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Daring Bakers: Panettone

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Wayward Oven
The December 2012 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by the talented Marcellina of Marcellina in Cucina. Marcellina challenged us to create our own custom Panettone, a traditional Italian holiday bread.
I was all ready to participate when the challenge was announced, but as the posting date got closer, my enthusiasm started to wane.
The process of making the panettone, according to the recipe Marcellina provided, is long and with several steps to the process. Now, although I would usually attempt any recipe that interests me no matter how complicated or time-consuming, I just couldn't get my head into the game this time. Until Saturday – two days after the posting date. 
I made mini panettones (panettoni) but I have to admit that they were an afterthought. See, I had made some rich sweet, eggy, buttery dough for a loaf that is based on the panettone recipe in Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day. The dough was meant for a bread for another baking group I participate in, but there was a lot of it, so I took part of it, mixed in the glacé/dried fruit I had and baked the panettoni in mini cake cardboard liners.
The Wayward Oven
Not everyone will be familiar with winter melon. The gourd has a green skin and looks like a cucumber except it's fatter on one end. As a fresh vegetable, it's used a lot in soups; in candied form, it is one of the main ingredients in sugee (semolina) cake.
These glacé fruits are some of my favourites, but the downside is that the colours are quite pale so they don't show up well in the buns. The pop of flavours makes up for the lack of colour though. You would think that there was too much going on in the taste – the heat from the ginger, the sourness of citrus and pineapple, a honey sweetness from the winter melon, the brightness of the raisins – but it works. The only complaint I got was that there was too much fruit. I'll remember that next time. The sugar crust, from Dan Lepard's recipe in The Guardian but with an added touch of corn syrup, got the thumbs up. There's a good crunch to it.
The Wayward Oven
Oh, did I mention that the panettoni are leavened with sourdough starter? The dough came together easily, but took a long time to rise and only slightly at that. I was disappointed but baked them anyway.
And what a surprise I got when the buns plumped up in the oven! The dough wasn't evenly distributed between the boxes so there is a difference in sizes but the bigger ones can serve two.
The recipe for the sourdough-leavened dough will be posted on Jan 20 with the other bread I made.


  1. Look delicious! I would add the darker black raisins for color if I make these:) the winter melons sounds like a great idea for extra sweetness! Happy New Year to you!

  2. Awesome job! Your panettone look awesome! (And Now I cannot wait until the 20th!! Haha)

  3. I had the pleasure of eating this and they were awesome!


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