Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Panettone

Tuesday, November 14, 2006
I had volunteered to bring bread to my Tuesday night book club and was trying to figure out how I could bake a bread on Tuesday and still go to work, having decided that I was not going to do Bring Your Bread to Work Day again. I looked at the recipes for the three remaining breads I had and decided that panettone would work well because the recipe allows for many hours of optional refrigerator time.
On Saturday, we went to Trader Joe's and got some chestnuts and a nice raisin medley. I had already ordered the Fiori di Sicilia--the essential flavoring for the bread, and the decorative paper breadpans, so I was all ready (except for the orange, which I forgot and had to send Jim out to fetch early Sunday morning). And, by the way, Jim is perfectly happy in his role of fetcher of forgotten ingredients for, as well as eater and photographer of bread.
I made the sponge on Saturday night, mixed the dough, let it rise, and shaped it on Sunday, and then put it in the refrigerator. I left careful instructions for Jim, who was working from home today: take dough out of refrigerator at noon and call me when it has risen up to the top of the paper pan. When I called him at 3:00 to check on its progress, he said it was still 3 to 4 inches below the top. I told him how to improvise a proofing box and then worried about why my poor bread was being so slow when it had been lustily rising away two days earlier. I fretted so much I decided I might as well just leave work early to check on it. Although Jim had concocted an excellent makeshift proofing box, the bread was still below the top of the bread pan. Still, it looked very pretty and puffy so I just hoped it would all turn out all right, which, in fact, it did, and it was still warm when I toted it to book club.
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I honestly wasn't that keen on making panettone. We got one last year from Harry and David and, while it was not disgusting, it wasn't anything to write home about. In fact, I ended up taking half of it into work where they eat anything. But--sorry Harry and David--this bread is so far superior to what I got last year, it shouldn't even share the same name. It's rich, buttery and feather-light, with a hint of sweetness and a wonderful citrusy tang, and just the right amount of raisins. If I owned the above-named mail order company, I think I would think hard about changing my panettone recipe to, say, this one.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excellent choice to follow croissants. It really looks fabulous and yummy. I love your comments about H&D pannetone. I think their sales have just dropped. But I totally agree with you, if you get a good recipe, home baked is so much better. Now about that Jim...he is a good boy! I love his photos of the breads and friends. Can I ask for him to take a picture of you with the next bread? Cheers, Melinda

Doughadear said...

Marie, your panettone looks wonderful! I’ve been baking panettone for years with good results but there is an essence in the panettone that are imported from Italy that I would like in my panettone and I think that it may be the Fiore di Sicilia . I had never heard of this extract until I read through Rose’s recipe, which is on my to do list, unfortunately it is very hard to find here and King Arthur doesn’t ship to Canada. I am sure the results will be great with the vanilla extract. Rose’s recipe are so great! You’re almost there!

breadbasketcase said...

Melinda,
There may be a family picture taken at Thanksgiving, depending on how photogenic everyone is feeling.

breadbasketcase said...

Doughadear,
The fiori di sicilia is the extract that Rose recommends for an authentic panettone. It's a little bit vanilla-y and a little bit citrusy. Because you also add grated orange peel to the dough, I think that you could use just vanilla instead of the sicilian flower extract and no one would be the wiser.

Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving in advance! I sure miss this wonderful celebration with my sisters. It is quite the 'cook fest' when we all get together. I think next year I will have another friends Thanksgiving here. Just too busy this year, and my daughter is at university so no holiday time is given.
How is the weather there? I imagine it to be snowing, is that right? (I guess I have been in England too long that I just have to ask about the weather!) When I lived in Oregon we used to have trouble travelling home at Thanksgiving due to freezing rain. But I guess that would be nothing to you hardy Minnesota types!
Sorry I misspelt panettone. I didn't pay attention. So... tart yourself up girl, because we all want a picture. Ta, Melinda

Rose Levy Beranbaum said...

decided to take a little break from answering g-mail questions and was rewarded with your latest posting. so great to know that jim is taking these incredible photos as i was begining to get a little jealous that any one person had so many talents--and what a sport he is monitoring the rising bread!what a nice project this has turned out to be for both of you!
the texture and golden color are just breath-taking.
i have to say that the fiori di sicilia is truely unique so next time anyone from canada (my husband's birthplace by the way) comes to the states do bring some back over the border--i hope you don't get me arrested for this advice but i know marie will defend me right?
albert uster supplies king arthur and though you may have to order a large size it keeps indefinitely refrigerated. but the panettone will still be wonderful without it.
only 2 to go--unbelieveable!!! i can't remember which remain--hmmmmsweet potato biscuits? challah? focaccia with herbs? cinnamon crumb surprise? well i guess i'll have to be patient!

Anonymous said...

Imported Pannetone is dry, flavorless with a rough crumb.A lot of people buy it though. I bought one just to compare with the Pannettone I made with Rose's recipe. I also noticed the recipe on the package for bread pudding using their panettone; maybe they realize out of hand eating of their bread is not up to par;make bread pudding. Maybe your paper size was to large for the recipe. I used a paper that was 5
and1/2 " across the bottom and my bread was 6" total height after baking. Great pictures! I have some on photo bucket.Laurel

Jim said...

I appreciate the kind words about the pictures. I have taken most of them, but not all since I am sometimes out-of-town or just not available at the right time. Ironically, given these compliments, Marie took the pictures for the panettone because the husbands of her book group members go out on book group nights. I have to acknowledge that Marie is actually the better photographer; I happen to have the digital camera and the software to crop the pictures and tweak the colors, light, and focus. I usually take 15 to 20 shots and gussy them up, but Marie has the eye to choose them and post them.

bcbasslet said...

my teacher of sicilian cooking at the institute of culinary education in new york brought some Fiori di sicilia to class tonight and told us you could put a dab behind each ear... she passed the wee bottle around and we all agreed. what a treasure. i just ordered some from ka. I found this blog in my google searching. Harry and David , i so agree, are just awful, on almost anything, imho.

breadbasketcase said...

BC,
A Sicilian cooking class--what a wonderful thing! I'm envious. I tried the Fiori di Sicilia as perfume idea, and I liked it a lot. Earthy and warm.

jkandell said...

I'm pretty sure the Fiori di siciilia sold by King Arthur is just a combination of vanilla and orange extracts: look at the ingredients. There is an expensive extract sold in Italy made from flowers but I don't think they sell it in the States.

breadbasketcase said...

jkandell,
You might be right that it's just vanilla and orange extracts, but it sounds so much prettier as fiori di sicilia.

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