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Panettone: Learn the history of this Italian Christmas classic and the homemade recipe

  • Ingredients
  • 5 minutes of reading
The Christmas table would not be complete without the traditional panettone, also known as sweet bread or Easter bread in Latin America. It is said that this must-have for the end of year festivities has its origins in Milan, Italy. Is this true?
There are many stories about who invented it and how the first panettone was created. However, and without verified sources to confirm it, the most popular version is that this dessert arose, like many culinary delights, from an accident.
According to legend, during a Christmas meal at the mansion of a Milanese duke in the 15th century, the cook burned the dessert. So, one of the servants improvised and prepared bread with the available ingredients: eggs, flour, butter and grapes. The result was a bread that the diners loved and spread quickly.
Beyond the veracity of these stories, Milan is considered the cradle of this traditional recipe. Their connection with panettone is undeniable, since they managed to popularize this tradition in the rest of Italy during the 20th century, and later in Latin America thanks to migration.
Although the original recipe includes flour, water, fruits and natural fermentation, today there are many variations depending on the place and customs where it is prepared.
Nowadays, you can find everything from the traditional one with candied fruits to versions with chocolate chips, nuts or dulce de leche.
In Brazil, for example, it is commonly called “chocotone” when it contains chocolate, and in Argentina, it is usually consumed during Christmas dinners accompanied by cider. Ultimately, panettone is versatile in terms of styles, so choosing which one to try and how to enjoy it is a personal decision.

How to make homemade panettone


For 6 people
Type 00 strength flour 500 g
Fresh bakery yeast 40 g
Sugar 100 g
Milk powder 20 g
invert sugar 20 g
Butter 80 g
Eggs M2
Egg yolk M 1
Salt g
Mineral water 120 g
brown rum 15 ml
orange blossom water 15 ml
candied fruits 120 g
Corinthian raisins 80 g
Eggs to paint 1
Sugar to decorate 28 g
Butter for painting g


We will begin preparing a sponge the day beforer. To do this, in a bowl we add 200 g of the flour, the water and the yeast dissolved in it. We stir with a wooden spoon, cover with plastic or a cloth and let it rise slowly in the refrigerator for 12 hours.
The next day, we take the sponge out of the refrigerator and Let it cool for an hour in a warm place. from the kitchen. Next, in the bowl of a robot mixer or in a bowl if we are going to knead by hand, we add the remaining flour, the sponge, the two beaten eggs and the yolk, the invert sugar and the powdered milk. We knead for 10 minutes, let the dough rest for five minutes.
We add the sugar, and the orange zest and we knead another 10 minuteswe rest another five. We do the membrane test to check that the kneading is correct, that is, we stretch a ball of dough with our fingers and see that it forms a thin veil of dough that does not break. Then we add the butter in small pieces and the salt, knead for another 10 minutes. We check the dough again.
We stretch the dough into a rectangle carefully and add the candied fruits and raisins, turning it a few times until we integrate them into the dough. We roll the dough and we leave it in a floured bowl and covered with a cloth or film until it rises in a warm place away from drafts.
Once risen, we degas the dough with our knuckles and roll again and place the ball in a paper mold of one kilo of panettone or it can be divided into two 500 grams if we want smaller buns. We let it rise again inside the mold until it reaches the edge of the paper mold, this can be up to 5 or 6 hours later if the kitchen temperature is approximately 18 degrees. We paint with beaten egg and add a little sugar moistened with a few drops of water and a ball of butter.
We preheat the oven to 180 degrees, bake on the lower deck for 40 minutes. Once cooked, we pass a knitting needle through the base and hang it upside down until it cools.

What to accompany homemade panettone with

It may be that you are lazy and find it very laborious to do Panettone homemade, but I also tell you that you at least try to prepare it this Christmas, you will see the difference that exists between a commercial one and the homemade one, and of course you will be hooked with the texture and the unmatched flavor of the one made by you. To accompany it, well milk, tea, coffee or nothing, it is so delicious that you don't need travel companions.

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