This bread is a must in our household during Christmas season. I will usually buy them but I did attempt making them once a few years ago. I followed the recipe from a book but it turns out as hard as a rock and never try baking them again until this year. This time I used the recipe from the internet. I found there are so many of them out there but most of them requires a lot of work and days of proofing. Those who knew me will know I will not attempt recipes like that as I don’t have the patience for it. So I end up using the recipe from Laura in the Kitchen which is a very straight forward method just like making regular bread but it does require longer proofing time than regular bread.
This recipe makes beautiful, soft, supple dough that is much like a brioche. This bread is a true show-stopper. It’s stunning, and the flavor lives up to its looks. The bread is soft and sweet, and just loaded with flavor thanks to the vanilla extract,dried fruits, orange and lemon zest.
Adapted from Laura in the Kitchen with minor changes
3 cups of flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 cup of water, warm at 110 degrees F
1/4 cup of milk, warm at 110 degrees F
1 packet of yeast (7 grams)
6 tbsp butter
1/2 cup of Sugar
Zest of 1 large orange
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tsp of pure vanilla extract
1 tsp of salt
1/2 cup chopped apricot
1/4 cup candied orange peel
1/4 cup dried cranberry
some sliced almond - for topping
1. In a small bowl, combine the water and milk, sprinkle over the yeast and let sit for 5 minutes. Then add 4 tbsp of flour and 1 tbsp of sugar to the yeast mixture mix to combine and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit in a warm place and let it rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes.
2. In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and orange zest, add the yeast mixture and whisk it until all combined. Using the dough hook attachment, turn the mixer on low and add the flour and salt, turn to medium and let it mix for about 5 minutes. Add in the butter and mix until well incorporated. It will takes about 5 min.
3. Oil a large bowl with vegetable oil and set aside. After 5 minutes, add the dried fruits and mix for a few more seconds. Turn out the dough onto a well floured surface and work it for just a minute or until it comes together (dough should be sticky) place it in the bowl and brush some more vegetable oil over the top of the dough to stop a crust from forming. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and put it somewhere warm for 3 to 4 hours or until tripled in volume.
4. Spray a panettone mold or an 8'" cake pan with non stick spray and set aside. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and pull it together, place it in the panettone mold and brush the top with some melted butter. Cover again with plastic wrap and let it rise again for 2 to 3 hours or until tripled in size once again. Using a sharp knife or razor blade, cut a shallow “X” into the top of bread.
5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush the top of the panettone with some egg wash, sprinkle on some sliced almond and bake into your preheated oven for about 45 minutes or until when a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
6. Let it cool completely before serving.