble slab but it would bug me when it becomes sticky especially when I make several in succession(5-10). I usually hurry when I do the dough so its cool. Then I pop the dough into the freezer while I do the filling and also after I’ve laid it out on the pie plate.I’ve been doing a lot of pies for gifts lately and this advise is very useful. I love pies….Daghan salamat!!!
    Gina,I’ll try the wax paper technique too. Sometimes before I make pie,I put ice on the marble top and dry it up fast so it’s cool. I even switch off the counter lights to lessen heat. Now,it’ll give me some new techniques to try.Thanks everyone!!!

    Dec 21, 2008 | 2:11 pm

  30. Marketman says:

    marisse, and if all else fails, have an airconditioner installed in your kitchen. Extravagant, but it works. :)

    Dec 21, 2008 | 2:42 pm

  31. sister says:

    All of you making pies and referring to the crust as a “gooey mess” you are probably making a common mistake- adding too much water or rolling out warm dough or both. Chill pie crust dough 20 min before rolling out, in between wax paper, chill the rolled out dough stacked on a cookie sheet another 15 -20 min before peeling off the top sheet and inverting onto the pie pan. Then peel off remaining paper which will now be on top. Fill and add top crust, bake pie on a cookie sheet on the bottom shelf for 20 min at 425 F to brown bottom crust. Reduce oven temp to 375 F and bake until done. I make about three dozen pies at Thanksgiving so I had to develop an assembly line procedure.

    Dec 22, 2008 | 5:07 am

  32. corrine says:

    Wow, lots of useful tips! Thanks very much! I shall clip all these tips.

    Dec 22, 2008 | 9:04 pm

  33. tess says:

    Hi! I chanced upon this site after looking for a panetonne recipe. I’d like to give this a try. Would it be safe to scale all the ingredients down by the same factor if I were to make just half of the above yield?

    I admire your writing style, btw.


    Jan 11, 2009 | 9:30 am

  34. Marketman says:

    tess, I would imagine a half recipe would be fine…

    Jan 11, 2009 | 10:28 am

  35. sister says:

    Panettone is traditionally made with a natural starter, or biga, usually several years old and fed devotedly every day. But that is only practical for those who make bread every day. An artisanal bakery might be willing to share a piece with you. Using dry yeast is more practical for the occasional baker- it is less delicate in flavour than a biga but nevertheless makes a beautiful and delicious panettone.

    Jan 15, 2009 | 6:40 pm

  36. mia says:

    im sooo kilig to find this recipe from your site this time. i remember way back when i was craving hard for this bread but couldn’t trust other recipes on the net. my hunch is i’ll just waste time, effort and money. so i searched here but that time you had none. that explains the kilig factor.daghan salamat kaayo! in addition, is rum the best liquor for this bread? would you know what milanese use in an authentic pannetone?

    Dec 19, 2009 | 7:25 am

  37. sister says:

    Mia, Rum is the best liquid for soaking the fruit to make it tender without an overpowering after taste. Milanese pannetone is usually made with rum. If you cannot find golden raisins dark raisins are okay. You should be able to find all the other ingredients in the Phil. You may have to make the candied orange and lemon peels but that should be no problem.

    Jan 8, 2010 | 11:18 am

  38. sister says:

    If you have patience you can reduce the yeast to 2 packets or 41/2 tsp. dry yeast, longer slow rise improves the texture and flavour. Some panettone bakers stretch the process over 2 1/2 days, refrigerating the dough each time in a warm kitchen. Most important rise to watch in the one after forming the dough and placing it in the molds before baking. Do not allow to under or over rise. Dough will be a little over twice the original size, light and spongy and ready for baking.

    Dec 6, 2010 | 7:17 pm

  39. sister says:

    I doubt if any one reading this blog has tried to make this pannetone. There are many other more detailed explanations and recipes on the net, including how to make a “sweet biga” or sweet preferment that is not allowed to go acidic by feeding it every 4 hrs. for 2 days, best left to intense panettone makers, or a bakery.
    This recipe is actually a very simplified version for the home baker. I would recommend that you reduce the yeast to one packet only and start with one cup water and 11/2 c. flour, (about 1/4 the total amount)and feed the sponge three times, every 6 hours with an additional 1/4 of the total amount until you have a very lively sponge, done this way you do not have to refrigerate the dough if your kitchen is between 60-70 F.
    There are plenty of cheap panettones in the stores, sealed and zapped for endless shelf life. A home made pannetone will stay fresh for only a few days and is best frozen if you want to keep it. If anyone has attempted to make a pannetone please tell us about your experience!

    Dec 12, 2010 | 9:35 pm


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