Thursday, April 4, 2013

Baking Bread

My Panettone
There is nothing better then the scent of freshly baked bread.  I have worked on perfecting my Panetone recipe and the family loves this bread.

Panettone is an Italian Christmas bread that usually has chunks of dried oranges and raisins.  I use cran-raisins instead and it taste great. It's a long recipe, but so worth the time.


1 1/2 cups of dried cran-raisins
1 1/2 cups of red or Marsala wine
1/2 cup tequila (optional)
2   1/4 ounce packages of quick active dry yeast
Traditional Panettone Shape
Pinch of sugar
1/2 cup of luke warm water
5 cups of all-purpose flour
3/4 cups of sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 1/2 ounces room temperature butter (cut into small pieces)
6 eggs at room temperature + 1 egg white
1 egg yoke
1/4 cup of whole milk

Combine cran-raisins, wine, and tequila (if using) in a bowl to macerate. Combine yeast, pinch of sugar, and luke warm water in a bowl, stir and let stand 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, put flour, sugar, salt, butter, eggs, and egg white into a mixer.  With the dough hook, mix at a slow speed.  Slowly add yeast mixture. When all ingredients are combined, mix at medium speed for 6 to 8 minutes.  The dough is a little sticky, but will be shiny and gather around the dough hook.

Set dough into a bowl that has been lightly greased with oil.  Cover with saran wrap and put in a draft free place for approximately 2 hours.  Dough should be doubled in size.  Put dough on a floured surface and gently knead for a few minutes.  Put back into bowl and allow to rise for approximately 1 - 2 hours.  Dough should double in size.  By allowing the bread to rise so many times, you will have the right texture--airy with tiny holes.

After second rising, drain cran-raisins (I reserve the liquid. It tastes awesome over ice cream).  Pat dry with a paper towel.  Knead cran-raisins into dough and divide into 2 pieces.  Place in a greased loaf pan, and allow to rise for about 1 more hour.  Cut a slit down the middle with a sharp knife.  Mix egg yoke and milk and brush over bread.  Heat oven to 375 degrees and bake for 35 - 45 minutes depending on your oven.  I use the Pampered Chef mini loaf pan, so I divide my dough into 4 smaller loafs.  Cool on a rack.  Taste wonderful hot and fresh from the oven.  Cover well if there is any left! 

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