Panettone is a traditional Italian Christmas bread that originated in Milano centuries ago. It’s moist, yeasted, and cake-like. The dough has a sweet citrus flavor and is typically studded with candied fruit. In our case, we use marsala-soaked golden raisins. Above all, panettone are known for being tall (yet light).
Our version remains faithful to true Italian panettone, apart from making it gluten-free. It gets a long, slow, cold fermentation before baking and then a long wait for the loaf to cool—making this a two-day bake.
Note: We’re considering this version 1.0 of the recipe. The flavor is spectacular, but we believe we can get the texture even lighter and airier. We’ll continue working on this recipe in advance of next year’s holiday season.
By omitting the candied fruit and making a few adjustments to the recipe method (noted below), this same dough can be used to make pandoro, another traditional Italian Christmas bread—this one from Verona. Without the marsala-soaked raisins, the dough gets more loft, resulting in a lighter loaf with bigger air pockets. Traditionally, pandoro would be baked in a mold shaped like an eight-pointed star, and then dusted with powdered sugar after baking and unmolding.
Whether panettone or pandoro, you can enjoy this holiday specialty in a variety of ways: as a fresh slice, lightly toasted and buttered, spread with fruit jam or chocolate-hazelnut spread, or transformed into divine French toast.
Note: We live in Colorado about one mile (1.600 m) above sea level. This recipe hasn’t yet been tested at sea level. You may need to boost the water and yeast a little bit to compensate.
For the flour blend
- 245 g potato starch
- 205 g cornstarch
- 100 g quinoa flour
- 50 g white rice flour
- 1 1/2 tbsp psyllium husk powder
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
For the starter
- 1 cup warm water (110ºF / 43ºC) (240 ml)
- 1 tbsp active dry yeast
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 125 g flour blend (see above)
For the fruit
- 1 cup golden raisins
- 1/2 cup sweet marsala
For the dough
- 1/2 cup sugar (100 g)
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- zest of 2 oranges
- zest of 2 lemons
- 4 whole eggs
- 2 egg whites
- 2 tsp salt
- 12 tbsp salted butter, cut into tbsp-size pieces 1 1/2 sticks
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Make the flour blend: Combine all of the flour blend ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine. Take the butter out of the refrigerator to bring to room temperature.
- Make the starter: In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the warm water, yeast, and sugar. Whisk to combine and allow to set for about 5 minutes until foamy.
- Add 125 g of the flour blend and whisk until smooth. The starter will look like thin pancake batter.
- Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for 90 minutes.
- Prepare the fruit: While the starter is proofing, put the raisins and marsala in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, remove from the heat, and let cool.
- Make the dough: Remove the plastic wrap from the starter and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mount the bowl to your stand mixer.
- Add the sugar, vanilla, and orange and lemon zest. Mix with the paddle attachment to combine.
- Add the eggs and egg whites, one at a time, mixing to incorporate after each addition.
- Whisk the salt into the remaining prepared flour blend and add the flour to the egg mixture. Mix on medium-low speed to incorporate.
- Turn the mixer to medium speed and add the butter, about 1 tbsp at a time, until it is all completely incorporated.
- Drain the golden raisins and add the fruit to the dough.
- Scrape all of the dough into a paper panettone mold and set in a baking pan. (Note: This recipe is scaled for a paper panettone mold 6 inches (15.5 cm) in diameter and 4.5 inches (11 cm) tall.)
- Spray the top of the dough with nonstick cooking spray and cover with plastic wrap.
- Place in the refrigerator and leave to rise for 12–24 hours.
- Remove the risen panettone from the refrigerator and place in a warm location for 2 hours, still sitting in the baking pan. This brings the dough up to room temperature and allows it to rise further. If necessary, loosen the plastic wrap from the sides of the panettone paper but leave the plastic covering the dough.
- Near the end of the rise time preheat the oven to 375℉ (190ºC).
- Place the risen panettone, in the baking pan, into the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
- Cover the top of the panettone with foil and bake an additional 40–45 minutes, until the internal temperature is 180℉ (82ºC). Pierce a thermometer through the side of the panettone paper mold into the center of the loaf to check the temperature.
- Remove from the oven and the baking pan and allow the panettone in its paper mold to completely cool on a wire rack, about 2 hours.
Wendy Bernard says
I’m in California, so I took the advice and added a bit of extra water and an extra bit of yeast (1/3 C water and 1/4 t of yeast). It rose beautifully and I had to add an extra collar to help hold the top. It wasn’t very secure, so the top got lopsided while cooking. I think this means next time I will add an extra 2 T of water and keep the yeast the same with +1/2 t). I haven’t tasted yet but it looks spectacular!