Prep Time : 45 Minutes | Cook Time : 40 Minutes | Total Time : 4 hours | Difficulty : Moderate
I love the aromatic flavours of Panettone but I don’t have the patience for hours on end of rising and hanging the loaf upside down and all the other hallmarks of the real thing so I created this rich brioche loaf which captures the delicious vanilla and citrus flavours with a lot less effort. While it’s denser than a traditional Panettone it’s packed with flavour and super satisfying especially toasted and spread with butter!
It’s much easier to make this dough in a stand mixer, but it can be done by hand if you are patient and resist the urge to add flour while kneading. Measure out the flour and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer and set aside. Measure out the citrus peel and other fruit and toss with a tablespoon of the flour in a small bowl. We won’t add the fruit until later because it can interfere with the gluten when kneading. Slice the vanilla bean lengthways and scrape out the seeds. Put the seeds and the pod into the milk and heat gently until its warm when you dip your finger in it.
Take the milk off the heat, fish out the vanilla pod and stir in the sugar until it’s dissolved. Sprinkle the yeast over the milk and leave to froth. Melt the butter and whisk the eggs into it with a fork. Whisk the butter and egg mixture into the frothy yeasty milk until combined.
Set the mixer going on low and let it run for 10 seconds or so to make sure the salt is distributed in the flour. Slowly pour in the liquid and mix on the lowest speed for 3-4 minutes. If you are kneading by hand spend at least five minutes on it. Turn the mixer off and let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Set the mixer going again for 3-4 minutes on the second speed.
It’s easiest to add the fruit by hand so scrape the dough – it will be soft and sticky – onto a lightly floured bench and press out kind of flat and pile the fruit on top. Fold the dough on itself to trap the fruit inside then knead gently for about 30 seconds, stretching and folding as you go to distribute the fruits.
Place the dough in a greased bowl loosely covered with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place until it’s doubled in size – it will take at least an hour.
Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured bench and gently press the gas out with your fingers. Fold the dough in thirds from left to right, then in thirds from top to bottom. Leave it to rest for 10 minutes.
Turn the dough over so the smooth side is on top and smooth the corners around and under so the dough is nice and round. Place the dough in a high sided 6-7 inch round cake tin or in a 6 inch paper Panettone mould. Leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size or slightly more.
When the dough is ready for baking, brush the top with a little milk and slash the top with a cross using a sharp serrated knife or razor blade. Lightly oil the blade to prevent it from sticking to the interior of the dough.
Bake at 180C (350F) for 40 minutes – the crust will be quite dark and it should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom (the centre should register 85C or 185F degrees on an instant read thermometer). If you are using a paper mould, sit the bread in a shallow baking dish in the oven to insulate the base a little. You may need to cover the top with a foil hat if it’s browning very quickly – do not be tempted to pull the loaf from the oven too soon as the centre will be not be cooked – a lesson I learned the hard way!
Leave the loaf to cool completely before cutting into wedges and serving with coffee and champagne for Christmas brunch!
Prep Time : 45 mins | Cook Time : 40 mins | Total Time : 4 hours | Difficulty : Moderate | Makes : 1 loaf
The cheat’s version of the classic Italian bread.
- 450 gm | 16 oz | 2 3/4 cups bread flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 100 gm | 3.6 oz | 1/2 cup diced candied peel
- 75 gm | 2.7 oz | 1/2 cups raisins/currants/sultanas
- 250 ml | 8.9 fl oz | 1 cup milk
- 1 vanilla bean
- 50 gm | 1.8 oz | 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 1\2 tsp active dried yeast
- 100 gm | 3.6 oz | 1 stick minus 1 tbsp butter
- 3 large egg yolks
Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Toss the peel and other fruit in a tablespoon of the flour and set aside. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add the seeds and pod to the milk then warm over a low heat to blood temperature (warm when you dip your finger in). Remove the vanilla pod and mix in the sugar until dissolved. Sprinkle over the yeast and leave to froth. Melt the butter and whisk into the egg yolks with a fork. Mix the egg and butter mixture into the yeast and milk mixture.
Mix the wet ingredients into the flour and salt and either knead for 5 minutes by hand or on the lowest setting of a stand mixer for 3-4 minutes. Leave to rest for 10 minutes. Knead for an additional 5 minutes or 3-4 minutes on the second setting of a stand mixer.
Remove the dough from the mixer (if using) and pat out kind of flat. Tip the fruit onto the dough and fold the dough over the fruit. Pat it out and fold it a few more times to distribute the fruit then knead for about 30 seconds. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place until doubled in size.
Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat down gently to remove most of the gases. Fold the dough in thirds from the side, and then in thirds again from the top. Leave to rest for 10 minutes. Turn over the dough so the smooth side is up and gently shape into a round. Place the dough into a deep 6-7 inch round cake pan or a 6 inch paper panettone mould. Leave in a warm place to rise until at least doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Brush the top of the loaf with milk and slash with a cross using a sharp serrated knife or razor blade. If using a paper mould sit the loaf in a shallow baking dish to insulate the base slightly. Bake for 40 minutes, the crust will be quite dark and the loaf will sound hollow when tapped on the base. If the crust is getting over-dark during baking cover with foil for the remainder of cooking.
Leave to cook completely before cutting into wedges to serve.
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