Saturday, December 31, 2011

Plus an hour ...

You didn't think that I would let 2011 go out without a recipe did you? I am totally sneaking this in so I have to make it quick but there was no way I was going to let this year go by without sharing this with you. And what else could I possibly do but leave you with a real, honest to goodness Panatone recipe.

That takes a week to make. Plus an hour.


It's a big recipe. It requires time and love. It is totally traditional and completely amazing. Just like I hope your new year is going to be.

Time to dish.

Insanely time consuming completely amazing Panatone
(Cuccina Italiana) 

**So the gist of it is this: You make a cool starter, which takes a week to develop, and there is some lengthy leavening, and then, there is Panatone heaven.**

Here is what you need for the starter:

  • 2-2.5 cups of unbleached all purpose flour (measured out in 1/2 cup portions)
  • 2-2.5 cups of whole wheat flour (measured as above)
  • 3-3.5 cups of room temperature water (measured out in 3/4 cup portions)

Here is what you need for the Poolish (Pre-Ferment):

  • 1/4 cup of unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of room temperature water
  • 1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon of active dry yeast

Here is what you need for the dough:

  • 3 and 3/4 cups of unbleached all purpose flour (more if needed)
  • 1/2 a cup of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of fine sea salt
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons of active dry yeast
  • 3 large eggs
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of whole milk (no skimping here with less fat okay...)
  • 1 and 1/4 cups of currants, soaked in warm water (or warm rum) for 10 minutes and then drained
  • 6 ounces of candied orange peel cut into small dice
  • 2 and a 1/2 tablespoons of honey
  • 3 tablespoons of quality extra virgin olive oil
  • Finely grated zest of three lemons and three oranges
  • 1 vanilla bean split lengthwise, scraped and reserved
  • 14 tablespoons of cold, unsalted butter

Phfeww! Are you guys still with me? Okay, here we go.

Here is what to do for the starter:

  1. One week before your Panatone dough adventure starts, get a bowl out and mix the following: 1.5 cups each of the all purpose and whole wheat flours and add 3/4 cups of the water. Stir into a batter like mix. Then cover with a cheesecloth and leave it alone for three days. Yep. Three. You will smell it baby!
  2. Now, uncover, stir together, and throw out half the mixture. This is the beginning of your started dears..Now add again as above 1.5 cups of each of the flours and 3/4 cups of the water, give a stir, cover and leave it for two days.
  3. At this point repeat the "feeding" process (same quantities of everything) and leave it for another 1-2 days until the starter is "ripe". It will bubble and smell sweet and lactic, kind of like yogurt, and a small spoonful will float in water.

Here is what to do for the Poolish (night before baking the Panatone):

  1. Get another bowl and mix the flour, water and yeast and let stand at room temperature for 10-12 hours.

Here is what to do for the dough:

  1. Yet another bowl must come out. Preferably one of an electric mixer or your hands will be really tired...Once out, blend together flour, sugar, salt and yeast. In another bowl, combine 3/4 cups of starter, all of the poolish, whole eggs, egg yolks, and milk.
  2. With your mixer on low, slowly add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until everything belongs together. About five minutes ...Let the dough rest for about 20 minutes...
  3. Now, in another large bowl(have you kept count of how many we are at here?) mix together currants, candied orange peels, honey, oil, lemon and orange zests, and vanilla and put it aside.
  4. Butter time! Cut the butter into medium pieces, put between two pieces of saran wrap, then flatten out. Return flattened butter to fridge. Come on now! Breathe! You can do it!
  5. Mix the rest of the dough on medium speed for 6-8 minutes. With the mixer running, add the butter piece by piece until all is incorporated and the dough is smooth.
  6. Then take the bowl out of the mixer, using your hands now, add the currant mixture to the dough to incorporate completely, then take dough and put it in a huge bowl, cover and let rise for two hours.
  7. Turn dough once, then cover and let rise again for about another 2 hours.

It's time to bake!!! Haleluiah!!!

  1. Coat your Panatone molds with butter and put molds on a baking sheet. Decide your kick ass dough into rounds and place in molds about half way. Let the dough rise until it reaches the height of the papers, about 1-2 hours..I swear, we will bake it...
  2. Heat the oven to 400 with rack in the middle and bake! For about 15-17 minutes. Keep an eye on it, you'll know ...

Then dear readers, take it out, let it cool, and enjoy something from a time gone by.

Love and happy 2012,



  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, experiences and feelings with us over the last year. Keep writing and I am looking forwardto reading more of your work.


  2. Oh my deliciousness, wish I could have tasted it! I'm sure it was appreciated, I would have for sure. Looking forward to your 2012 dish chronicles; always enjoy reading them. Wishing you only the very best for the new year. Xoxxx

  3. Wow! I have to say...I don't think I've ever had panatone that I've been very impressed with. Maybe this is the ticket. Do you think that I can skip the week-long process since I already have a sourdough starter?

    Happy New Year, Oana.

  4. Girl you are nuts for taking on this recipe, so would not expect anything less from you ;-) I want to wish you a wonderful New Year for 2012 filled with health, loved ones and success in your endeavors.

  5. Thanks Anonymous # 1. I love that you are reading and I can't wait to share more.

  6. Wishing you the very same Anonymous # 2. Thanks for reading

  7. Katie, no way. I love Panatone. I guess we are spoiled here with such access to handmede Italian products that I take it for granted. You totally can skip it if you already have one. Ahead of the game girl.You too honey.

  8. Cheap Ethnic Eatz, I take a bow and thank you. Thank you so much darling. I wish you the very same babe. Big time.

  9. I'm stuck at the airport for another 4 hours. Naturally, I've already been eyeing the food magazines. Saw your panatone's Chad Robertson's! I'm already a huge Tartine Bread fan, so I'm definitely going to be making this. Is it too late to make it right now, with the holidays already over?

  10. Indeed. Cuccina Italiana. It is never too late for Panatone...