Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Panettone with Wild Yeast #BBB


At last, an excuse to make something that has been on my to-make list for quite some time!  This month our Bread Baking Babes have made Panettone.  This Italian sweet bread is a production to make authentically, taking several days to build and proof.  I have never tried the purchased versions I have seen in the shops in cardboard boxes and now having made one, I am curious if I would be disappointed by the commercial version.  Probably.  This bread (let's be honest, this is a cake, just a yeasted one), is totally amazing.  Looking at pictures, I figured it would probably be dry, but after choosing to go the longer route of making a "sweet" stiff starter, this bread turned out anything but dry!  You can see from the picture that I didn't let it cool completely and so it slumped just a little, but oh my wow.  Seriously, it tasted like a fruited sponge cake.  Totally moist and quite decadent.  (Actually, turning any stale leftovers into french toast is like making instant bread pudding in a fry pan.  Amazing.)


Let it cool completely so the structure doesn't collapse!

Completely cooled before slicing.
Nice and tall.

I did go for a different recipe than the shorter King Arthur based version that our host kitchen presented.  My only problem was not measuring my molds and finding out only at the end of proofing that I had divided the dough for the smaller molds I ordered and not the larger ones they actually sent me.  I caught the mistake in time to prevent overproofing, but ended up with shorter loaves instead of the crowning dome and mushroom top of the traditional loaf that would have presented had I made only two instead of three.  Oh darn.  Guess I will have to make more...  Might try the KA version, but I did so love how Alumni Babe Susan's turned out that I don't know if I could ever make a different one.  Be warned, there is no skipping steps or speeding things up with the method I chose.  It is chock full of butter, sugar, and liquid.  But with the correct application of extensive mixing and gluten development, I was blown away at how a batter-like, super enriched dough could still hold structure.  Here are Susan's notes on the matter:


  • Panettone requires a very disciplined mixing technique. If you’re not willing to be patient with the mixing, don’t bother.
  • Butter and sugar require strong gluten to support them. However, those thankless little ingredients also do everything they can to impede the development of that gluten, as does water. Therefore, these three things are mixed into the dough in a specific and controlled way.
  • Initially, the dough is mixed using only a fraction of the water, and none of the sugar and butter. Then the sugar is added slowly, in several increments, and the dough is further mixed until the gluten is fully developed. Only then is the butter incorporated, and only after that is the remaining water added.
  • This takes at least 30 minutes and on occasion has approached an hour.
  • When the dough is properly mixed and the gluten fully developed, you should be able to stretch it into a very thin, very smooth, translucent “windowpane.”
  • I am not kidding. Really. Seriously. Trying to hurry it along will only backfire and you’ll be mixing for three or four times as long. Don’t ask me how I know this.


You can see that the dough is sticky, but also the long strings of gluten.  If you didn't mix it per the directions given, it would be soup.

Then of course after the bulk proof, it looks rather unappetizing in its loose pile of dough and fruit.  But then it perks up nicely with some judicious tucking/folding.

That formless blob of dough shapes up beautifully and can be quickly transferred to the waiting mold.  Just make sure to measure your mold so you use the correct quantity of dough!  I used 500 instead of 750 because I ordered 5¼" molds and was sent 6" molds.  Makes a big difference volumetrically.

One other difference in the recipes is the use of a "glaze" in the Wild Yeast version.  It's amazing, crispy crunchy, even though I got Belgian instead of Swedish pearl sugar and had to break it up with my mortar and pestle.  I might use just a pinch of cocoa powder as my glaze seemed darker than Susan's, and I recommend a ½-1 tsp addition of water to make it easier to brush on the tops of the loaves.  But I would also try the quarter snip on the top of a loaf with a pat of butter tucked in next time as an alternate option.  I personally would forgo the blanched almonds on top as they are just hard to find.  I did add a few slivered almonds to one loaf instead.

Any way you slice it, Panettone is delicious.  I did make my own candied peel, being very disappointed in any purchased versions I have tried.  It's pretty easy and quite delicious, not to mention that you end up with a lovely citrus infused simple syrup!

We would love to have you try out this specialty bread with us this month and share how it turned out!  Will you try the easier overnight version or foray into building up a stiff starter and go for the Wild Yeast version?  New recipes are posted every month on the 16th. Check out our Facebook group to see the participants' baking results during that time.  If you would like to post your results with a Buddy badge on a blog, let us know in the comments or on the Facebook page.

Below is the easier King Arthur version that I think most of our bakers used, the version I made can be found here.

makes 1 loaf
(Bake in 2 quart sauce pan)

    ¾ cup (90g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
    1/16 teaspoon (just a pinch) instant yeast
    1⁄3 cup (74g) cool water


    all of the starter (above)
    2¼ cups (270g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
    ¼ cup (57g) lukewarm water
    2 large eggs
    4 tbsp (57g) butter, softened
    ½ tsp Fiori di Sicilia flavoring OR 1 tsp vanilla + 1⁄8 tsp orange oil
    2¼ tsp SAF Gold instant yeast or 1 tbsp instant yeast
    1¼ tsp (8g) salt
    1⁄3 cup (67g) granulated sugar
    ½ cup (85g) golden raisins
    ½ cup (64g) slivered dried apricots
    ½ cup (85g) dried cranberries
    ½ cup (71g) chopped dried pineapple
    2 tbsp (28g) orange zest (grated rind) or lemon zest (grated rind)


1.  To make the starter: Combine starter ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl, cover and allow to rest overnight (8-12 hours).

2.  To make the dough: Combine all of the dough ingredients except the fruit and zest.  Mix and knead them together by hand, mixer or bread machine until you've achieved a soft, smooth dough.

3.  Allow the dough to rise, covered, for 1 to 1½ hours, or until the dough is puffy but not necessarily doubled in bulk.

4.  Gently deflate the dough and knead in the fruits and zest. (Soak fruits in hot/boiling water to soften. Drain before adding them)

5.  Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a panettone pan or other straight-sided, tall 1½-2-Qt pan. Cover the pan and let the dough rise until it's just crested over the rim of the pan, about 1 hour.  (It is helpful to line the pan with parchment paper.)

6.  Bake the bread in a preheated 400°F oven for 10 minutes; reduce the oven heat to 375°F and bake an additional 10 minutes; then reduce the heat to 350°F and bake for 25 to 35 minutes, tenting with aluminum foil if the crust appears to be browning too quickly. Panettone should be a deep brown when done, should sound hollow when tapped, and will read 190°F at the center using a digital thermometer.

7.  Remove the panettone from the oven and cool completely. Store at room temperature, well-wrapped, for up to a week; freeze for longer storage.

 The rest of the Bread Baking Babes


Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Honeyed Spelt and Oat Levain #BreadBakers

We are heading toward year's end with a Harvest themed bake!  There are usually some things in season all the time, and it just depends on where you are what that particular commodity happens to be.  Cold crops can go through winter depending on your setup.  We are right at the end of apple harvest here in Puget Sound.  Incidentally, I did not choose apples this month, but if you want a fantastic apple yeast bread, go check this one out!  I went with honey and grains, which technically finished up a month or so ago, but that means supplies are very readily accessible and fresh right now.  We have a number of fairly local graineries and lots of very local honey options.  My folks have finally decided they are getting too old to deal with cumbersome and heavy hives anymore, so no more gallons of amazing free honey for me, boo hoo!  We will ration out what remains of the last harvests.  Honey lasts for centuries.

I've made this loaf before and we love it.  Crispy crust and lovely, chewy and moist crumb.  It has a semi-sticky dough with the fresh ground spelt, lightly sifted. It's a leisurely dough built and formed over a couple days.  I actually bumped up the salt a few grams because of the sweetness of the honey.  This is not a salty loaf.  The flavor of the grains will come out especially when baked until the crust is nicely caramelized.  It is delightful fresh and then wonderful toasted.  My kids particularly love it on the first day with the crispy crust and soft, chewy crumb.

This recipe is flexible on timing and can be done in a day, but the flavor is always better with the overnight rest in the fridge.  I have made this with both spelt and emmer and really love the rich, nutty flavor of the spelt.  Emmer is a somewhat coarser whole grain and the gluten is more likely to be cut by the bran while kneading, resulting in a tighter crumb.  Still tasty though!


Honeyed Spelt and Oat Levain
makes 2 loaves or one large boule

Leaven (starter):
30g 100% hydration starter
40g water
40g whole spelt flour

140g rolled oats
275g boiling water

Final Dough:
110g leaven
245g water
all the soaker
45g honey
105g whole spelt flour
445g bread flour
14g salt

Build the starter leaven 8 to 10 hours before making the dough.  Stir together the starter and water in a bowl until it is broken up. Add the flour and mix until smooth. Cover and let proof at room temperature. While that is set aside, make the soaker by measuring out the oats and adding the boiling water. Cover and let sit until ready to make the final dough.

Once the starter leaven is active and puffy, add the water for the dough, soaker, and honey, and stir to combine. Add the flours and mixed by hand until all the flour has been hydrated and there are no lumps remaining. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes. Sprinkle the salt over the dough and then thoroughly mix in with your hands. Cover and let proof for 3 to 4 hours, turning and folding every 30 to 45 minutes.

Divide and pre-shape the dough once it is puffy and almost doubled in size after turning out onto a well-floured surface. Cover and let it rest for 10 to 30 minutes.  Form the loaves into the final desired shape and place on a well floured couche or banneton.  Cover and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours.

Remove the loaves from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature. While the loaves are warming, preheat the oven and baking stone to 500°F.  Once the oven has preheated and stabilized, gently turn the loaves out onto a parchment lined baking peel. Score the loaves as desired and place about 75 to 80 g of hot water into an oven safe dish.  Place the water dish on the rack below the baking stone. Spray the walls of the oven with water, taking care to avoid the light bulb, and slide the loaves onto the hot baking stone. Immediately shut the door and bake for 2 to 3 minutes. Open the door and very quickly spray the walls again with water. Shut and bake for 5 to 7 minutes before turning the heat down to 450° F.  Bake for another 20 to 30 minutes until the crust is a deep, dark brown and the loaf sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom. It should be between 200 to 205° F inside when fully baked.  Allow to cool fully on a rack before slicing.

Made with emmer.

Made with spelt.

Brilliant nutty flavor from the spelt.

Be sure to check out the rest of our bakes:


 #BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.