Whew! What an arduous process this lovely looking Panettone required. I must confess, I've never been a big fan of Panettone. It always seems so dry and a lot of work... Not to mention that I dislike baking with anything orange flavored.
So....I've been kind of dreading this weeks baking...hard to believe I know, as I love baking, but the ROI has never been there for me with Panettone.
As I suspected, the Panettone required a lot of steps, (check out my fellow bakers outlines, and humorous methods of planning!) but I have to admit that I enjoyed a piece of it this evening and it's quite lovely. I'm not sure if I'll make it again, but for anyone who's a big fan of Panettone, I think they would find this to be a winner.
You first start with a biga nearly one week before you bake the bread. It was a little confusing as I expected to see this glorious bubbling sea of flour and yeast, but instead it looked like the lump below. I questioned myself for hours, before I just decided to go with it.
While the biga brewed for 3 days, I worked on making candied orange peel. Luckily my neighbor has an orange tree sagging with at least 50 ripe oranges, so no trip to the store required and the oranges are organic and incredibly fresh. I used the typical water and sugar, but added some vanilla paste to boost the flavor a little. Tossed them in a little sugar in the end, and they were a hit with my husband. :)
I've lost track of the number of times I punched down, folded and rolled the dough, but it was several over a couple days. I've read this recipe so many times the book is now automatically opening to this recipe. Perhaps I should have mapped everything out like my co-bakers, but like everything else in life, I flew by the seat of
my pants...that's just how I roll. (Que the eye rolling from my family) ;)
When you don't really like orange, this seems like an incredible amount of orange peel to put in the dough, but I must admit that it's not completely overwhelming. I must also admit that I skipped the recommended orange oil, but added a very nice pear brandy along with substituting dried pineapple for the raisins. Adding raisins would have been a 100% guarantee that nobody in the house, except me would have even dared to taste this lovely bread.
After folding a couple times to distribute the fruit, and refrigerating a few times, it was time to shape the dough in a ball and place in the Panettone paper. The paper looks a little frumpy because I had to dig it out of a box still unpacked from our move.
To aid in the proofing process, I placed it in the microwave with a cup of boiling water and allowed it to remain till fully proofed.
I forgot to take a picture, but I cut an 'x' in the top and placed in the oven on a hot baking pan lined with parchment. Baking time was a total of 65 minutes with an internal temp of 190 degrees. Can you tell I was amazed by the height! I wish that I had cut the 'x' a little larger to allow the top to open up more, but I was a little concerned that it might collapse.
Rather than drizzle chocolate on top, I went for the dipping method. Chocolate and orange are just not appealing to me. I never turn away a chocolate bar, except if it contains orange. It will sit in my pantry for months, or even years before I would ever eat that bad boy. Just yuck!
If I ever have to make Panettone again, which I hope there isn't another one in the Baking Bible! (sorry Rose) I would definitely use this recipe. (but, shhh, I might condense some of the steps into a few days). I don't want to me known as someone who can't follow directions. :)
I think the final product has a nice crumb and is quite moist, which seems to be the complete opposite of those you can purchase in nearly every store in the US around Christmas time.
Now, off to bed. I've started doing an exercise class on Tuesdays to ward off the hundreds of calories I now consume on Mondays testing the final product. It's so worth it!