Updated: Sep 13
The story - Italy's sweet temptation: Everything about the Panettone
The aroma of fresh panettone, with its sweet aromas and soft texture, is an unmistakable sign of the Christmas season. But where does this cake come from and how has it become a globally beloved Christmas classic?
The origin of Panettone is surrounded by legends and opinions. Some believe that it originated from the ancient Roman tradition where sweet dishes made of wheat flour and honey were prepared for special occasions.
Others claim that the cake was invented in the 15th century in Milan by a pastry chef named Toni, who accidentally created a new creation that quickly became the favorite food of the Milanese.
Another opinion states that the Panettone only took its current form in the 20th century. Previously, it was a thin, hard flatbread eaten by the poor and had no connection to Christmas.
But then in the 1920s, Angelo Motta introduced a new dough recipe and began the "tradition" of a dome-shaped Panettone. In the 1970s, independent bakeries began producing dome-shaped Panettone to compete with the growing competition from supermarkets.
Today, the Panettone is a culinary masterpiece and a symbol of Christmas time. Every year, thousands of Panettone are made, often with old family recipes and secret ingredients. It is a symbol of love and hospitality and is often given as a gift or shared with family.
The Italian historian and gastronomist has written numerous books on Italian cuisine. One source that confirms his opinion on the origin of panettone is his book "La cucina italiana" (Italian cuisine), which he co-wrote with Massimo Montanari.
The Italian baker and author has written several books about Italian baked goods, including "Il Grande Libro del Panettone" (The Big Book of Panettone), in which he shares his opinion on the origin of panettone.
The Italian historian and gastronome has written numerous books about Italian cuisine, including "Il mondo in cucina" (The World in the Kitchen) and "Cibi della storia" (Foods of History), in which he also writes about the Panettone.
The Italian gastronome has written numerous articles and books about Italian cuisine, including "I segreti del panettone" (The Secrets of Panettone), in which he also writes about the history of Panettone.
Although the origins of the Panettone remain disputed, its popularity and symbolic significance as a Christmas food unites us. Regardless of who invented the Panettone, it is undisputed that it remains a staple of culinary tradition to this day.
The quality of the ingredients and the precise manufacturing process are crucial for the unique taste and texture of the Panettone. Therefore, it is essential to invest enough time and pay attention to the highest quality and precision to obtain a truly good Panettone
Production process: how Da Mamma Panettone is made
The 7 ingredients of Panettone and their roles
Lievito madre: Is the sourdough, which consists of a combination of bacterial cultures that allow the dough to ferment
Water: Is used to manage the sourdough and knead the dough.
Flour: Is crucial for the success of the Panettone. The flour should have a high protein quality and not contain any additives such as ascorbic acid or added gluten. The flour should remain the same throughout the year to allow for the production of Panettone at any time of the year.
Egg yolks: Contain a lot of lecithin, which helps to emulsify the dough and is important for the shelf life of the Panettone.
Sugar: Regulates the fermentation of the dough by the sourdough. If dosed incorrectly, it can lead to poor results.
Fruits: Are important ingredients for the Panettone, only for the Panettone Tradizionale, which uses raisins and candied fruits.
Butter: Is important for the softness of the Panettone and gives it a characteristic taste and smell.
The recipe consists of two doughs: the first dough and the second dough - 72 hours of craftsmanship
The first dough (Il primo impasto)
To prepare the first dough, the ingredients need to be prepared, including the Lievito Madre, which is mixed with water to start the dough.
The choice of flour is also crucial, it should be rich in protein and not contain any additives such as ascorbic acid or added gluten.
The first dough must ferment carefully to avoid becoming too sour and to keep the yeast active. A sour dough would kill the yeast and spoil the second dough
The second dough (Il secondo impasto)
The second dough is then made from the first dough and contains additional ingredients such as egg yolks, sugar, fruits, and fats like butter or margarine, which give the Panettone its softness and flavor.
The second dough is shaped and fermented again before finally being baked.
Overall, the production of Panettone requires patience, care, and a good knowledge of the Lievito Madre and the ingredients used to achieve a high-quality result.
The "pirlatura" of the Panettone
"Pirlatura" refers to a special technique used in the production of panettone. It involves gently rolling and compressing the dough to avoid large air bubbles in the dough. This is important to ensure a uniform texture and consistency in the panettone.
La lievitazione - the fermentation
The length of the fermentation process depends on the amount of filling and yeast used, as well as the size of the Panettone. A good fermentation is achieved when the dough reaches the bottom of the paper mold. Then, the dough is placed in the oven.
An interesting fact is that sometimes it is better to let the dough rise in the oven rather than for hours in the fermentation chamber. The reason for this is that the bacterial flora in the fermentation chamber consumes the dough, while the dough can develop perfectly in the oven. After the dough has risen, if necessary, it is scored before being placed in the oven.
The "Scarpatura" of the Panettone
Finally, the top of the Panettone is brushed with butter to give it shine. In the past, the top was also marked with a cross-shaped cut, which originated from the bread of rural communities who thanked God for their daily bread in this way.
Overall, making a Panettone is a labor-intensive process that requires patience and skill. However, if you invest the time and effort, you can create a delicious and impressive Christmas pastry that will delight family and friends.
How is the Panettone baked?
Baking the Panettone requires the utmost care and attention, as a mistake can result in an inedible outcome. Therefore, the baking time is a crucial process.
You must bake the Panettone at a low temperature to ensure that it rises perfectly and does not burn.
The temperature depends on your oven and whether it is ventilated or static. For a ventilated oven, I recommend a temperature of about 120-130 degrees Celsius.
To ensure that your Panettone is perfectly baked, you can use a thermometer and insert it into the Panettone to measure the temperature.
Make sure it is positioned at the core of the Panettone to ensure that it is baked at 92 degrees Celsius.
Why is the Panettone hung upside down?
The Panettone must be kept upside down for 12 hours because the gluten structure is unstable when hot. Gravity helps maintain the dome shape. There is another reason why the Panettone must be kept upside down for 12 hours, which is to allow the moisture to escape. Therefore, the bottom, which is in direct contact with the packaging, should remain open. After the 12 hours have passed at room temperature, we can remove the sticks and store the Panettone in a polypropylene package.
What is the reason behind the long shelf life of Panettone?
The packaging should be well sealed to prevent oxygen from entering. The Panettone can be consumed 45 days after it was made to allow the flavors to spread throughout the dough and create a better taste experience. Our fantastic Panettone has an exceptional aroma and can be considered well baked at 92 degrees, with a beautiful color. As previously mentioned, an artisan-made Panettone can be consumed up to 45 days after it was made and lasts about a month if no preservatives or enhancers are added.