Sunday, May 8, 2011

BBA #24: Panettone

The twenty-fourth bread of the Bread Baker's Apprentice challenge is panettone. At first read, I didn't think this was not my kind of bread. It has fruit in it. In fact, Reinhart wants me to put all kinds of crazy candied fruit in it. And, then the liquor. I'm not opposed to liquor, a good gin and tonic is a favorite of mine. But, I'm not a huge liquor-in-things person.
And, perhaps, one of the hardest blows- this is a week long bread to make! There are 4 days of making the seed culture (or 5 if yours doesn't rise properly like mine), another day to make the barm, another for the wild yeast sponge, and then yet another day to make the bread. You have to really want this bread to go to all this trouble.

Come watch the process...

Seed Culture
 Day 1- rye flour and pineapple juice.
 Day 2- bread flour and pineapple juice
Day 3. Bread flour and water. It was supposed to double. It didn't. I gave it an extra day. It didn't do anything. Do I start over or proceed? I couldn't quite tell. I decided to proceed with step 4 and hope for the best.
Day 4. More bread flour and water. 
It doubled!! I was going to proceed with making the barm but had a busy morning.
6 hours later... wow it keeps going!
The barm should be good for 2 months in the fridge. Hopefully, I can get through the next breads relatively quickly and get to the sourdough breads that all use the barm as the starter.

Wild-Yeast Sponge
Just when you thought it was time to make the bread! Nope, it's time to make the wild-yeast sponge and let it sit for 24 hours. I know, all these pictrues are starting to look the same aren't they.
While the wild yeast sponge fermented, the cranberries soaked in whisky, vanilla extract and orange extract. Yes, just cranberries. No raisins or candied fruit here!

Is it finally time to make the bread?! Yes!
The mixed the final dough together, added the cranberries and nuts and let the dough rise. I was a bit concerned. The dough was soggy wet. I'd lost track of how many tablespoons of water I was adding (distracted baking!) and think I added one too many. However, that one tablespoon shouldn't have made it THAT much more wet? I ended up adding a lot more flour until the texture was better. It was still more sticky than tacky but I hesitated adding more flour as I'd already added a lot.
I made little rolls in a muffin tin and a large panettone in a 6'' cake pan.
The little rolls were my favorite. They were the perfect size and didn't dry out as much as the large bread did. We even had enough rolls to make an evening trip around the neighborhood to two friends and drop off rolls for dinnertime.
Did I like it? Drumroll.... yes, I did. I'm not sure I'd make it again but in the end it was a fun bread to bake. The shaping of the panettone was a great challenge. I didn't mind the cranberries either. That's fruit-in-bread progress!


  1. I hate fruit bits in bread too! Kudos to you for pushing through 5 days of work to get to a product you were pretty certain you weren't going to like. You rock sisa!

  2. I usually don't care for fruit in bread either, but will sample a slice or two around Christmas. Your panettone turned out wonderful!

  3. Wow, I'm so impressed! I didn't like my panettone at all.


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