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Sourdough Panettone

sourdough panettone
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Sourdough Panettone is one of my favourite Christmas treats! A rich buttery Italian bread, generously studded with dried fruit and mixed peel can easily be mistaken for cake! Using an active sourdough starter in this recipe, it does take a bit of patience to make, but the result is oh-so-good!

I am not going to sugarcoat it, Sourdough Panettone will require a degree of patience, a good chunk of your time and just a little bit of skill (or reading the recipe twice and following it to a T). Even made with commercial yeast, Panettone is a bit of a labour of love, but if you love baking, you will love making this recipe.

Three main things to ensure success:

  • Make sure your starter is active! Really, very and truly active! I feed my starter for 3 consecutive days before starting this recipe just to make sure I have yeast and bacteria cultures strong enough to carry this enriched dough through.
  • You do need a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. And you have to be patient: run your stand mixer for as long as the recipe states, it will help this rich dough rise and you will get a fluffy and airy crumb.
  • You will need to find a warm spot in your house (around 25C) to prove the dough. It is a heavily enriched dough that needs both time and warmth to rise.

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Panettone Moulds:

To make a panettone, you will need a mould. Whilst you can make it in the round cake tin, you will need to line it fully with sturdy baking parchment, so that it can rise, but the panettone will stick to it, and it may be difficult to peel the parchment off of it when baked. You can also buy non-stick Panettone tins (like this one here), I have to admit that I never used one before, so I cannot recommend it. What I use, is paper moulds, here (they are 500ml each). They are sturdy and brilliant for piercing with skewers that are then used to hang the panettones upside down to stabilise the crumb.

How to Make a 40% Hydration Starter?

Mix 20g starter (100% hydration) with 25ml of water and 40g flour. This will make 85g of stiff sourdough starter, and you will only need 70g for this recipe, but it’s always best to make some more to allow for all the starter that will stick to the sides of the bowl and the spoon. 

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Make Sourdough Panettone?

Day 1:

Late in the morning or early afternoon, prepare stiff sourdough levain. (40% hydration). See notes above if unsure how to make it. Leave the levain to at least double in size, which will take 4-6 hours.

Once the starter is active and doubled, mix water and sugar in a bowl of your stand mixer. Add stiff levain and flour and get your stand mixer (we use and love Kenwood) fitted with a dough hook attachment running on slow speed, for about 10 minutes.

Once incorporated, increase the speed. Start adding butter one bit at a time, and carry on kneading until completely incorporated, for about 10 minutes. Then one-by-one add the egg yolks and knead until well incorporated, again for about 7-8 minutes.

Scoop the dough into a bowl (ideally a narrow, high-rimmed dish) and leave it to triple in size, for 8-12 hours (overnight) at room temperature (ideally 22-25°C).

Mix all the ingredients for the honey mix and leave them in the fridge covered overnight.

Day 2:

In the morning, mix strong flour and the first dough that should have tripled in size overnight. Knead well in a stand mixer for about 10 minutes. Then add sugar, honey mix, salt and butter and keep on kneading until fully incorporated, for about 7-8 minutes. One by one start adding the egg yolks, mixing to fully incorporate the yolks into the dough before adding another one. Finally, reduce the speed to the minimum and mix in orange and lemon peel as well as raisins/ sultanas.

Insert 2 bamboo skewers (see photos above) into each panettone paper mould (we used 2x500ml moulds). You will use the skewers to hand the panettone upside down to stabilise after baking. Divide the dough into the prepared moulds and let it prove for 6-8 hours in a warm spot (around 25-27°C is ideal for a second prove).

Bake at 180°C for 32-35 minutes depending on the size of the panettone. When baked, hang them upside down for about 12 hours to stabilize the crumb.

For other Christmas baking ideas, have a look at some of our other favourites below:

Half of the sourodugh panettone on a wooden chopping board wit ha pine cone in the foreground.

Sourdough Panettone

Sourdough Panettone is one of my favourite Christmas treats! A rich buttery Italian bread, generously studded with dried fruit and mixed peel can easily be mistaken for cake! Using an active sourdough starter in this recipe, it does take a bit of patience to make, but the result is oh-so-good!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 30 mins
Fermenting, Proving, Resting: 2 d
Total Time 2 d 1 hr 30 mins
Course Baking, Dessert
Cuisine Christmas, Italian, Sourdough
Servings 2 panettones (500ml moulds)
Calories 2168 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

Honey Mix:

  • 30 g runny honey
  • 1 orange zest only
  • 1 lemon zest only

First Dough:

  • 70 g active 40% hydration starter see notes
  • 75 g sugar
  • 120 g water
  • 55 g egg yolks
  • 70 g butter
  • 240 g strong flour

Second Dough:

  • 60 g strong flour
  • 65 g sugar
  • 4 g salt
  • 95 g egg yolks
  • 125 g butter
  • 120 g sultanas
  • 90 g candied mixed peel

Instructions
 

Day 1:

  • Late in the morning or early afternoon, prepare stiff sourdough levain. (40% hydration). See notes if unsure how to make it. Leave the levain to at least double in size, which will take 5-7 hours.
  • Once the starter is active and bubbling, mix water and sugar in a bowl of your stand mixer. Add stiff levain and flour and get your mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment running on slow speed, for about 10 minutes.
  • Once incorporated, increase the speed. Start adding butter one bit at a time, and carry on kneading until completely incorporated, for about 10 minutes. Then one-by-one add the egg yolks knead until well incorporated, again for about 7-8 minutes.
  • Scoop the dough into a bowl (ideally a narrow, high rimmed dish) and leave to triple in size, for 12-16 hours (overnight) at room temperature (ideally 22-25°C). If the temperature is lower, leave it for longer.
  • Mix all the ingredients for the honey mix and leave them in the fridge covered overnight.

Day 2:

  • In the morning, mix strong flour and the first dough that should have tripled in size overnight. Knead well in a stand mixer for about 10 minutes. Then add sugar, honey mix, salt and butter and keep on kneading until fully incorporated, for about 7-8 minutes. One by one start adding the egg yolks, mixing to fully incorporate the yolks into the dough before adding another one. Finally, reduce the speed to the mininmum and mix in orange and lemon peel as well as raisins.
  • Insert 2 bamboo skewers (see photos above) into each panettone paper mould (we used 2x500ml moulds). You will use the skewers to hand the panettone upside down to stabilise after baking. Divide the dough into the prepared moulds and let it prove for 18-24 hours in a warm spot (around 20-22°C is ideal). But go by size of your panettone – it should a little more than double before it's ready to bake.
  • Bake at 180°C for 40-45 minutes ( adjust cooking time based on the size of panettone. When cooked, a skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean. We baked ours for 45 minutes for 2x500ml moulds). When baked, hang them upside down for about 12 hours to stabilize the crumb (see photos above).

Notes

Mix 20g starter (100% hydration) with 25ml of water and 40g flour. This will make 85g of stiff sourdough starter, and you will only need 70g for this recipe, but it’s always best to make some more to allow for all the starter that will stick to the sides of the bowl and the spoon. 

Nutrition

Calories: 2168kcalCarbohydrates: 293gProtein: 32gFat: 101gSaturated Fat: 58gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gMonounsaturated Fat: 29gTrans Fat: 3gCholesterol: 1023mgSodium: 1567mgPotassium: 765mgFiber: 8gSugar: 155gVitamin A: 3553IUVitamin C: 14mgCalcium: 200mgIron: 10mg
Keyword Christmas Baking with Sourdough, Homemade Panettone, Italian Christmas Bread, Panettone with Sourdough, Sourdough Christmas Baking, Sourdough Panettone
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Sourdough Panettone

4 Replies to “Sourdough Panettone”

  1. Just working my way through this recipe, looks great! However, one question. Day 2 step 1 says to mix the strong flour with the malt, but I can’t see a reference to malt in the ingredients. Am I missing something?

    1. Hi Iain. Thanks for spotting it! I was experimenting with adding malt but in the end decided it doesn’t add enough to the dough to justify another ingredient on the list. I will remove malt from instructions, apologies!

      1. Thanks very much. Very pleased with my first attempt. Delicious, although I’m sure I still have room for improvement!

        1. Thanks, Iain for giving my recipe a go! I have to admit, my first couple of attempts were a complete disaster: I just wasn’t patient enough to wait for the doughs to proof and I also made the first panettones in winter, so the temperature was likely not high enough to lift that heavily enriched dough :D.

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