Perfect Bread Maker Panettone – Christmas Made Easy
The Bread of Toni
As is the case with everything Italian, the nation’s Christmas traditional dessert, Panettone, has its own history that goes back to the fifteenth century.
A legend has it that one Christmas Eve, while the entire court and guests of Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan were sat at the festive table, disaster stroke in the kitchen. The cook managed to accidentally burn the dessert!
Mamma mia, che dolore che faccio ora il duce mi va cortare il capo! (Oh, dear God, what a disaster, the duke will chop my head off!)
While the unfortunate cook was pulling his hairs off, a kitchen helper, Toni, threw a few ingredients in a bowl and made a soft dough he baked and served to the potent rulers of Milan.
The sweetbread was so successful among the guests that the Sforzas called it Pan di Toni (The Bread of Toni) which remained in history as the rich people’s traditional Christmas bread. Today, it is the classic Italian dessert the entire world knows as Panettone.
The traditional recipe for Panettone has a lengthy preparing process that takes two days. Thanks to modern technology, many of us use bread makers to save time and bake easier. If you own one and read through the manual, you might find a Panettone recipe adjusted to the type of machine you have.
This is an adapted recipe from my bread maker’s book. The original sounded a bit blunt, and I wanted to get all the flavours that scream Christmas; hence I added a few things, and the result was an absolute success.
My Panettone lived a very brief life on the kitchen table! But this was only a try. On Christmas Eve, I’ll be sure to throw all the ingredients in the machine, and while we make the last-minute preparation, my Panettone will be ready just in time for dinner.
I’m certain our kitchen hero Toni would not mind that I wanted to save time and prepare his delight using modern means. It does cut the time from two days to three and a half hours!
As a last note, the dough for Panettone is a soft one, completely different from bread dough and impossible to hand-knead. Even if you chose the traditional method, you would still need a food mixer. Why not leave it to the bread maker then?
Ingredients for bread-maker Panettone:
2 tsp dried yeast (make sure is suitable for bread maker use)
400 g strong bread flour
5 tbsp coconut sugar
1 tsp sea/rock salt
1 tbsp coconut oil (at room temperature)
2 eggs (beaten)
200 ml (3/4 cup) almond/coconut milk
1 tbsp orange zest
Spices mix (ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove)
50 g butter
A handful of resins
A handful of goji berries
A handful of dried cranberries
2 tbsp cocoa nibs
Chocolate shreds (I picked some from a cereal box and spread them on top of my Panettone; improvisation is key!)
My machine requires dry ingredients to be added first. The programme for this bread is the one for Brioche (13, on my device); crust option: light; total time: 3 hours 30 minutes.
My bread maker would beep after 55 minutes when it is the time to add the extras. Then I have to press the Start button again for the program to continue.
Each bread maker functions differently. The important thing is that the machine will do the job and will let you know when your beautiful, fluffy and aromatic Panettone is ready. Let it cool and use within a week (if it lasts!)
Buon appetito and also Buon Natale for when you will serve it at your Christmas dinner!