Tuesday, December 1, 2009

panettone - bread baker's apprentice challenge #24

Oh sweet Panettone. Even though bread 24 in the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge came out of my oven in November, it's a very December 1st style bread. Originating in Milan, there seems to be quite a few claims on it's beginnings. Which, believe what you want, makes no difference to me..why, because it tastes so damn good I can look past it's questionable birth.

With our small world, it's possible to get panettone at almost any grocery store these days. Something that I think would have originally been sold at our local Italian centres, you can now find panettone from Wal-Mart to Superstore. So what's the difference here?

The initial fermentation is not done with commercial, but by wild-yeast. The recipe requires a wild yeast sponge, which takes about a week to create. Of course, that's if your attempt at the seed culture actually works. This initial stage adds a depth and flavour profile you just wouldn't be able to produce in a quick, one day, commercial product. So take that boxed, readily available panettone *sticks out tongue*

Even once you have successfully created your barm, the bread takes a few days. One of the most delicious aspects is the fruit blend. For the pictures in this post, I soaked 6 ounces of jumbo flame raisins and 6 ounces of craisins in 1/2 cup of rum, mixed with lemon and vanilla extract.
The result was fantastic. The fruit soaked up all the booze and the bread was soft and sweet. Really, egg, milk and sugar to wonders for the taste buds! It was great to eat plain or warmed slightly by the toaster. I'm currently creating my second attempt, with some variations as I write this. I've taken out the craisins and mixed in 6 ounces of candied peel, as well as using scotch instead of rum and including 5 ounces of slivered, blanched almonds. From just the smell alone, this version seems better. The scotch and mixed peel are (hopefully) going to take this to the next level! I'll be sure to include a picture. Happy December.

* The first picture was taking by Sarah, for her 365 day photo blog. Why not have a peek.


Cathy (breadexperience) said...

Your Panettone loaves look delicious! Makes me want to bake this one again. Scotch...interesting. I'm curious to see how that one turns out. Happy Baking!

Chris said...

Thanks Cathy. I'm just waiting for the scotch version to cool. I'm so excited that panettone worked out. So pillowy and delicious.

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