Conquering Fear with Pan**** (BBB November 2022)

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BBB: Let's Keep Baking summary: panettone fears; recipe for Wild(ish) Pandoro …well, it starts with “P”…; substitutions galore; information about Bread Baking Babes;

I was terrified that [December’s bread] was going to be Panettone. (I know the Babes are crazy enough to suggest making it.)
– me, blog from OUR kitchen | Have you tried Taralli yet? (BBB December 2010)

Pandoro just out of the oven

Bread Baking Babes (BBB): Panettone

For this month, Judy (Judy’s Gross Eats) decided we would make the very kind of bread that terrorizes me. Since becoming a BBBabe in 2010, I have been dreading this very moment. (Hey! Isn’t October the month for scaring people??)

She decided that the BBBabes would make – eeeeeeek – panettone. That means lots of butter. Lots of sugar. Eggs. The need to hang the bread upside down so it doesn’t sink as it cools.

Here’s what expert baker Susan (Wild Yeast Blog) says:

I still hold my breath each time I make [panettone], because it’s fussy and needs to be pampered. But given patience, discipline, and a loving hand, it does not disappoint.
Panettone requires a very disciplined mixing technique. If you’re not willing to be patient with the mixing, don’t bother. I am not kidding. Really. Seriously. Trying to hurry it along will only backfire […]. Don’t ask me how I know this.
– Susan, Wild Yeast Blog | Panettone

Run for the hills!! Run for the hills!!

Please read on to learn what I did to the BBBabes’ November 2022 recipe:

BBB Panettone diary:

6 October 2022, 11:28 Wow, Judy’s panettone looks absolutely gorgeous! But. Eeeek!! I am terrified to make panettone.

But this is what our group is for, isn’t it? …to help us stretch out of our comfort level. Or something. :lalala:

7 November 2022, 18:32 We were at the supermarket today getting milk and noticed a giant display (several shelves full) of panettone boxes. And I suddenly realized that it’s almost time to make BBB panettone.

Eeeeeek!! Not only am I terrified of making panettone, but I will divulge our secret: We really don’t like it. But. Of course, we’ve only ever had commercial versions – those ones liberally laced with fake vanilla and way way way way way too much sugar. And terrible candied lemon. My face is all squinched up just thinking about it.

However, I’ve decided that it’s probably time to put away my fear. I’ll make a tiny panettone. Just to see if we like it after all. When it’s home-made.

9 November 2022, 16:36 I just did a little wandering around on the internet. I’ve changed my mind. I’m terrorized again.

Making a traditional homemade Panettone using Sourdough is a source of great satisfaction. It is certainly not an easy cake to prepare because its dough is complicated and needs to retain many fats and fruits. Do not be discouraged, though […] The choice of flour is crucial for Panettone, Pandoro, and any other leavened products. Choosing a good flour will make the difference between a successful dough and one that can’t incorporate the fats of the recipe or handle the acidity of the Sourdough. […] There is no getting away from it; to make an excellent Christmas Panettone, Sourdough is the second fundamental ingredient for succeeding in the recipe.
– Fred, Biancolievito | How to Make Artisanal Italian Panettone
Panettone is one of the few breads still naturally leavened in its modern form; there are yeast versions to make and buy but the process of making panettone has not been lost to time. This is not to say that it is easy. On the contrary, I can hardly think of a more challenging process more likely to go wrong in a myriad of ways. […] Focus on the strength of your starter; success flows from there. This recipe takes 8 days to make.

Cool the panettone. Remove the bread from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool, still in its pan, for 30 minutes. […] If using a coffee can or soufflé dish, unmold the bread and finish cooling it, top side up, on a soft pillow on the counter (covered with a piece of plastic wrap to keep it clean); the pillow gently supports the fragile crust until it firms up on cooling.
– Rose Levy Beranbaum, The Bread Bible (her Panettone recipe calls for commercial yeast only)
[T]his dough requires that you follow all of the tenets of sourdough. It is notoriously difficult. You want to push your gluten development to the maximum without causing it to break.
– James Morton, ‘Pandoro and Panettone’, Super Sourdough

12 November 2022, 09:37 I was looking up the difference between Pandoro and Panettone early this morning, and thinking about one of the reasons I’m not terribly excited about making Panettone: it’s all those flavourings. Especially the candied fruit and orange extract.

[G]li italiani divisi in due fazioni, quella amante del panettone, ricco di uvetta e canditi, simbolo di abbondanza e felicità; e quella che preferisce il pandoro, semplice ma ricco in burro e uova, con la sua inconfondibile forma a stella. […]
L’origine del panettone, il dolce di Milano per eccellenza, è molto antica, e risale addirittura al 1400. […] Sulle origini del Pandoro c’è chi narra fosse conosciuto già nell’antica Roma, attenendosi a quanto raccontava già Plinio il Vecchio (I sec. d.C.), parlando di un “panis” fatto con farina, burro e olio. Altri fanno risalire il pandoro al Rinascimento, quando nelle corti dei nobili veneziani si usava ricoprire i cibi con sottili foglie di oro, da cui, perciò, il nome “pan de oro”.
[Italians are divided into two factions, the panettone lovers, rich of raisins and candied, symbol of abundance and happiness; and whose prefer pandoro, simple but rich in butter and eggs, with its distinctive star shape. […] The origin of panettone, the genuine dessert of Milan, is very ancient, and dates back as far as 1400. […] About the origins of the pandoro, someone tells it was already known in the ancient Rome, about what already told Pliny the Elder (I sec. d.c.), talking about a “panis” (bread) made with flour, butter and oil. Others trace the pandoro to the Renaissance, when in the courts of the Venetian nobles it was used to cover the food with thin gold leaves, from which, therefore, the name “pan de oro” (golden bread).]
– Valentina Loporchio, | Meglio il panettone o il pandoro? Qual è il dolce natalizio preferito dagli italiani? [Better Panettone or Pandoro? Which is the most preferred Christmas cake by Italians?]
The odd thing about this specialty – given that we Italians love to cook and bake – is that it is hardly ever made at home and almost always purchased, perhaps because of its time-intensive baking process (the finicky dough alone takes 30 hours to rise).
– Eataly | Panettone and Pandoro: Italian Christmas Cakes
Panettone was probably born as the Christmas bread of Milan in medieval times, when bakers enriched the dough of daily bread, which they called panett, by adding butter, eggs, sugar, and sultana raisins, to make a big, dense festive loaf which they naturally named panettone.
– Carol Field, Savoring Italy, p.74

Then I looked in Maggie Glezer’s “Artisan Baking Across America” to see if she had one for panettone. No, but there IS a recipe there for Pandoro. It looks not at all unsimilar to the BBB recipe for Panetonne. Pretty much the only difference is the star-shape for Pandoro and the missing candied fruit.

Bruno's Pandoro - photo: Ben Fink

I showed the Ben Fink’s first photo of pandoro in Maggie Glezer’s book to T, and he exclaimed, “That’s what I want!”

Well. That clinches things doesn’t it?

It’s not as if I have ever been a particularly obedient BBBabe. But I’m afraid I’m going to transgress even further than usual and make Pandoro instead of Panettone.

Biagio Settepani had warned me, “For Pandoro, what you need is patience,” but he didn’t mean ordinary patience. He meant Pygmalion-like patience, the kind that would allow him to mix pandoro dough for over an hour and a half, while he slowly builds it with mere dribbles of eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and butter. […] The reward for this restraint, his Galatea, is one of Italy’s grandest celebration breads — pandoro. […] All that slow careful mixing makes the crumb light as spun gold, capable of being pulled away in long gossamer strands.
– Maggie Glezer, ‘Pandoro: Patience’s Reward’, Artisan Baking Across America, p.161

She goes on to say, “[Bruno] Biagio is sure that pandoro is related to brioche and was probably developed during the days when sourdough starter, called la madre in Italian, was the only leavener.

I wanted to try making this with ONLY our wild yeast, but I’m not up to the – um… shall we say “discussions” – that this would cause. I have already promised on several times that if the dough contains eggs and butter, I will use commercial yeast. The reply is always a relieved “Good”.

It really won’t do for this bread to fail. Hence, I will follow Glezer’s advice to add a “small amount of [commercial] yeast“.

If you are an experienced sourdough baker looking for a worthy challenge, this cake is it. You will need a very good sourdough starter and lots of patience while you mix it, but otherwise the recipe is not that difficult to make.
– Maggie Glezer, ‘Bruno’s Pandoro’, Artisan Baking Across America, p.164

I sure hope she’s right!

15:29 It suddenly occurred to me, especially considering its title (duh…), that I should look in the very first serious bread book T gave to me, way back in 2000: “The Italian Baker”, by Carol Field.

Panettone is a delicate and porous rich egg bread studded with raisins and bits of candied citorn and orange that is traditionally eaten by the Milanese on Christmas. These days it can be found all over Italy and America as well and not only during the holidays. […]
     If the beginnings of panettone are clouded with mystery, […] [it] was a much shorter and less dramatic bread until Angelo Motta founded his industrial company in 1921 and used natural yeast and his own tall cylindrical form to make the dazzlingly tall, domed panettone. […] There is nothing better with coffee or cappuccino for breakfast or with tea at midday, but the Milanese insist that it is best at Christmas with cream or, even better, fresh Mascarpone.
[Panettone, p.220]
This buttery golden bread is the Christmas specialty of Verona […] Although the name suggests pan d’oro (golden bread), pandoro is actually a dialect word for a Veronese desert made more than two centuries ago. […] Serve pandoro with fresh Mascarpone whipped with sugar and egg yolks, flavored with good rum, and sprinkled with chopped toasted almonds.
[Pandoro, p.236]
– Carol Field, ‘Sweet and Holiday Breads’, The Italian Baker

I see that I’m supposed to begin with firm starter. Ha. I’ve never done that before!! (Oh, yay, another thing to make me nervous.)
To Convert a Batter-type Sourdough Starter Into a Firm Starter
Many bakers already have liquid sourdough starters going and will want to convert them into firm starter to use in these recipes. Here is a simple way to proceed.
– Maggie Glezer, ‘French-style Sourdough Starter’, Artisan Baking Across America, p.93

Artisan Baking Across America, p.93

Using Glezer’s formula, here’s what I’ll try, to make about 40 grams firm starter:

8 grams Jane Mason starter from the fridge
8 grams water
25 grams unbleached “no additives” all-purpose flour

16:57 Ha!! Maggie Glezer has a slightly different connotation of “firm” than I do. THAT is down-right solid. It was all I could do to knead in all the flour. It’s now in the oven with only the light turned on. Fingers crossed that it will become “very active” by tonight at around 23:00 so I can go ahead to make the actual starter for the bread.

I hope. I can’t remember now if I’ve ever tried to feed our Jane Mason 100% whole wheat starter with all-purpose flour before. :lalala:

In the actual dough, Glezer calls for a small amount of cocoa butter. We don’t have that! Thank goodness for the internet….

I recommend the following 13 ultimate options you can consider for the cocoa butter substitution.
1. Homemade Cocoa Butter
2. Cocoa Powder
3. Cocoa Paste
4. Butter
5. Shea Butter
6. Kokum Butter
7. Coconut Oil
8. Coconut Butter
9. Palm Oil
10. Mango Kernel Fat
11. Cottonseed Oil
12. Soy Lecithin
13. White Chocolate
Cocoa butter is also well-known for its presence in cooking, especially chocolate making. It has a mild, fatty, and slightly bitter flavor. It does not taste like chocolate but has a chocolate smell.
[B]utter does not have a nice chocolatey smell like cocoa butter. Therefore, it is better for you to add some cocoa powder or vanilla extract along with the butter to your dishes. This will bring a sweet and aromatic flavor to your cooking.
– Jamie, Lacademie | 13 Incredible Cocoa Butter Substitutes

Oh yay. Butter makes the most sense to me. We do have coconut oil but I’m pretty sure neither of us wants to have the flavour of coconut oil in our pandoro. (I know I don’t.)

23:04 Well. It turns out it pays to read the recipe through completely. I went to check on the firm starter and it hadn’t even budged. Apparently, the firm starter for pandoro is begun with very active starter. NOT unfed starter from the fridge.

So. Sudden change of direction.

I left the little lump of dough in the oven with only the light on, and then made a slight alteration of the BBB recipe starter to use more Jane Mason starter from the fridge (instead of yeast) and the same amount of flour and water.

Tomorrow, I’ll continue with the second half of the BBB recipe but I’ll just leave the fruit and zest out and add a little honey, as per Maggie Glezer’s recipe.

If, by a miracle the little lump of starter has actually developed into something, I’ll just throw it into the dough. It’s such a small amount that it’s not as if it will harm things. I hope. :stomp:

13 November 2022, 09:25 That little lump of starter looks EXACTLY the same. The other starter looks kind of right but I don’t see a whole lot of bubbles. (I’m guessing that the Jane Mason starter really doesn’t like white flour – even if it’s unbleached.) What a good thing I’ve agreed to give in and use commercial yeast in the dough.

12:46 The 1st part of the dough (sans salt, some of the sugar, egg, vanilla, and butter) is mixed now and in the oven with only the light on. It’s pretty stiff dough….

I just finished having a fight (rather noisy with clattering and muttering and a few shrieks) with the awkward shaped things in a cupboard of things not used daily: spring form pans, quiche pan, bamboo steamers, large wooden salad bowl, thalis and katoris, popcorn maker, cookie tins, Mum’s pudding tin (what I wanted), pyrex nesting casserole dishes, etc. etc.

We’re going out on our bikes right now to blow off steam and get some more of the really good apple cider that we tasted at the farmers’ market yesterday (we bought two tins at the market to have with last night’s dinner; it was stellar, the best since France).

If, when we get home, the dough is still sitting like an unmoving lump, I’m not going to waste any sugar and butter by throwing good into bad.

fluted pan I’m feeling just a little pessimistic: I’m still ticked off that it took about 15 minutes to get Mum’s pudding tin out (I could reach it but it was jammed against the top of the cupboard, so I was compelled to take EVERYTHING out, finally get Mum’s pudding tin – it’s so lovely and the closest thing to a star shape that we have – then put EVERYTHING but Mum’s pudding tin and the small spring form pan back into the cupboard).

I looked at both the pudding tin and spring-form pan and decided that the pudding tin is better suited to this amount of dough. It’s buttered now. (At that point, I was feeling vaguely optimistic that this bread is going to work after all.)

15:37 It’s a miracle! The dough is bubbled up happily while we were gone.

Pandoro 1st Dough: risen

I have now added the ingredients for the 2nd dough, carefully smooshing in the butter gradually.

Pandoro 2nd Dough: before rising

To celebrate the success of the dough, we peeled some apples for pie to bake in our brand new 8 inch cast iron double handled pan that we splashed out on at the kitchen store located beside the liquor store. We’re very excited because the pan will fit in our toaster oven.

At the grocery store on the other side of the kitchen store, we bought 3 kinds of apples (Empire, Granny Smith, and Ambrosia) to make a pie.

We had never tasted Ambrosia apples before. We stole a few of the wedges before putting together the pie filling. Ambrosia apples are fabulous! They’re firm, crisp, and sweet (but not too sweet).

17:04 The dough rose beautifully and is now – sans candied fruit and peel – in Mum’s pudding pan. Here’s hoping that it still wants to double, even if it isn’t in the correct sort of pan.


If you’re not using the traditional panettone papers, I would recommend lining the pan with a piece of parchment; certainly, for the bottom and possibly for the sides.
– Judy, in message to BBBabes

Because of the fluting on the sides of Mum’s pudding tin, parchment paper is out of the question. Instead, I chose to butter the pan liberally with butter. What can go wrong? {cough}

18:31 How thrilling!! Look how much it has risen! I know the recipe says to let it rise to the top of the pan, but this isn’t exactly the same kind of pan, is it?

Pandoro: risen

19:05 I just took it out of the oven. It smells fantastic!

Bake the cakes for 30 to 35 minutes, rotating them halfway into the bake. The cakes are done when well browned all over (look at the sides of the cakes touching the mold to see if they are brown yet). Let the cakes cool in the molds for 30 minutes, then remove them from the molds and let them finish cooling upside down on a rack. You will notice their bottoms flattening out; this is correct.
– Maggie Glezer, ‘Bruno’s Pandoro’, Artisan Baking Across America, p.167

Ha! I like this! No hanging the cake upside down!

19:35 The moment of truth: after the obligatory 30 minute rest, would it come out of Mum’s pudding tin?


It did! It did! I do wish it were just a little darker gold, but it looks pretty beautiful, especially on the bottom. Or the top, depending on your point of view. T is convinced that the bottom is the top….


Whatever. Here’s hoping the inside is like gossamer and “light as spun gold”.

Alas, the crumb wasn’t quite like gossamer and as “light as spun gold” as I had hoped. But it was pretty amazingly delicious. It was soft and fluffy, with the added bonus that it passed the resident critic’s rigorous taste tests. T loves the cake.

Pandoro crumb
pandoro slice

I, on the other hand, am a little disappointed. When I saw beautiful gluten strands while I was kneading the dough, I really thought that I was going to achieve a crumb that looked like the photo in Glezer’s book.

Still, it was really really delicious. We warmed two wedges in the toaster oven. Then, in keeping with Carol Field’s recommendation, we served the cake with lightly sweetened whipped cream. For the next serving, we’ll have to remember to scatter some toasted almonds over top.

Pandoro with Whipped Cream

Thank you, Judy! I’m not sure I’ve entirely conquered my fear but we’re really happy you made us make this bread/cake.

Here is the November 2022 BBB recipe that we were given. And here is what I did to it:

Wild(ish) Pandoro
based on P.J. Hamel’s recipe for Panettone at King Arthur Flour, and the recipe for Bruno [Bagio]’s Pandoro in “Artisan Baking Across America” by Maggie Glezer

Never does [Bruno] foist too much ingredient on the budding dough. Instead he waits, biding his time, until the dough signals its readiness by gracefully lifting cleanly off the bowl […] The reward for this restraint, his Galatea, is one of Italy’s grandest celebration breads — pandoro. […] [I]t is intensely fragrant, with a golden honeycombed interior. All that slow careful mixing makes the crumb light as spun gold, capable of being pulled awasy in long gossamer strands.
– Maggie Glezer, ‘Pandoro: Patience’s Reward’, Artisan Baking Across America, p.161

makes 1 450-gram loaf/cake


  • 45 grams unbleached “no additives” all-purpose flour
  • spoonful (about 10 grams) 100% whole wheat Jane Mason starter
  • 37 grams water

First Dough

  • 4 grams active dry yeast
  • 29 grams water, approximately 100F
  • 50 grams unbleached “no additives” all-purpose flour
  • 2 grams cocoa powder
  • 5 grams wheat germ
  • all of the leavener from above, even if it seems it hasn’t budged
  • 10 grams sugar

Second Dough

  • all of 1st dough
  • 80 grams unbleached “no additives” all-purpose flour
  • 20 grams sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 5 grams honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 grams seasalt + 10 grams water
  • 2 tablespoons (29 grams) butter, softened


  • butter (as much as it takes)
  1. Leavener: On the evening before you will be baking pandoro, mix leavener ingredients in a smallish bowl. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave overnight in the oven with only the light turned on if it’s cool at night (or with the light turned off if it’s summer).
  2. First Dough: On the morning of the day you will be baking pandoro,
    1. take a small spoonful of the leavener and see if it floats in a bowl of cool water. It might not. If it doesn’t, comfort yourself with the fact that you are cheating, and adding commercial yeast. The failed wild leavener will still add flavour. (If it does float, be thrilled.) Whether it floats or not, proceed with making the dough by sifting flour and cocoa powder into a large mixing bowl. Whisk in wheat germ.
    2. Pour the warm (100F) water into a small bowl. (if you don’t have a thermometer, use the baby bottle test by putting a drop or two on the inside of your wrist.) Whisk the yeast into the water to dissolve it. Set aside.
    3. Add all of the leavener and 10 grams sugar to the flour mixture. Pour yeasted water overtop. Use a dough whisk (or wooden spoon) to stir everything together until all the flour is mixed in. Cover with a plate and leave in the oven with only the light turned on for about an hour.
  3. Second Dough: When there all lots of bubles and it looks like the dough has doubled,
    1. Sift all-purpose flour over top. Add 20 grams sugar, the lightly beaten egg, vanilla, and honey. Use the dough whisk (or wooden spoon), then one hand (use the other hand to steady the bowl – this way you always have a clean hand) to lift and fold the dough over onto itself to create a soft smooth dough that pulls away from the side of the bowl.
    2. Adding the butter and salt: When all the flour is mixed in, lift and fold in a small amount of the softened butter. Pour 10 grams of water and 4 grams salt overtop. Squoosh the salt into the dough. Once it is dough again, gradually add the rest of the butter. “Gradually” is the key here. Embrace the mesmerizing experience of adding more and more butter to what is already beautiful silken dough.
    3. Cover the bowl with a plate and set aside in the oven with only the light turned on until the dough has doubled.
  4. Prepare the Pan: Liberally butter the fluted pan, making sure to butter the center pipe as well. (If you are using a straight sided, plain round pan, you might want to use parchment paper instead.)
  5. Shaping: After very lightly flouring the board, gently turn the dough out onto the board and gently fold it into a rectangle. Use the dough scraper to fold the dough in half length wise. Repeat. (You’re looking to create a loose rope.)
  6. Using both hands, arrange the dough into a ring around the center pipe of the fluted tin. Cover the tin with an overturned mixing bowl and put it into the oven, with only the light turned on, to rise until doubled. (In retrospect, you may want to let it rise until it reaches the top of the tin.)
    Check the cakes to see if they have fully risen; they sould be well domed over the molds. […] When [the cakes] are ready, uncover them to let them form a light skin.
    – Maggie Glezer, ‘Bruno’s Pandoro’, Artisan Baking Across America, p.167
  7. pre-heating the oven: About 20 minutes before you think it’s time to bake the bread, turn the oven on to 400F. (Don’t forget to take the rising bread out of the oven before turning it on. Please don’t ask why I say this….)
  8. baking: Make sure the oven is hot before proceeding. Put the uncovered tin into the oven and immediately turn it down to 350F (or 375F if your oven runs cool). Bake for about 35 minutes, until the bread is golden.
    The cakes are done when well browned all over (look at the sides of the cakes toucing the mold to see if they are brown yet).
    – Maggie Glezer, ‘Bruno’s Pandoro’, Artisan Baking Across America, p.167
  9. When it is done, remove to cool in its tin right side up on a wire rack for 30 minutes. At that point, remove it from its tin and continue cooling upside down on the wire rack. When it is perfectly cool, Maggie Glezer suggests storing it in a large plastic bag. She claims that if the cake is well wrapped, it will keep for at least a month. As if….

Serve in wedges (re-warm them in the toaster oven) with lightly sweetened whipped cream that may or may not have rum added. Apparently, toasted slivered almonds scattered over-top is a nice addition too.


Wild and Commercial Yeast: The BBB recipe calls for using commercial yeast only. But the traditional recipe for panettone (or pandoro) call for using wild yeast only. (I did want to try this with wild yeast alone, but because of earlier wild yeast bread failures with sugar, butter, and eggs, I had to promise T that I would use commercial yeast in at least part of the bread.)

Rats!! Silly me. I completely forgot about Susan McKenna Grant’s book hidden behind the aprons on the book shelf. Her outline for converting active sourdough into a stiff starter is much clearer than the method laid out by Maggie Glezer. (Or perhaps, it’s clearer simply because I’ve tried doing it more recently and misread the instructions before….)
...plan ahead
It appears that the key is to use “active sourdough starter” to make the stiff starter, rather than starter directly from the fridge. This will add an extra day to the process. Or require bread making on the first day. Or something.

Pandoro, Panettone and Colomba […] I will confess at the outset, this is not a recipe for those in need of a quick and easy dessert. […]
[I]t is astonishing how light and delicate [these celebratory bread] taste and to what spectacular heights the natural leaven raises the. I’ve spent years tracking down authentic recipe for these famous cakes in an attmpt to unravel their mystery for the home baker. […] These breads cannot be rushed. You need time, several days or more if you don’t already have an active sourdough. […] [T]hese are not cakes you just whip up. The starter must be very strong, and this requires time. […] The egg, sugar and butter must be incorporated very slowly, so as not to challenge the formation of a strong dough. If gluten development is discouraged by the addition of too much fat and sugar too quickly, the dough will not rise. […] Having said all that, the actual making of the bread is not that difficult.
Convert Your Liquid Starter to a Stiff Starter
Day 1 Early in the Morning:
   85 g (3 oz) active sourdough starter
   85 g (3 oz) bread flour
   42 g (1.5 oz) water
Eight Hours Later:
Discard all but 85 g […]
Day 2:
Repeat the entire process, giving the starter three more refreshments […]
Day 3:
In the morning and at noon refresh the starter as described above. […]
– Susan McKenna Grant, ‘I Dolce | The Sweet Course’, Piano Piano Pieno, p.377-379

Aha!!! I knew there was a reason for me to pay zero attention to Susan McKenna Grant’s recipe for Panettone. She advocates 3 days to get the starter really strong. 3 days! Before even starting to make the cake. I know me; I can’t stand the idea of discarding all that flour OR of making so much bread and/or crackers. This is probably why I forgot that she had included her recipe for panettone/pandoro.

Baking Temperature and Time: Please remember that our oven is different from yours, so the baking time and temperature may need to be different.
Most domestic ovens, whether gas, electric, fan assisted or solid fuel, will bake bread quite adequately. But, not surprisingly, some are better than others. […] [T]he temperature in the oven may have to fall by as much as 30°C before the thermostat calls for renewed heat, so the item being baked is subjected to a constantly oscillating temperature. […] The knobs and dials on domestic ovens are notoriously unreliable. Even where they indicate a precipe temperature rather than a rough guide or a regulo number, you should regard the setting as approximate. […] [A]ll that is really required is to know what setting gives a cool, moderate or hot oven. […] [I]f you understand roughly what heat a loaf requires (e.g. pretty hot for a big, wet, rye sourdough, moderate for an enriched sweet bread), you won’t go far wrong
– Andrew Whitley, Bread Matters, Chapter three: Taking Control


T says he loves this bread and thinks it would be perfect for making faux rum baba. He’s going to make rum syrup for us to drizzle over the cake….

Last night, he made good on his promise. Really good.

Turning Pandoro into Baba au Rhum
BBB November 2022
BBB November 2022

Decadent?? Us??? Nah. :-) :-)

Bread Baking Babes BBB: Let's Keep BakingPanettone

Judy is hosting November 2022’s Bread Baking Babes’ project. She wrote:

Around the holidays, I enjoy eating panettone, which is the only time of year I can find it. What if I want some at another time? Or, I want to select different ingredients? Or, eliminate additives or preservatives? […] The combinations are many. I suppose one could even omit the fruit, maybe add chopped nuts?
– Judy, in message to BBBabes

Oh, look!! How handy is this? Judy has (sort of) given me permission to omit the fruit! Yay. It feels good to be a not-quite-as-wayward-as-I-thought BBBabe. :-)

We know you’ll want to make easy panettone (or pandoro…) too! To receive a Bread Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site: make the crescents in the next couple of weeks and post about them (we love to see how your bread turns out AND hear what you think about it – what you didn’t like and/or what you liked) before the 29 November 2022. If you do not have a blog, no problem; you can also post your picture(s) to Flickr (or any other photo sharing site) and record your thoughts about the bread there. Please remember to contact the Kitchen of the Month to say that your post is up.

Please note that it’s not enough to post about your bread in the Facebook group. Because of the ephemeral nature of Facebook’s posts, your FB post may be lost in the shuffle. Please make sure to directly contact the kitchen of the month if you want to be included in the BBBuddy roundup.

For complete details about this month’s recipe, the BBB and how to become a BBBuddy, please read:

Please take a look at the other BBBabes’ November 2022 panettoni:


hahahahahaha! Look!! We’re not alone!

     I’ve never seen an Italian eat pannetone. No wonder – it’s a monstrosity that tastes awful and comes in a box so big it takes up half the kitchen […] [P]anettone, the Italian part-bread, part-cake monstrosity that fills the shelves of every Italian deli and supermarket throughout November and December, and is, inevitably on sale for a knock-down price right up until spring. It is, for some inexplicable reason, […] encased in a box you could fit a family of four in […], and it tastes like Gandhi’s flip-flop after three months in the desert.
     No one actually likes this so-called Christmas delicacy, but few will admit it. Folk lumbered with one will go to great lengths to disguise it – you only have to look up “recipes for panettone” to see what I mean – panettone French toast. Panettone trifle. Toasted panettone. Panettone bread pudding. No wonder it has to be lashed with booze and cream. […] Last year I took the unwanted item to a neighbour when invited round for a seasonal drink and she begged me to take it away because it was too big to chuck in the bin. […]
– Julie Bindel, The Guardian (UK) | Save us from panettone – the festive delicacy nobody likes, December 2013

I cannot stop laughing. (Many of the commenters took umbrage though.)

edit: Did I say I couldn’t stop laughing? I’ve changed my mind. This is what we woke up to this morning:

Toronto: 16 November 2022
“light dusting”, eh? Way to go, Weather Forecasters!

5 responses to “Conquering Fear with Pan**** (BBB November 2022)

  1. Kelly (A Messy Kitchen)

    Lol! Yummy! And Lol again! I think the crumb looks smashing! I really need to try with the mascarpone or whipped cream. For me, the homemade peel makes a decisive difference. Susan’s recipe was amazing and light and like a sponge cake. I really expected panettone to be dry. It looks dry. And I really don’t like purchased peel. Loved the vanilla bean and orange zest. No flavorings otherwise. I noticed in the comments, people made it work without any added yeast. I did take the time to feed the stiff starter for quite a few days though it was ready sooner, but Susan has you working with just 10g at a time initially until ready to use it. I threw a couple pieces back in my liquid starter which had been sitting for a month or so and when I worked it in and fed it up, it went crazy within hours!

    edit 17 November 2022, 09:09: Thank you, Kelly! Granted, the crumb was pretty darn good; it just wasn’t like gossamer. :lalala: Next times. That’s right. It has been decreed that we neeeeeeeeed to have this bread again. Maybe I’ll try doing it with all wild yeast. Maybe…. It’s your tip that extra firm starter can go back into liquid starter to make it even more active. Now if only I can get a handle on planning ahead…. – Elizabeth

  2. Cathy (Bread Experience)

    Panettone without the fruit sounds interesting. I bet it’s almost like eating a slice of cake. I could get into that. Your crumb looks fabulous and what a great idea to use a pudding tin. There are lots of possibilities with this bread. Definitely worth another go.

    edit 17 November 2022, 09:16: It’s EXACTLY like eating cake, Cathy. Delicious cake. And yes, it’s definitely worth another go. I might even be tempted to add some raisins to make it closer to panettone. No, wait: currants! – Elizabeth

  3. Karen (Karen's Kitchen Stories)

    I do have a pandoro pan that I sprung for to make pandoro just once. Now it’s sitting staring at me, taunting me. I’ll have to make it again! Thanks for the reminder.

    edit 17 November 2022, 09:19: You have a pandoro pan, Karen? I’m so envious. You have to try it. It will be so thrilling to have those straight edges on the cake. – Elizabeth

  4. Judy (Judy's Gross Eats)

    Nicely done. Rum is always a good addition. I think I soaked the fruit in rum this time around. Then, drank the soaking liquid. My favorite commercial panettone just contained chocolate chips. Also, on Instagram, I follow a bakery in Australia, and they just announced their Chocolate Panettone for the season. Next iteration, perhaps?

    edit 17 November 2022, 09:23: Thank you again for compelling me to make it, Judy. (I was SO close to claiming that the dog ate my homework so I couldn’t manage to make this bread. But then I knew this might not fly because we don’t have a dog…. :stomp: ) “Next iteration”??? Eeeeeeek!!! Excuse me while I go out to get a dog. – Elizabeth

  5. Katie Zeller (Thyme for Cooking)

    Like the American Fruit Cake – it’s oft been said that there is only 1 fruit cake – it just makes the rounds of the entire country every year. No one actually eats it.
    I used to buy my mother a Panettone for Christmas – she loved it toasted. Not being a fan of most dried fruit I think I would like yours.
    BTW, just want across my post for taralli the other day (see your 1st box lol)

    edit 19 November 2022, 09:10: I guess you’re right, Katie. But really, most commercial version of both Christmas cake and Panettone are pretty disgraceful and it’s no wonder that they have a reputation for being used as doorstops rather than food. (hahahahaha! I just looked at your taralli post. So. Did you ever try making 25 inch taralli? Just to see if they would work?) – Elizabeth


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