Panettone: the recipe

Panettone: the recipe

Panettone is a traditional Italian Christmas cake and, doubtlessly, the most challenging baking product to make. Despite the difficulty, I strongly recommend to make one by yourself. Please, try: accomplishing this recipe will just make you feel as the Jedi of baking :)

Here some useful tips, if you want to try it:

  • Panettone requires almost 3 full days of work. Clear your calendar, because you’ll need all your time around it.
  • Use a strong flour: e.g. one with W400 or 15% proteins.
  • With this recipe, you will obtain enough dough for 2 big panettoni (split the dough in 2 1Kg-moulds) or 4 small ones (split the dough in 4 500g-moulds).
  • Use a standing mixer to knead the dough. If you do not have, borrow it. Kneading panettone with your hands is not an option, believe me :P
  • Do the mis en place: prepare all the ingredients before starting.

If not differently indicated, all the risings were carried out in oven set at 37 ˚C (breadproof function in my oven), with the oven light on. However, the ideal temperature would be around 28-30 ˚C.

The recipe comes from Adriano’s blog, an unlimited source of tips and recipes for all daring bakers. This is the second year I try Adriano’s recipe, with small modification though, and it always gives me plenty of satisfaction :)


Panettone, Adriano’s recipe (for 2 big panettoni o 4 small ones)

  • 1125 g of strong flour
  • 360 g of sugar
  • 350 g of soft butter
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 6 whole eggs
  • 18 g of salt
  • 2 tablespoon of honey
  • 10 g of fresh yeast dehydrated
  • Grated peel of one orange
  • Grated peel of one lemon
  • A teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 300 g of raisin
  • 200 g of candied orange peels

Day 1

Preparations of the first two fresh yeasts

At 8:00-9:00 in the morning, prepare the biga with: 200 g of flour, 90 g of lukewarm water and 1 g di of yeast. Dissolve the yeast in the water, add the flour and knead by hands. Cover the biga with a film paper and let it rise at 18 ˚C.

At 18:00 – 19:00, prepare the poolish with: 100 g of water, 50 g of flour, 2 g of yeast e the grated peel of a quarter orange. Transfer the poolish in a container equipped with a hermetic lid and let it rest in the fridge for the entire night.

Day 2

Preparations of the dough

Dough 1

Remove the poolish from the fridge and keep it at 30 ˚C for 30 min. Add to the poolish 100 g of flour, 10 g of sugar and an egg yolk. Knead with your hands and let it rise covered at 37 ˚C for 1 h.

Dough 2 

Add the biga to dough 1. Knead by hands, it will take a while to get a smooth dough because of the different consistencies. Kneading on a marble or granite surface might help with this step. Add to the dough an egg, 50 g of flour, 20 g of sugar and knead in a standing mixer (attach the kneading hook) at low speed (max 2 if you use the Kitchen Aid). Continue until the dough wraps around the hook and detach from the mixing bowl. Let the dough rinse for 30 min covered with film.

Preparation of the third yeast

After 30 min rising of dough 2, prepare the third yeast with: 30 g of lukewarm water, 25 g of flour, 7 g of yeast. Mix well and cover the yeast with some film. Let it rest for 30 min at 37 ˚C.

Dough 3

Add the third yeast to dough 2. Place everything in the standing mixer, add an egg yolk and a whole egg. Start kneading and let the eggs absorb. Add 150 g of flour, 30 g of sugar and the honey. Knead until the dough wraps around the hook. Let the dough rise at 37 ˚C for 1 h and 30 min.

Dough 4

Put dough 3 back in the standing mixer and knead for a few seconds. Add 3 egg yolks, 150 g of sugar, the vanilla extract and 100 g of flour. Knead until the dough wraps around the hook.*

Blend 150 g of sugar with the orange and lemon grated peels.

Now you have to add to the dough 4 whole eggs, the blended sugar, 400 g of flour and the salt. Adriano recommends to proceed as follows:

1.      Add one egg and some sugar, kneading in the standing mixer. When the dough starts becoming chewy (it will develop threads), add a bit of salt and some flour. Knead till the dough wraps around the hook.

2.      Repeat step 1, till depletion of the ingredients.

Knead till the dough wraps around the hook.  At this point, add the butter. Let the butter absorb (it will take a while) and add the remaining 50 g of flour. Knead till the dough wraps around the hook (if this doesn’t happen, stop the standing mixer, pour the dough on a surface, put it back in the mixing bowl and start kneading again. Repeat this step 2-3 times, if needed). Add the raising (previously soaked in lukewarm water) and the candied orange peels cut in small cubes. It is better to sprinkle the raising and the candied orange with some flour, before mixing them to the dough.

Overnight rest

Transfer the dough in a container equipped with a hermetic lid and let it rest in the fridge overnight. This step could be skipped, but it improves the quality of the dough (I will explain the reason in another post :)).

Day 3


In the morning (8:00-9:00), remove the dough from the fridge and let it rest at room temperature for about an hour. Cut the dough in 2 (or 4 if you want smaller panettoni*), give it a round shape and place it in each mold. Cover the dough with some film and let it rise at 37 ˚C, until the dough almost reaches the top edge of the mould. Rising time might vary significantly. According to Adriano, it should take 4-5 h, in my case, I needed 10!  Once rising is complete remove the film and let the panettoni rise for other 30 min.


Preheat the oven at 200 ˚C. Carve the surface of the panettoni with a sharp knife and design a cross on the top of them. Lift the four strips and place a small piece of butter (big as a walnut) in the center. Bake at 200 ˚C for 10 min and at 160 ˚C for 30-40 min. Baking time might vary depending on the oven and the size of panettone. Use a cake tester to make sure panettone is properly baked.


Congratulation, your panettone is now ready for drying! You have to let your panettoni cool down upside down or they will collapse :P Skewer the panettoni at the bottom e.g. with some knitting needles. You will need two knitting needles per panettone. Place the seat back of two chairs against each other and set the panettone there, upside down. Let the panettoni cool down overnight.

I recommend to store them in zip-lock bags or they will dry out. Eat them within a few days or donate them!!! :D

Let me know how your panettone turned out! :) 

*panettoni is the plural for panettone