#24. A very expensive Panettone.


bakedIn week 24 of the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge, we prepare the Italian Christmas bread known as panettone.  I have never made or eaten panettone before so I really had no frame of reference on this one.  As I read through the ingredient list I told myself to keep an open mind.  However, I had my doubts about this one.  I hate brandy, rum and whiskey (I’m a wine girl), intensely dislike orange and lemon extract (they smell like furniture polish to me).  I believe that candied fruits have no place in the culinary world. 

 There was one ingredient that was unfamiliar to me, “Fiori di Siclia”.  Peter Reinhart describes it as a wonderful blend of extracts and floral oils.  I decided to hunt some down, as I wanted my panettone to be as authentic as possible, a lesson I  learned from my brother-in-law Brandon.  Whenever he visits a new city, he insists on eating whatever that city is famous for and only from the original source.  When he visited Philadelphia, he almost missed his flight waiting in line for a Pat’s Cheesesteak.  When he came to Ottawa, he strapped on his skates and a fur trapper hat and skated down the longest skating rink in the world to sample “Beavertails” (fried dough dipped in sugar and cinnamon).  President Obama ate one too when he visited Ottawa!

I had the option of ordering fiore di sicilia from King Arthur for $7.95 plus $25.00 delivery (why do they charge so much for Canadian deliveries???), or from  Golda’s Kitchen (a Canadian web site) for $30.00 plus $7.00 for shipping.  Both admittedly were ridiculous options, but I was convinced that without it my panettone would not be authentic.  Since the Canadian economy needs a bit of a boost, I did my part and ordered from the Canadian web site.  The parcel arrived the next day (that never happens with US web sites shipping to Canada).  It arrived in a huge box.  I was a bit confused as I only ordered a 4 ounce bottle.  It was so carefully wrapped in bubble wrap and styrofoam peanuts.  I finally managed to unearth the bottle and opened it up preparing myself for a heavenly aroma.  Feh… furniture polish.  After spending such an outrageous amount of money for this essence, I tried to convince myself that the aroma would transform into something sublime during the baking process.  Okay, so I’m an optomist.

I decided to use dried sour cherries, cranberries, apricots instead of the candied fruit. Here they are soaked in rum.  They glistened,  just like little jewels.


In addition to the dried fruits, soft butter and toasted almonds get added to the dough.


It was almost impossible to mix in all these ingredients with the mixer.  The dough hook just kept going round and round and the dried fruit and nuts sat on top.


Time for hand kneading!


After mixing the dough is set aside to rise for about 2 hours.  Then the dough is formed into little round balls and placed into special paper Panettone moulds.  I decided to do one large one and lots of mini ones.  They just looked adorable in their little paper cups.


Two hours later they had risen to the top of the moulds. 


I had to go out so I left my husband in charge of the baking.  Armed with a timer and instant read thermometer, he did a wonderful job.  Here they are fresh from the oven.


I let them cool and then we took a bite.  They looked so pretty and I wanted to love them, but it wasn’t to be.inside-crumb

The texture was dry, the aroma was overpowering and all I could taste was the rum and extracts.  I suppose if you were a rum lover, this would be a good thing.  My husband didn’t mind them and our babysitter loved them so she and her girlfriend took all 15 of the mini ones home.

The next day I got an e-mail from chefshop.com.  They are selling panettone in about 20 assorted flavours.  There is a Caffe Panettone with coffee, chocolate, hazelnuts and almond icing.  Now that’s my kind of Panettone!

15 thoughts on “#24. A very expensive Panettone.

  1. baking mama

    Cindy, they look lovely specially the small ones.

    I grew up eating all sorts of Christmas breads and cakes so I’m used to and love these flavors. The only Christmas bread I don’t like is Panettone, particularly this one. I will try the recipe from his new book which has lots more butter and eggs and I might like it.

    I totally agree the Caffe Panettone sounds delicious.:-)

    Oggi of Icandothat!

  2. Mags

    So sorry you didn’t enjoy this one Cindy. I was one of those who was dreading making this because I didn’t think I’d like it either. I was surprised however to find that I really enjoyed it. Your loaves do look lovely!

  3. Daniel

    The Panettones are beautiful!

    Too bad you didn’t like this one. I didn’t like mine because it came out dense with hardly any rise. I didn’t think it was expensive until I decided to re-do it. I realized I skimped on the extracts the first time and now I realize just how expensive the bread is.

  4. Mackenzie

    I am getting ready to make Panettone soon and was wondering how big (grams/ounces) your smaller rolls were when you divided the dough. Peter Reinhart does not give any weight guidelines for scaling them out. I’m guessing 2-3 oz?

  5. Virginia

    I LOVE your blog and do hope you continue after the BBA is finished. Your commentary is informative, funny and interesting. I read Peter’s recipe and then rely more heavily on your opinion. I would love to know what other things you cook. Thanks, Virginia

    1. saltandserenity

      Thanks Virginia, that’s so sweet. I am really loving the blogging. As far as other things I cook, my main passion is cookies. Every year at this time I bake for about 40 people as gifts. I make about 6-7 different treats and wrap them all up in a beautiful package. This year I’m doing white chocolate dipped peppermint cookies, double chocolate peanut butter bark, gingerbread snowflake cookies, chocolate caramel truffles with fleur de sel, macadamia toffee chip cookies, lemon coconut cookies and oatmeal lace sandwich cookies.

      I will be taking a break from the BBA blogging until after the holidays (just a bit busy!!) and maybe I’ll do a post about all these treats with pictures and links to the recipes.

  6. nic010205

    Your pantatone looks great, too bad you did not enjoy it. At least you were able to share your info with the blogging world and the bread with your babysitter!

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  10. Marion E Dawson

    Think you are in a minority for not liking PANETTONE. Try ordering for CHRISTMAS when it is always moist.Buy the best and not the cheaper versions.There isn’t any liquor in the classic Milan version and you’ll feel transported to Milano where the recipe
    was born centuries ago. Now there are lovely variations to Classico like Pear
    and Chocolate, all dark chocolate iced, Lemon, Apricot and even Coffee , the
    latter I just ordered. Try making French Toast or a Trifle or Bread Pudding the
    most gourmet uses and a slice with an Italian bubbly or Grappa and you’ll feel
    transported to Milano along with the natives eating Italy’s #1 Christmas yummy..

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