Bread

Homemade Pannetone

Today was quite the day for baking disasters.

We all have them, right?  Please tell  me you do….. My mojo was off from the minute I got up. I should have stopped while I was ahead, but…… didn’t.

Rule #1: Know your limits.

I hit mine today, that is for certain. After J and I did double shots of wheat grass juice this morning (which left me feeling a little bit like Elsie the Cow, the grassy aftertaste was soooo strong…), I attempted to make a loaf of Iced Lemon Bread.

I had a sneaking suspicion that something was amiss with the recipe, as the batter was very thin. Sure enough, after 40 minutes of baking, the center had sunk and the edges were almost burnt.

not good.

To assuage my guilt at throwing that loaf into the trash, I then attempted a new buttermilk biscuit recipe which promised “sky high” results.

Sky high? More like like bargain basement….

I almost wish I had taken a picture, for they were as flat as pancakes. Actually, my pancakes have more height than these did. I was so disgusted, I threw them into the trash and then called it a day.

IMG_9151

So when the inevitable “what’s for dinner?” question arose this evening, J looked at me and said, “Let’s order pizza.”

I think he’s trying to tell me something.

Side note: Pannetone is something I have wanted to make for many, many years. It’s quite an involved process, definitely not something you can rush. This version was a bit heavier than the store bought variety, but well worth every bit of time and effort. The leftover slices are stashed in the freezer, as they will make an outstanding base for bread pudding.

Pannetone – adapted from Gale Gand

For biga

  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

To start dough

  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups flour

To finish dough

  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 9 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 20 tablespoons (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mixed candied fruit (such as glacéed cherries and citron, orange, or lemon peel), diced
  • 1 cup golden raisins

    In bowl of standing mixer fitted with dough hook, combine 1/3 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F) and sugar. Stir in yeast. Let stand until yeast dissolves, about 5 minutes. Add flour and mix at low speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise in warm, draft-free place until tripled in volume, about 3 hours. (Can be made 5 days ahead. Stir down starter, cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before using.)

    Start dough:
    In small bowl, stir together 1/4 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F) and yeast. Let stand until yeast dissolves, about 5 minutes. Attach bowl containing biga to standing mixer fitted with dough hook, pour in yeast mixture, and mix at low speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Add egg yolks, sugar, and flour and mix at medium speed until shiny and smooth, about 5 minutes. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise in warm, draft-free place until tripled in volume, about 3 hours.

    Finish dough and bake bread:
    Attach bowl containing dough to standing mixer fitted with dough hook and add flour, egg yolks, milk, honey, 1/4 cup sugar, and 10 tablespoons butter. Mix at medium speed until blended, about 3 minutes, then add salt, vanilla, and remaining sugar. Mix at medium speed until well blended, about 5 minutes more.

    With mixer running, add remaining 10 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon at time. (Dough will become smooth and shiny and will pull away from sides of bowl.) Add candied fruit and raisins and mix until blended, about 1 minute. Form dough into ball and transfer to large bowl. Cover with clean kitchen towel and let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in volume, about 3 hours.

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 2 (8-inch) or 8 (3 1/2-inch) paper panettone molds. Punch down dough, then turn out onto work surface. Divide dough into 2 pieces and form each into ball. (If using small molds, divide dough into 8 small balls.) Place 1 ball in each mold. Cover with clean kitchen towel and let rise in warm, draft-free place until dough has risen past the rim and springs back when poked, about 1 hour.

    Bake until golden brown, about 45 to 50 minutes. To cool, stick 2 skewers through base of each mold and suspend bread upside down by resting skewers on 2 containers taller than bread. (This helps keep bread from deflating during cooling.)

    When loaves are cool, wrap well in plastic wrap, then in parchment or tissue paper. Store at room temperature.

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