The history of Panettone is uncertain, but one legend describes a Milanese baker named Toni who had a beautiful daughter. A young nobleman wanted to marry his daughter so disguised himself as a baker, and baked this special sweet bread filled with raisins and candied fruit peels to win the father’s approval. The two young people married, and meanwhile the sweet bread made Toni’s bakery famous, and was named “pan de Toni” or, Toni’s bread.
Tip: Various molds can be used, including paper Panettone molds which can be purchased from kitchen shops. Since you bake and serve right from the paper mold, they are great for gift giving. Other molds are a Charlotte pan, a 2 cup coffee can, a crock pot liner, a terra cotta pot, or another deep mold that is about 6 inches tall and 8 inches wide, or a round baking pan with a parchment paper sleeve added to make the pan higher.
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- ¼ cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 package active dry yeast
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 4 large egg yolks, room temperature
- ½ cup warm milk (110 to 115 degrees) (preferably whole milk)
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 3½ to 3¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for work surface
- ⅔ cup raisins
- ½ cup candied citrus peel (lemon or orange, or a combination of both)
- 2 tablespoons grated orange zest (1 orange)
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (1 lemon)
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine warm water, sugar, salt, and yeast; stir and let sit until yeast is dissolved, about 10 minutes. Add flour, stir until mixture is smooth. Cover bowl with a towel or plastic wrap and let sponge rise is a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours or, cover and let rise overnight at room temperature, 8 to 12 hours.
- In a large bowl, combine butter and sugar; stir together until mixed. Add eggs and egg yolks; beat until thoroughly mixed. Add sponge mixture, warm milk, and vanilla; stir until well mixed. Add 2 cups flour; stir until well mixed. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
- Turn dough onto a lightly floured pastry mat or pastry board; knead dough until smooth and elastic, 6 to 8 minutes, adding additional flour 1 tablespoon at a time if dough is too sticky.
- Place dough in a well greased bowl; turn dough over once to grease the top. Cover bowl with a small kitchen towel and let dough rise is a warm place until doubled in size, 2 to 3 hours.
- While dough is rising, prepare fruit. Plump the raisins by steaming with a double boiler; steam the raisins about 1 minute or until softened. Thoroughly drain, or spread the raisins on paper toweling to dry. Tip: Create a double boiler by filling a saucepan with 2 inches of water and bringing it to a simmer. Place a steamer or plastic or wire mesh colander on top of the simmering water, the upper pan should not touch the water.
- In a small bowl, combine the drained raisins, citrus peel, orange zest and lemon zest. Set aside.
- Prepare one 8 cup Panettone mold. Lightly grease the mold with shortening. If using a paper Panettone mold, place the mold on a baking sheet.
- Punch risen dough down then turn onto a lightly floured pastry mat or pastry board. Add fruit and knead the fruit into the dough, knead only until the dough accepts the fruit and appears to be evenly distributed throughout the dough. Form the dough into a ball and place in the prepared Panettone mold. Cover and let dough rise is a warm place until doubled in size, 2 to 3 hours. Tip: Let the dough rise a little higher than the mold to get a nice mushroom shape.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Bake: Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and continue baking for 30 minutes or until bread is a golden brown and a long toothpick or wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven. Place pan on a wire cooling rack to cool.