Panettone is an Italian sweet bread or fruit “cake” that is popular during the holiday season, and depending on how you celebrate, most people purchase the store-bought versions of this fruity holiday bread. However, if you’re feeling extra festive this year, you can take things up a notch and create a wonderful holiday Panettone right in your kitchen.

If you’re a panettone lover like myself or even a connoisseur, you’ve probably known that the origins of this festive bread is linked to Milan, but, although Milan is very well known as the hot spot for baking several flavors of panettone ahead of the holiday season, the true origins of panettone are actually unknown, but Milan popularized the panettone and pioneered its significance as a Christmas and even Easter celebratory dessert.  

Additionally, panettone is made and celebrated across many regions in Italy, as well as South America, Canada, Eastern Europe and North Africa. A traditional panettone is very similar in ingredients to a traditional fruit cake, as it contains flour, eggs, dried fruit, candied citrus peel, almonds, dark rum, nuts, butter, sugar and yeast. In some variations, ingredients like milk, chopped chocolate and pistachios are also added.This panettone recipe uses dried apricots, raisins, candied orange and candied lemon peel. 

Traditional panettone can be made with natural yeast similar to sourdough, and you may find this style of panettone in some commercial versions, but most homemade panettone recipes call for store bought yeast for convenience. 

Making panettone is definitely a labor of love, but that doesn’t mean it is difficult to make. As long as you follow the exact steps, you will end up with a perfect panettone loaf. Plus, you don’t only have to make it during the Christmas season, as panettone is also enjoyed during Easter as well. So don’t feel guilty if you skipped out on panettone this season. 

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 24 Servings
  • Fruit and Chocolate
  • ½ cup dried apricots, diced
  • ½ cup dark raisins or sultanas
  • ½ cup candied orange and lemon peel, diced
  • ½ cup milk chocolate (or dark), chopped
  • ¼ cup dark rum
  • 2 Tablespoons brandy
  • ¼ cup hot water
  • For Starter
  • 1 cup light spelt flour (or AP)
  • 1 Tablespoon instant yeast
  • ⅔ cups room temperature water
  • Remaining Ingredients
  • 4 cups light spelt flour (or all purpose), divided
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
  • 5 large eggs
  • Zest from 1 orange
  • ⅓ cup cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoons amaretto
  • 1 ½ sticks (170g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Avocado oil (or neutral oil) for the top of the dough
  1. To start things off, soak the dried fruit (minus chocolate) in a combination of dark rum, brandy, and water. This should be soaked overnight or up to three days before straining the liquid and setting the fruit aside to use for the panettone.
  2. To make the starter, combine 1 cup of flour and 1 tablespoon of instant yeast together in the bowl of a stand mixer, then add water, mix with a spoon and cover with a towel and let it stand for 45 minutes.
  3. Next, sift 4 cups of flour with salt, and set aside.
  4. Once the starter has risen, use the paddle attachment of your stand mixer and set it on medium speed. Add in eggs, one at a time, then add in orange zest, sugar and amaretto.
  5. Reduce to low speed and slowly add in 2 ½ cups of flour, then mix for 2 minutes until incorporated. Add in the remaining 1 ½ cups of flour and mix for another 2 minutes.
  6. Switch the paddle to a dough hook, then knead the dough on low speed for about 6 minutes until the dough is stretchy. Gradually add in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, then keep kneading for about 2 minutes. You can occasionally pause the kneading to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in the drained soaked fruit and chocolate and knead for about 1 minute.
  7. If your dough is too sticky after adding in the fruit, add in 1 to 4 tablespoons of flour and continue kneading on low speed until the dough is falling off the dough hook and pulling away from the sides of the mixing bowl. You still want the dough to be soft and a little bit sticky. Do not over knead.
  8. While the dough is still in the mixing bowl, pat the dough into a ball, then lightly grease your hands with a neutral oil (I used avocado) and pat the surface of the dough. This will prevent the plastic wrap from sticking to the dough after its second rise. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the dough, lightly sealing the edges. Refrigerate for 12 hours or overnight.
  9. Place three 15oz (5x3) panettone molds on a baking tray, or one 7x4 large mold. Turn the dough on a floured surface and roll out the dough into a thick log. Cut the dough into 3 even pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Gently place the dough into each panettone mold and cover each one with plastic wrap. Place the dough in a warm area to rise for 2 hours. My trick is to place the tray on the top rack in the oven, then filling up a medium bowl or saucepan with boiling hot water and placing it on the second oven rack under the baking tray and closing the oven. The steam creates humidity which will help the dough rise quicker.
  10. If you’re proofing the dough in the oven, transfer the tray to the countertop or any other warm area to continue rising 30 minutes before the end of the proofing time. Preheat your oven to 375°F.
  11. Once the dough has risen, turn the heat down to 325°F and place the panettone in the oven (you don’t have to wait for the temperature to read at 325°F before putting the panettone in the oven). Bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, loosely place some foil paper over the top of each panettone to prevent the top from excess browning. Continue baking for about 30-35 minutes for the 15oz molds, or 40-45 minutes for the 7x4 mold. The best way to check for doneness is to insert a digital instant read thermometer into the panettone until it registers at 195°F. When ready, transfer the panettone to a cooling rack and let it cool for about 20-25 minutes. You can enjoy the panettone sliced on its own, or with some butter, jam, chocolate spread or even pistachio butter if you have any. Pair with a cup of coffee, espresso, tea or even some champagne.
To store panettone, wrap it either whole or sliced in plastic wrap and foil paper, then put it in a freezer bag and seal. You can store it this way at room temperature for 3 days, or in the freezer for 3 months. To get the most freshness out of it for freezer storage, store the extra panettone either whole or sliced right after the panettone has cooled down.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Eva says:

    This looks incredible!

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