I bet the majority of my fellows Brazilians have come across a Panettone during Christmas time at least once in his/her lifetime. Panettone, a traditional kind of Italian Christmas Bread, is very popular not only around Europe but also very known and loved in Brazil.
We used to have it every single Christmas at my mother’s and grandmother’s houses, and there were always a few loaves around grandma’s house, as she would get them as presents from different friends and family members. And it didn't matter how many she got, we would polished them off before the school break was over; it was just delicious to eat Panettone for breakfast, afternoon tea, or with milk as a late night snack!
It seems that Panettone is now becoming more and more popular in the US, as it was hard to find it when I first got here, 7 years ago, and it was absurdly costly. Now we can find a variety of more affordable breads, not only in specialty Italian stores, but also in warehouses, and even some larger grocery stores (which may even have their own brand of it!)
This year, although we are not going to Brazil for Christmas, I wanted to keep the tradition and have some Panettone around. And since we were staying and celebrating with friends, why not then making some loaves and sharing with them, right?
So I did! I baked a few mini Panettone loaves and gave away to the teachers and closer friends, just to share with them a little of my Christmas traditions.
It is a long process to bake Panettone, since it has to rise a couple of times, but it sure was fun to make these little gems and I was totally proud of my bread by the end of the day. I have also made them last year, but this time used a different recipe and it came out just right; perfect and beautiful, with a great taste and texture!
Panettone has its own characteristic texture to it, and it is not the easiest thing to conquer the sort of flaky-full-of-little-tiny-bubbles-aerated inside it should have. But this year I did it, and it got me on a very happy Christmas mood!
And since my fellow bloggers and visitors are constantly present in my life, in each post and each comment, you are now more than my friends, so it is only fair to share here the recipe and spread my Christmas Joy and traditions with all of you.
I wish I could send each one of you a little loaf, and make your day a little more “Christmasy” and “Panettoney”, but you get the idea, and from the heart, my wishes are for all of you to have the best Christmas Ever, and a 2007 full of happiness and joy, and love, and recipes, and posts, and blogs, and friends, of course!!
Note: Panettone is traditionally made with raisins and dried/candied fruits, however, some companies also make another version of it called “Chocottone”, which is basically the Panettone dough studded with little chocolate morsels, this way getting on the heart of the chocolate lovers-raisins haters.
Deep inside I think it should actually be called “Chocolate Christmas Bread”, as Panettone for me is the real thing, the one with the fruits. But some do like chocolate (including myself!!!), and this has certainly become a success during Christmas time.
Since some of the friends are most fond of chocolate rather the raisins, I divided the dough and made a few of the loaves with chocolate chips (both dark, milk, and white chocolate), and let me tell you, it sure was a success! (And Matheus loooooved it!!)
(Adaptation of a recipe by Alvaro Rodrigues)
30 grams active dry yeast (or 90 grams fresh cake yeast)
100 grams sugar
250 ml warm water
300 grams all-purpose flour
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl with a mixer until you get smooth dough. Cover and let it rise until doubled in volume (about 1 to 1 ½ hours)
180 grams butter
150 grams sugar
5 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1/3-cup canola oil
100 ml orange juice (or 75 ml juice and 25 ml cognac or rum)
1 teaspoon salt (omit if using salted butter)
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (optional, I did not use)
About 600 grams all-purpose flour
Options for filling
Panettone: 300 grams raisins and 300 grams dried/candied orange peels (or other candied fruits of choice). I like to soak mine in either warm orange juice or rum (But don’t forget to drain the excess liquid before adding the fruit to the batter)
Chocottone: 500 - 600 grams chocolate chips (dark, milk, white, or a combination of the three!)
Add first nine ingredients to the starter after it has risen. Beat with a mixer using the dough hook until everything is incorporated. Gradually add flour, beating with the hook, until you get a smooth and shiny dough, full of bubbles, and that doesn’t stick to the mixer anymore (sometimes you will use all the flour, sometimes less, so add it slowly and give the dough time to incorporate it after each addition. I first added 400 grams of the flour and then added the last 200 grams slowly until I got the smooth dough).
Put dough on a clean bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in volume, at least 2 hours.
After this rising, punch the dough and add your choice of filling, gently kneading the dough just until the fruits (or chocolate) get incorporated.
Divide dough into Panettone molds filling just until ½ of its height, cover and let rise one more time, until it doubles in volume or start to come out of the tops of the molds.
Bake the Panettone at 375 F until it is golden and brown on top.
I made mini loafs and they took about 25 minutes to bake. Keep an eye on them, but do not open the oven door before 20 minutes. They will be done when your kitchen start to get infused with the sweet bread aroma!
The recipe yields about 16 mini panettones or 2 medium ones.
And another pic, just after they came out of the oven. Cute!