There are so many delicious things that are made for Christmas around the world. One comes from Italy but seems to have fans all over the world is the panettone. A rich and buttery bread, filled with dried fruits and candied citrus peels. The only problem, all the classic recipes take about three days to make. So here is my recipe for easy sourdough panettone.
The classic panettone is made with a pasta madre, which is a stiff sourdough starter and the dough is risen three times. This becomes very time-consuming, so I decided to make my own easier version, but still using a starter and not using yeast.
If you are just here for the recipe, you can press the button underneath to be automagically transported to the recipe:Jump to Recipe Jump to Video
The history of panettone
Panettone is a sweet loaf of bread that originates from Milan in Italy.
It is traditionally eaten at Christmas and New Year in Western, Southern, and South-Eastern Europe. It seems to be gaining traction all over the world.
The word panettone stems from the Italian word paneto which means small loaf cake. The suffix -one has been added so that the word means “large cake”.
Early versions of the panettone date as far back as the 1200s, but they were probably not anything like the versions we know today.
In early 1900, two Milanese bakers helped propel the panettone into international stardom, by making it super fluffy using a special 3 rise technique.
The two baker’s companies have since been taken over by a worldwide conglomerate but have been repurchased by an Italian company.
I’m not sure what that means for the factory-made panettone, but as always I will say that you should make your own. Then you know exactly what goes into it.
The formula in this easy sourdough panettone recipe
The classic home preparation of a panettone uses a pasta madre, which is a stiff starter. I’ve opted to skip this step and add some sugar to the dough. Also, make sure your starter is well-fed before making the levain to make sure it’s not sour at all.
This is the formula for the levain:
|50g||starter (100% hydration)||100.0%|
The dough itself is an enriched dough with milk, eggs and butter for an excellent soft crumb and a delicious butter smell and taste.
The butter content is pretty high sitting at a little over 55%, but not exorbitant like my Blueberry Swirl Brioche Bread.
The formula for the dough looks like this:
If you want to change the recipe, you can do so here in my Bread Calculator.
This recipe was made for a panettone paper mold of 18 cm in diameter and 12 cm tall.
If you have a different size mold you can calculate what size dough you need:
Panettone – The versatile snack
The panettone is a great snack. It can be eaten all day:
- For breakfast with your favorite preparation of coffee or a wonderful breakfast tea
- As a midday snack with a glass of marsala wine.
- Served as an after-dinner treat with a wonderful Italian sparkling wine.
- Any time of day, toasted and slathered in a wonderful cultured salted butter… Yum!
Maybe it’s the best snack ever? You be the judge.
The conclusion of this easy sourdough panettone recipe
While it doesn’t have the well-known “pull apart” texture of panettone, which in many ways reminds me of a Hokkaido Milk Bread, the texture is wonderful, soft, and butter-rich.
The plump raisins and sultanas and candied citrus peels are scattered evenly throughout the crumb and are like finding little nuggets of deliciousness when you eat it.
The top is caramelized with a crispy crunch from the added sugar and with pearl sugar that is unmelted on top adding some sweetness and texture to the loaf.
This is a wonderful bread that can be eaten on any Sunday afternoon with a cup of coffee or a glass of Italian sparkling wine.
This is going to be one that I will bring for Christmas eve this year. It’s really wonderful.
Please share on social media
This is my recipe for an easy sourdough panettone. I hope you will try to make it because it is absolutely delicious.
If you make it and post it on Instagram, please tag me as @foodgeek.dk. That would make me very happy.
Ad links! Links for equipment and ingredients in this recipe are affiliate links, which means I will get a commission if you purchase the product!
Easy Sourdough Panettone
- 450 g bread flour
- 4 eggs
- 150 g levain
- 60 g milk
- 30 g sugar
- 15 g salt
- 250 g butter
- 50 g dark raisins
- 50 g sultanas
- 50 g candied orange peel
- 50 g candied lemon peel
- 3 tablespoon Cointreu orange juice for an alcohol free alternative
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon milk
- pearl sugar
- cane sugar
Make levain – morning
- Add 50g sourdough starter, 50g bread flour and 50g water to a see-through container with straight sides. Mix well.
- Leave to ferment, covered in a warm place. Once it has grown to double the size, you need to mix the dough.
Mix the dough – around noon
- Add 450g bread flour, 150g levain, 4 eggs, 30g sugar, 15g salt and 60g milk to a bowl.
- Put your index and long finger in the middle of the dough and start moving it in circles; for each revolution, make the circle a little bigger, so you get more and more flour into the fluids,
- Once that gets difficult, put the dough on the kitchen counter and knead it until it comes together.
- Let the dough rest for 30 minutes under a damp dishtowel.
Bulk fermentation – around 12:30/12.30 p.m
- Perform four sets of stretch and folds spaced out by 30 minutes.
- After the fourth set of stretch and folds, perform a windowpane test to check the gluten development. If it doesn't pass, perform one more stretch and fold and let the dough rest for 30 minutes and test again.
- Once the windowpane passes, take the 250g butter out of the refrigerator and cube it.
- Add 50g raisins and 50g sultanas to a bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of Cointreu or orange juice. Top with warm water until they are submerged.
- Rest the dough for 30 minutes.
Add butter, dried, and candied fruits
- Now it's time to add the butter. Put a small handful of cubes on the dough, push it and massage it into the dough. Keep going until you cannot feel any lumps anymore. Then add another handful. Repeat until you have added all the butter.
- After adding the butter, tease the dough into a rectangle and add half of the raisins, sultanas, candied orange peel, and candied lemon peel.
- Fold the dough down by a third and then up by a third.
- Turn the dough 90° and tease it out a bit.
- Add the rest of the dried and candied fruits and fold the dough up.
- Knead the dough by hand until the fruits feel entirely dispersed.
Shaping and proofing
- Form the dough into a boule and add it to the panettone mold.
- Then cover the mold with cling film and let it proof until the top of the dough is at the top of the mold.
Bake the bread
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4.
- Beat one egg with one tablespoon of milk.
- Brush the panettone lightly with the egg wash.
- Sprinkle with cane sugar and pearl sugar to get a crispy crust.
- Bake for about 95 minutes or until the inner temperature reaches 98°C/208ºF.
- If the panettone starts to get too brown during baking, cover it with a piece of aluminum foil.
- Once the panettone is out of the oven, stick wooden or metal skewers through the panettone on each side, about 2½ cm/1 inch from the bottom, and hang it upside down until completely cooled.