Panettone is a large cylindrical bread which is traditionally served around Christmas in Italy. Pan means bread, but by adding tonethe word means large bread. Panettone is originally from Milan and recipe has at least 500 years, but wasn’t widely produced until the early 1900s.
Unlike the quicker made recipes where fresh or dried yeast are added to ingredients,
authentic panettone uses a starter, similar to a sourdough starter, to raise the bread. The dough goes through 3 different leavening stages, and it takes two days to prepare one panettone. Due to the unique leavening process, it’s difficult to make panettone at home.
The dough for panettone is quite rich and contains plenty of butter and eggs. Aside from the butter and eggs, most of the flavor of the panettone comes from the add-ins. The most traditional have dried fruits, candied citrus, lemon and/or orange zest and may be doused with amaretto before serving.
If you buy an artisanal Panettone you will notice immediately the difference with an industrial one: the freshness is what makes it delicious. This year we found one pasticceria (pastry shop) where they make artisanal panettone with traditional recipe. It’s so beautifully packed so I'm sorry to unpack it.