For these panettones I have used candied orange and dark chocolate chips for the filling and a touch of orange blossom aroma. This recipe is made with a pre-ferment that is prepared the day before using fresh yeast and without sourdough. The kneading process is done in 3 batches with 5 minute breaks between them and all using the stand mixer. The recipe is very simple, it simply requires a long wait between the different steps.
I’m pretty sure that it happens to many of you as it happened to me, I didn’t even want to hear about baking Panettone because for some reason I had in mind that it was too complicated a preparation. Finally, this year I have decided to get out of my comfort zone and face this sweet. I must confess that I have not done it of my own free will, I have been “driven” by some Italian friends who this summer brought me a package of Manitoba flour from Italy (I’ll explain later what this flour is)
And in the end, I realized that my fears were unfounded. My personal opinion is that this sweet is accompanied by a lot of secrecy and mysteries that make people think that it is difficult to make. And the truth is that it is not. I’m certainly not talking about a traditional recipe from a centuries-old bakery in Milan where they use sourdough and you know what kind of secrets. We don’t want to get in there, right? But without the intention of offending purists or Italians, there are simple and homemade recipes, like these, giving very, very acceptable results and in which the difference in quality with a purchased panettone is quite appreciated. And believe me, because I buy several every year and I know what I’m talking about. This homemade version is infinitely better than anything I’ve ever eaten before.
So to the question: is baking homemade panettone complicated? The answer is no. But only if you have a stand mixer or you train by doing weights 10 hours a week in the gym. Because what this dough needs is a lot of kneading. But really a lot! So that the gluten in the flour develops to the maximum for getting a super elastic dough. As I mentioned before, it takes time, a lot of time. Many hours for the preferment to be created and several hours of waiting between raising the dough. But that’s it, you don’t have to be a pastry genius to do it if you follow the steps carefully.
Another thing that is important is the flour that you use. And this brings me to talking about Manitoba flour. Manitoba flour is a variety of soft wheat flour (Triticum aestivum) valued for its high protein content, while being highly refined (type 00), which makes it ideal for long-fermented bakery products, such as Panettone, bread or Pandoro. The main characteristic of this flour is that it contains a large amount of insoluble proteins (glutenin and gliadin) which, in contact with a liquid during the kneading phase, produce gluten. Therefore, it is a flour rich in gluten and poor in starch. And the more gluten produced during kneading, the better our panettone will be.
If you do not find it, although I know that it is sold in various parts of the world, you can use bread flour. Although in theory, it does not have the same protein content as Manitoba.The best way to choose in this case would be to look at the W factor of the flour you are going to buy. The greater bread flour is usually between 300 – 350.
As for the filling, you can use whatever you like the most. And the same applies to aromas. I have used orange blossom but you can substitute it for rum, vanilla, almond … And my favorite filling is orange and chocolate, but you can use only chocolate, hydrated raisins, assorted candied fruits, nuts, whatever you want !!
Finally, another peculiarity of Panettones is the pans where you baked them. The paper capsules that I have used to make 2 ½ kg panettone. Obviously, you can make a single 1 kg panettone or use a specific Panettone metal pan, but I only recommend using this if you are going to make them every year, otherwise I don’t think it’s worth the investment.
Easy orange chocolate Panettone (using mixer and without sourdough)
For these panettones I have used candied orange and dark chocolate chips for the filling and a touch of orange blossom aroma. This recipe is made with a pre-ferment that is prepared the day before using fresh yeast and without sourdough. The kneading process is done in 3 batches with 5 minute breaks between them and all using the stand mixer.
- FOR THE DOUGH STARTER:
- 42g fresh baker's yeast
- 185 ml warm water
- 180 g Manitoba flour (or bread flour if you can't find it)
- FOR THE PRE-FERMENT:
- 45 g butter (at room temperature)
- 30 g sugar
- 2 eggs
- 135 g of Manitoba flour (or bread flour if you can't find it)
- FOR THE FINAL DOUGH:
- 90 g butter (at room temperature)
- 90 g sugar
- 1 egg
- 3 yolks
- scent of orange blossom
- zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
- 270g of Manitoba flour (or bread flour if you can't find it)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 100 g chocolate chips
- 100 g of candied orange, chop into small pieces
- Egg wash (to paint)
- 10 g butter (for the surface before entering the oven)
To prepare the dough starter, in a medium bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the flour and lightly mix the ingredients until just combined. Cover the bowl with transparent film and leave to ferment for 30 to 60 minutes until doubled in size. The time it takes to ferment will depend as always on the ambient temperature.
When the starter has doubled in size, you can start preparing the pre-ferment. To do this, mix the butter with the sugar in a large bowl until it is creamy. You can use the bowl of the mixer with the rods. Add the eggs and beat until the dough is smooth. Incorporate all of the starter mixture and mix until just combined. Add the flour and mix until there are no lumps. Cover the bowl with a film or cloth and let it ferment until it triples in size. You can leave it overnight in the fridge, which is what I have done, the next morning it will have tripled in size and will be ready to use.
To prepare the final dough, in the bowl of the stand mixer with the rod attachment, mix the butter with the sugar for 3 minutes. Add the egg and yolks and beat on medium speed for 3 more minutes. Add the aroma of orange blossom and the zest and beat for 1 more minute.
Add the pre-ferment to the mixture and beat for 2 minutes at medium speed. Swap to the hook attachment. Add the flour and salt and knead on low speed for 10 minutes.
Let the dough rest for 5 minutes. Knead again at slow speed for 10 minutes. Let the dough rest a second for 5 minutes. Now it is time for the last kneading for 10 more minutes, also at low speed.
Add the chocolate chips and the candied orange and knead for another 5 minutes, until everything is well distributed. With these kneading times it is almost certain that the gluten has developed perfectly in the dough, if you want to be totally sure do the membrane test on the dough.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Brush a clean bowl with oil and dip your hands in a little oil before handling the dough. Fold the dough into an envelope shape and put it in the bowl you just greased. Let the dough rise in the covered bowl until doubled in size. At room temperature, it can take up to 2 hours. If you want it to go faster, you can turn the oven to 50 ° C, turn it off and put the bowl inside. This will speed up the fermentation time a bit.
When the dough has doubled in size, turn it over onto a floured surface, knead it lightly with your hands so that it loses its air a bit, and divide it into two equal parts. Form a ball with each of them and place them in the panettone paper cups.
Let the dough ferment again until it reaches the edge of the paper cups. Again you can use the oven off technique, as before or do it at room temperature. When the dough has about 2 cm to go to the edge, preheat the oven with only low heat to 170 ° C
Just before putting them in the oven, brush the surface with egg wash, make a cross cut with a very sharp blade or knife and place 5 grams of butter in the center of each cross.
Bake the Panettones for 5 minutes at 170 ° C with heat only below, and after those 5 minutes change the oven to heat up and down (without fan!) Bake for another 30 or 35 minutes, until they are well browned on the surface.
Remove from the oven, pierce the panettone with skewers and place them to cool upside down. If they are not cooled like this, the Panettone could shrink as they are very delicate.
Store Panettones in a well-sealed plastic bag if they are not to be consumed immediately. In a tightly closed bag, they last several days (up to 2 weeks).