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Italian Panettone {Easy Yummy Healthy Way}

by Shirley
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Italian Panettone {Easy Yummy Healthy Way}

Italian Panettone is made easy at home using organic ingredients. It features a golden yellow soft bread cake filled with raisins and dried apricots. The iconic sweet citrus smell and flavor are simply unstoppable.

I am always fond of Panettone, and used to wait for the entire year until Christmas to buy from the stores. Not anymore. With this recipe, I can surely enjoy an authentic, classic, and healthy Panettone anytime I want.

Since making Panettone takes a rather long time, I usually double or triple the recipe and make two to three at a time. Don’t get me wrong, the active working time is merely about 30 minutes and they are super easy steps too. The rest is just waiting. Quite like real-life circumstances, you do the right thing and then just have to be patient and wait, and let things pan out beautifully.

Italian Panettone {Easy Yummy Healthy Way}
Italian Panettone {Easy Yummy Healthy Way}

Milan Artisanal Panettone

Our family visited Milan Italy around Christmas time in 2022. That was when I learned so-called Italian Panettone is more specifically from Milan. Needless to say, I tried lots of Panettone while we were there.

Compared to my panettone, the ones I bought in Milan are generally taller. Nevertheless, it is a bit challenging to bake such a tall panettone in a regular residential oven. Therefore, I stick with my relatively shorter panettone. Nevertheless, the flavor and texture of my panettone are spot on, and super nutritious and healthy.

What do you need to make Italian Panettone easy and delicious at home?

Ingredients to make Italian Panettone easy yummy and healthy at home
Ingredients to make Italian Panettone easy yummy and healthy at home

This recipe starts with an overnight starter using organic all-purpose flour, active dry yeast powder, and water.

For the main dough, you will need additional organic all-purpose flour, active dry yeast and water. You will also need egg yolks, sugar, a pinch of salt, and butter. You can thank egg yolks for the golden yellow hue of the Panettone.

Regarding dried fruit, organic raisins and organic dried apricots work great together. For dried apricots, make sure you get all-natural sun-dried and unsulfured apricots.

Citrus blossom super extract is an all-natural flavor extract conveying this iconic sweet & pleasant citrus smell and flavor. I also use an additional sweet orange zest to further enhance the orange aroma. Use a citrus zester to help with the process.

How to make Italian Panettone easy, yummy and healthy at home?

The first is to make the an-overnight starter

Make a starter the night before. Form a small sticky dough using a bit of active dry yeast, cover it with a damp kitchen towel, and let it rest at room temperature overnight.

over-night starter and other ingredients for making Italian Panettone at home

Essential tip for using active dry yeast:

Dissolve active dry yeast in room temperature water first. Stir and let them fully dissolve so that the mixture turns into a smooth paste. This will ensure yeast will work out to the maximum strength. This is one of the key secrets for fluffy pork buns, red bean buns, and more. Never put the dry yeast powder into the flour directly.

Dry Active Yeast and water smooth paste
Dry Active Yeast and water smooth paste

Second is to make the main dough a stretchy dough first before adding yeast paste or butter

Make a smooth dough using the starter, organic all-purpose flour, water, a tiny pinch of salt and organic unrefined cane sugar. Cover it with a damp kitchen towel and let it rest at room temperature for about 2 hours. If the surrounding environment is super hot, say over 80 degrees Fahrenheit, you may only need less than 1 hour to complete the process.

This step helps fully activate protein molecules inside the flour. The dough becomes very stretchy and can wrap around your hands like gloves. This is one of my ultimate tips for soft bread.

Bread Making Tip No.1 - prepare a stretchy dough
Bread Making Tip No.1 – prepare a stretchy dough

The third is to work on the stretchy dough hardcore

Once you have the stretchy dough, spread the dough into a sheet and add the active dry yeast paste and softened butter in the middle. Fold the dough to wrap the yeast paste and butter inside.

You then press and knead the dough for a few minutes. Following that, use a dough cutter to chop down the dough into several small portions and then reinforce them together into one block. Do this a few times.

This step strengthens the bonding of the protein molecules, which ultimately leads to a more fluffy bread.

Bread Making Tip No. 2 - chop down the dough and force together a few times
Bread Making Tip No. 2 – chop down the dough and force it together a few times

At this point, you may feel the dough is still very sticky, and may also see some butter is not fully blended yet. Don’t worry. The following step of slapping dough shall take care of both situations.

Hold firmly one end of the dough and slap it hard against a hard surface, such as a granite countertop. Knead into a long roll and continue to slap until the dough becomes smooth and has absorbed all active dry yeast paste and butter along the way.

When making Milk Bread or Milk Bread Rolls, this step may only take about 5 minutes. For Panettone, since we use much more butter, it will take much longer, about 15-20 minutes.

The purpose of this is to further force the protein molecules to stretch out and smooth out, giving the bread that extra fluffy yumminess.

Bread Making Tip No.3 - Slap the dough hard against a hard surface
Bread Making Tip No.3 – Slap the dough hard against a hard surface

Fourth is to mix the dough with dried fruit and orange zest and let it rise

Once you have a super a smooth, soft and stretchy dough, fold in the dried fruits, orange zest and a tiny pinch of citrus blossom super extract. Knead to blend everything evenly.

soft stretchy dough and dried fruits for making Italian Panettone

Organize the dough into a ball shape and place into a round glass baking dish that was previously greased generously with coconut oil.

Let the glass dish stay within an enclosed area, either within microwave or oven, for up to 4 hours, or till it doubles its size.

Last but not least is to bake the Italian Panettone properly

Panettone is taller than most bread, which makes them more challenging to bake. Follow the below guidance and you shall bake a perfect Panettone with ease:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 F degree and bake for 10 minutes.
  • Reduce the temperature to 375 F degree and bake for another 10 minutes.
  • Reduce the temperature to 350 F degree and bake for 35 minutes.

Immediately remove the Panettone from the oven once the baking is done and let it cool on a wire rack.

freshly baked Italian Panettone on the wire rack

Let the Panettone cool down, and then use a knife slice along the edge of the glass dish to separate the Panettone. You can then release the Panettone fairly easily.

Enjoy a super yummy and healthy classic Italian Panettone.

Homemade Italian Panettone {Easy Yummy Healthy}
Italian Panettone {Easy Yummy Healthy Way}

Italian Milan Panettone {Easy Yummy Healthy Way}

Yield: 1 Panettone
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Additional Time: 16 hours
Total Time: 17 hours 35 minutes

Italian Milan artisanal Panettone made easy at home using organic ingredients. It features a golden yellow soft bread cake filled with raisins and dried apricots. The iconic sweet citrus smell and flavor are simply unstoppable.

Ingredients

For Starter:

  • 90 g all-purpose flour, organic preferred
  • 80 g water
  • 1/4 tsp active dry yeast powder

For Main Dough:

  • 300 g all-purpose flour, organic preferred
  • 54 g (1/2 bar) unsalted butter, softened, organic preferred
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 100 g water, see notes
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast powder
  • 75 g cane sugar, organic unrefined preferred
  • 1/4 tsp salt, Himalayan pink salt or sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp citrus blossom super extract

Filling:

  • 1 cup dried apricots, chop into small pieces,
  • 1 cup raisins, organic sundried & unsulfured preferred
  • 1 orange zest, optional

For Greasing the round glass baking ware:

  • 1/2 tsp coconut oil, virgin organic preferred

Instructions

Make an Over-Night Starter:

    Over-night starter for bread

  • Use a 2-cup glass measuring cup and measure out 80 g of water.
  • Add 1/4 tsp active dry yeast into a small bowl, and then add about 1/4 cup of water from the measuring cup. Stir and mix until the mixture turns into a smooth paste. Set aside.
  • Add 90 g organic all-purpose flour into a mixing bowl, and pour in the yeast paste you just made. Use the flour to scrape the bowl. Make a well in the middle, and gradually add the remaining water from the measuring cup while kneading, until you form a sticky dough.
  • Cover the mixing bowl with a damp kitchen towel and let it rest overnight at room temperature.

Make the Dough: Method 1 - Use the Stand Mixer

  • It is much easier and less labor intensive to make the dough using a Stand Mixer. It also saves at least 30 minutes of your time too. Nevertheless, please don't worry if you don't have the Stand Mixer. See Method 2 for how to make it manually. By the way, I used to make this manually all the time, thus totally doable.
  • Gather ingredients. Leave the butter at room temperature and get it softened. Add 100 g water to the 2-cup glass measuring cup. Add 2 tsp active dry yeast into a small bowl and then add about 1/4 cup of water from the glass measuring cup into the small bowl. Stir and mix until the whole thing turns into a smooth paste. Set aside.
    Panettone Ingredients
  • Add the overnight starter to the Stand Mixer bowl, along with the flour, sugar, salt and softened butter.
  • Seperate egg yolks from egg white using an egg separator and add the 4 egg yolks to the Mixer bowl.
  • Add rest of the water from the measuring cup to the Mixer bowl, as well as 1/4 tbsp citrus blossm super extract.
  • Use a silicone spatula to fold and blend everything in loosely. You don't have to spend a lot of the time mixing here, that's the Mixer's job. This step is just to help get the Mixer a jump start.
  • Attach the dough mixer to the Stand Mixer, turn the power to low, and let it run for 15 minutes. The dough initially is sticky, but toward the end, it becomes super stretchy, eslastic and smooth on the surface, and ahve a silky appearance.

Make the Dough: Method 2: Use Hands to Manually Work the Dough

  • Add 300 g organic all-purpose flour and 4 egg yolks into the bowl with the overnight starter. Also, add 75 g organic cane sugar, 1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt and 1/4 tsp citrus blossom super extract.
  • Make a well in the middle, and gradually add the remaining water from the measuring cup while kneading until you form a sticky dough. Add water slowly toward the end, it takes time for the flour to absorb the water.
    dough for Panettone
  • Cover the mixing bowl with a damp kitchen towel and let it rest at room temperature for 2 hours. If the surrounding environment is super hot, then it will require less than 2 hours.
    dough after 2 hours resting
  • The dough becomes super stretchy after the 2-hour resting.
    Stretchy dough for making bread
  • Spread out the stretchy dough on a clean surface, and add the yeast paste and the softened butter.
    spread out the stretchy dough and add active yeast paste and softened butter
  • Fold and wrap the dough around and then gently knead it into a block.
    work on the dough on Panettone - wrap the dough with yeast paste and butter
  • Chop the dough down into several portions using a dough cutter and then press to force them together. Do this a few times.
    work on the dough on Panettone - chop the dough and then force together
  • Grab one end of the sticky dough and slap it hard against a hard surface, such as a granite countertop.
    work on the dough on Panettone - slap the dough against a hard surface
  • Continue doing this for a bit more till the dough becomes somewhat stickily smooth. It doesn't have to be super smooth, as a matter of fact, a little bit sticky is great for soft Panettone. Use the dough cutter to gather everything together along the process.
    work on the dough on Panettone - slap the dough against a hard surface until form a smooth dough

Proof Panettone Dough:

  • Prepare dried fruit and orange zest. Cut the dried apricots into small pieces, similar size of a raisin. Use a citrus zester to zest one orange.
    soft stretchy dough and dried fruits for making Italian Panettone
    Use a citrus zester to zest an entire orange
  • Add the dried fruit and orange zest to the mixing bowl, blend, and knead until they are evenly distributed.
    Add dried fruits and citrus blossom super extract to the smooth dough for making Panettone
  • Grease the round glassware, and coat the bottom and sides generously with coconut oil using a silicone kitchen brush or silicone spatula.
    Coat the glassware with coconut oil
  • Organize the dough into a ball and place it in the middle of greased glassware.
    Soft dough with dried fruits for making Italian Panettone, before rise
  • Place it in an enclosed area, such as a microwave or oven to proof for about 2-4 hours, or till it doubles its size.
    Soft dough with dried fruits for making Italian Panettone, after rise to double the size

Bake Panettone:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 F. If you are using the oven to proof the dough, remember to take it out before preheating the oven.
  • Place the round glassware on the middle rack and bake for 10 minutes.
  • Reduce the temperature to 375 F and bake for another 10 minutes.
  • Reduce the temperature to 350 F and bake for 35 minutes.
  • All done. Remove the Panettone from the oven and let it cool on the wire rack.
    Freshly baked Panettone
  • Wait until it cools down to room temperature. Use a butter knife to slice around the edge of the glassware to help separate the bread from the baking ware. Gently grab and pull to release the Panettone from the glass baking ware. It should be fairly easy to remove thanks to the coconut oil.
  • Enjoy a slice of super yummy and healthy Italian Panettone! Perfect for breakfast, snack, or dessert.
    Homemade Italitan Panettone {Easy Yummy and Healthy}

Notes

  • I usually double the recipe and make 2 Panettones at a time. This recipe makes one panettone using a 7 1/4 inch diameter round glass dish. The round dish I use is about 3 1/4 inches tall, which is perfect.
  • For homemade Panettone, I generally opt out of using parchment paper, instead, using high heat-resistant nutritious coconut oil to grease the glass dish.
  • Besides the classic dried apricots and raisins as the fruit filling, I found out deglet noor dates work great too.
  • Depending on where you live and the humidity level, you may not need the entirety of the water to make the dough. Add water slowly to allow the flour to absorb the water.
  • Use a kitchen scale "TARE" function to measure incremental weight.

Recommended Ingredients:

Organic all-purpose flour, Active dry yeast, Organic butter unsalted, Organic cane sugar unrefined, Himalayan pink salt, Citrus blossom super extract, Organic raisins, Organic dried apricots

Recommended Kitchen Tools & Gadgets:

Mixing bowl, Kitchen towel, citrus zester, Kitchen Scale, 2-cup glass measuring cup, measuring spoon set, Chef's Knife, Round baking dish.

Nutrition Information
Yield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 354Total Fat 4gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 96mgSodium 59mgCarbohydrates 73gFiber 3gSugar 30gProtein 8g

Nutrition calculation is provided by Nutritionix to the best knowledge per ingredients description and isn't always accurate.

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