Christmas is approaching and, as every year, I can’t help baking the usual panettone. And given that, I became a pro (well, almost) with this type of preparation, this year I decided to surprise my guests with another classical of the Italian Christmas: the pandoro.
Those two cakes divides Italian families every year, with the eterna question: pandoro or panettone? And we all know how that ends: we buy one of each to make everybody happy :)
But well, if this year you feel bold and you want to make these cakes home, I just remind you the basic rules to master them. Yes, I know, we already talked about this last year, but here the essential vademecum to succeed with the most classical Italian Christmas desserts.
Use a very strong flour. And with this, I mean 14-15% in protein content. Pandoro and panettone are “heavy” dough, rich in fats (butter and eggs). Therefore, without a robust scaffold (gluten), they can’t rise and they might eventually collapse. In Italy, there is a wide choice in terms of flours, but you can simply use the Manitoba flour available in every grocery store. If, like me, you can’t find it, you can still fortify a bread flour (12-13% in protein content) with some gluten flour (72% in proteins).
Use a standing mixer. Don’t listen to those claiming “eh, 100 years ago, people kneaded with bare hands”. True, we also went back horse, while we drive cars now ;) Use a standing mixer, you won’t regret it.
The dough must torque, torque, torqueeeeee. Don’t think even for a second to move to next next if your dough didn’t torque. Torquing=formation of the gluten net. If you add fats to a not torqued dough, there is no chance your panettone will rise. On the other hand, it will stay flat as a pancake. And if the torquing step gets difficult, here how to solve the problem.
Now, would you excuse me, I have to roll my sleeves and disappear in the kitchen for a bit :)