Easy Panettone is a festive take on an Italian classic. A buttery soft brioche-style dough holds rum-soaked raisins, orange zest, and dried cherries. This towering beauty will spruce up any holiday spread.
Easy Panettone Bread
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As the holiday season begins, panettones make their yearly appearance on grocery displays. This stunning domed bread has so much to offer in terms of flavor and appearance. Its soft, fluffy texture meshes perfectly with the candied and dried fruits throughout.
The downside of pre-packaged panettones is that they often contain additives and preservatives. If you’ve ever been brave enough to make this bread from scratch, you may know they traditionally take a LOT of work! Sometimes there’s even a step where you have to hang it upside down to cool it–who has time for that?
I came up with a simpler way with this Easy Panettone recipe. You will still need to prep a day in advance before baking. The raisins and cherries need to soak in bourbon for a few hours, and the brioche dough will need to rise overnight.
Adding dried fruit to any bread recipe can sometimes sap the dough of moisture. This can cause the loaf to become dry and/or cracked. A good soak to rehydrate the fruit prevents this from happening. Plus, a little extra bourbon is never a bad thing.
But the wait is worth it, and it is mostly that–lots of waiting. Then you’ll have the best panettone bread ever.
How to Make Easy Panettone
Soak the fruits. Soak the raisins and cherries in bourbon and water for at least 1 hour.
Bloom the yeast. Whisk water and yeast together in a small bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes.
Combine the dries. In the bowl of a stand mixer, sift together the flours, sugar, and salt.
Make the dough. Using a dough hook, turn the mixer on low and add the eggs into the dries one at a time, beating well after each addition. Next, you’ll sprinkle in the yeast and continue beating on low speed for 5 minutes.
Scrape and continue. Stop the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn the mixer back on low and beat for 5 more minutes.
Add butter slowly. Add the butter in chunks, breaking off ⅓ of a cube at a time. Beat for about 1 minute after each addition, so they’re fully incorporated. Once all the butter is in, beat for 10 more minutes until the dough is smooth.
Let dough rest & rise. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Leave it to rest in a warm place until doubled in size, about 3 hours.
Knead and add fruits. Drain the dried fruits well. Turn the dough out on a well-floured counter and gently knead out the air bubbles. Fold the soaked fruit into the dough along with the orange zest, kneading gently to combine.
Refrigerate overnight. Return the dough to the bowl, cover it with plastic, and refrigerate overnight.
Divide and pan the dough. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and cut it in two. Shape each half into a rectangle, then place them into 2 buttered loaf pans. Or roll into two balls and place in a Panettone Mold.
Let it rise again. Set the pans aside in a warm place until the dough rises about ½ inch above the pans, roughly 2 hours.
Egg wash and bake. Lightly brush each loaf with egg wash. Then bake the loaves in a 350°F oven until they’re golden brown on top, about 30-35 minutes.
Remove and cool. After letting them cool for 2-3 minutes, turn the bread out of each pan onto a cooling rack. Let cool completely.
Bakeable Paper Panettone Pans keep your bread dough moist while rising and allow your Panettone to bake up with the signature dome.
You can add different bulk ingredients to Easy Panettone to suit your tastes. Traditional options include candied orange zest and sliced almonds. If you can get your hands on candied chestnuts (marrons glacés), they’re a tasty addition, too.
If you’re not a bourbon fan, try soaking the dried fruits in brandy. You can decide for yourself how much you want to water down the alcohol. Other options for dried fruits include apricots, cranberries, or even chopped dates.
Tips & Tricks
- Keep an eye on the rising dough. How long your dough takes to rise will depend on how warm your kitchen is. So be sure to check on it periodically. If your bread becomes over-proofed, it could make it dense and flat.
- Wrap it while it’s hot. If you’re not serving Easy Panettone immediately, wrap the hot bread in foil. Store it at room temperature for up to 2 days.
- Don’t skip the pastry/cake flour. These flours add lightness and height to the finished panettone, so they’re worth seeking out.
This Easy Panettone Recipe is great in so many ways. Of course, you can’t go wrong by toasting and slathering it with butter.
If you have leftovers, you have options, too. I’d start by making my panettone bread pudding with bourbon caramel sauce.
For a decadent holiday breakfast, switch out the regular brioche in this french toast casserole with panettone. Or add it to this chocolate-studded bread pudding recipe for an elegant (but easy) treat.
How can I freeze and reheat Easy Panettone?
To freeze, wrap the hot bread in foil and place it in a resealable freezer bag. Freeze promptly. It can stay frozen for up to 2 months. To reheat, wrap it in foil in a 250°F oven until heated through, about 20-25 minutes.
What is traditionally served with panettone?
Some traditional toppings for panettone include gelato, chocolate spread (hello, Nutella!), and blackberry jam.
Let’s make more showstopping holiday desserts!
- Gingerbread Cheesecake
- Pumpkin Spice Creme Brûlée
- Hot Chocolate Charcuterie Board
- Apple Pie Layer Cake
- Pecan Pie Cheesecake
Get the Recipe: Easy Panettone Recipe
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup dried cherries
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- 1/3 cup warm water, about 110 degrees
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast, not rapid rise
- 2 1/3 cups super fine pastry flour or cake flour
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 6 large eggs
- 8 ounces unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch cubes, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup orange zest
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 bread pan
- Add the raisins, cherries, bourbon and 1/4 cup water to a bowl. Soak for 1 hour or longer.
- Whisk the water and yeast in a small bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes until completely dissolved. Set aside
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, sift together the pastry flour, all-purpose flour, sugar and salt.
- Turn the mixer on low and add the eggs to the bowl 1 at a time beating well after each addition.
- Slowly add the yeast and continue beating at low speed for 5 minutes.
- Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn the mixer on low and beat for an additional 5 minutes.
- Add the butter cubes 1/3 at a time, beating for about 1 minute after each addition. Once the butter has been added, beat for 10 more minutes until the dough is smooth.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest in a warm place until doubled in size, approximately 3 hours.
- Turn the dough out on a well floured surface and gently knead out the air bubbles.
- Drain the raisins and cherries. Discard the bourbon.
- Fold the raisins, cherries and orange zest into the dough and knead gently to combine.
- Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide the dough in half.
- Shape the dough into 2 rectangles and place into two buttered 8 1/2 X 4 1/2 X 3 inch loaf pans. (Or use Panettone Molds)
- Allow the dough to rise, uncovered, in a warm place until it rises about 1/2 inch above the top of the pans, approximately 2 hours.
- Lightly brush the top of the dough with the egg wash to coat.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Bake the pannetone until it is golden brown on top, approximately 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes.
- Turn the bread out of the pans and cool completely on a cooling rack.
- If not serving immediately, wrap the hot bread in foil and set aside at room temperature for up to 2 days.