Thanks to our friend, Pam, for introducing us to this traditional Italian Holiday bread. We love it!


We were going to bake it together, but because of a snow storm, we had to remain in our separate kitchens, while consulting over the phone.

Here is the recipe we used. We liked the overnight starting, since the result is rumored to stay fresh longer. —

Overnight Starter (Biga) Ingredients
3/4 cup (3 1/8 ounces) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/16 teaspoon SAF instant yeast (just a pinch)
1/3 cup (2 5/8 ounces) water

Dough Ingredients
all of the biga (above)
2 1/4 cups (9 1/2 ounces) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup (2 ounces) water
2 large eggs
1/4 cup (1/2 stick, 2 ounces) butter
1 ⅛ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 teaspoons SAF instant yeast
1/3 cup (2 1/4 ounces) sugar
1/2 cup (3 ounces) golden raisins
1/2 cup (2 1/4 ounces) slivered dried apricots
1/2 cup (2 ounces) dried cranberries or flavored fruit bits
1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) candied orange peel OR dried pineapple, chopped
2 tablespoons orange or lemon zest

1. The Biga: Combine the biga ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl, cover, and allow them to rest overnight (8 to 12 hours).

2. Dough: Combine all of the dough ingredients except the fruit, and mix and knead them together—by hand, mixer or bread machine—until you’ve made a soft, smooth dough. Allow the dough to rise, covered, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until it’s puffy (though not necessarily doubled in bulk). Gently deflate the dough, and knead in the fruits and zest.

Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a panettone pan or other straight-sided, tall 1 1/2- to 2-quart pan. [We used a panettone paper “pan.”] Lightly cover the pan and let the dough rise till it’s just crested over the rim of the pan, about 1 hour.

[After rising, before baking, we brushed with beaten egg and sprinkled sliced almonds on top.]

Bake the bread in a preheated 400°F oven for 10 minutes; reduce the oven heat to 375°F and bake an additional 10 minutes; then reduce the heat to 350°F and bake for 25 minutes, tenting with aluminum foil if the crust appears to be browning too quickly. [The interior temperature should be between 180° and 185° F.] Remove the panettone from the oven and cool completely.


[Recipe adapted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Dec. 1991 issue.]

Yuletide Panettone

Earlier Comments

6 thoughts on “Yuletide Panettone

  1. I recently tried the recipe for the Yuletide Panettone just to see if I could make it, but not to be too surprised if it bombed. I made the Biga the night before, then about 14 hours later added the rest of the ingredients. Like I said, I didn’t have a lot of confidence that it would turn out correctly. After completing the proofings, I placed it in my high-sided souffle corning dish as I do not own a panettone pan. It just squatted in the bottom of that dish. I waited about an hour and a half for it to rise, but it just sort of got fluffy, then squatted some more at that fluffy level. Then, I just said “what the heck” and put it into the oven, following the instructions for lowering the temp at the recommended intervals. Imagine my surprise when I took it out of the oven and it had risen up and over the rim of the dish. Talk about Oven Spring! Anyway, the bread was delicious. It far exceeded any hopes I might have fostered. I would have included an image, but my dear husband just couldn’t wait to slice it…and eat the evidence. This recipe is a keeper!

    • Wonderful story.

  2. Can’t wait to try this

  3. Lachy

    This looks delicious!!!
    Can you substitute the biga with sourdough starter?
    I am just trying to get my head around it and thought you would just substitute starter in that first part instead of the yeast and account for water / flour quantities in your starter.
    May have a go and see tomorrow but it anyone has any advice it would be much appreciated.

    • You can, but it’s a tough one to advise on (for me anyway). It will change the proofing times among other things, but still worth going for. Make a good guess on quantity and consistency and see how it goes. Take notes and adjust next time if necessary. Please let us know how it works out.

  4. Karin Berryman

    I am thrilled to have found this web site! (

    My husband and I just LOVE Panettone and have wanted to make this for a very long time but haven’t found a really authentic recipe until now!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! :-)))

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