Baked Sunday Mornings: Chocolate Chip-Orange Panettone

I was ambivalent about this week's Baked Sunday Mornings recipe, Chocolate Chip-Orange Panettone. I'm sure I've tasted panettone at some point in my life -- you see the tall cake boxes everywhere during the holidays -- but I can't say that I have any particular opinion about it. I at least wanted to make sure I had the right equipment before I set out to make my own. I planned to use some paper panettone molds that I picked up at Little Bitts, but when we were in the Philadelphia during the summer I saw a relatively inexpensive springform pan at Fante's that was just the right size for panettone (6 inches in diameter and 4.75 inches tall), and I decided to go ahead an buy it.

I made the candied orange peel a couple of days in advance, blanching strips of peel in several changes of water and then cooking them in a mixture of sugar, water, and corn syrup until translucent. I laid the peel out on a rack to dry overnight, and I had to roll it in sugar before dicing it to prevent it from all sticking together.

For the panettone, first you mix together bread flour, yeast, and warm milk, and let the mixture rise for an hour until doubled. Then you sift together more bread flour, cocoa, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, and use the paddle to mix in the yeast mixture. After everything gets incorporated, you add eggs, egg yolks, orange zest, and vanilla, and keep mixing until "the dough comes together and has a distinct shiny appearances, 4 to 5 minutes." I kept mixing and mixing, but the dough never came together -- it all remained stubbornly stuck to the sides of the bowl. But the dough looked shiny when I scraped it down, and eventually I just gave up and decided to proceed with the recipe.

You switch to the dough hook and incorporate softened butter in several additions, and then mix for another 10-15 minutes until the dough is elastic and smooth. My dough did come together into a neat, smooth ball, and then I mixed in the candied peel and some miniature chocolate chips, kneading it by hand to make sure everything was evenly distributed. Then I formed the dough into a dome, dropped it into my greased springform pan, and covered it with a damp tea towel while I let it rise.
The recipe says you should let the dough rise in the pan for at least two hours, until doubled in size. But it also says that the dough should not rise above the top of the panettone mold. I peeked in on the dough periodically, and after about an hour and forty-five minutes, the dough had definitely doubled and was nearing the top of the pan. I was worried about the dough overproofing and I decided to go ahead and put it in the oven. Apparently I had actually underproofed it, because I had a minor blowout -- some tears where the bread had expanded rapidly -- on one side of the top dome.
But all things considered, I thought the loaf looked good. I baked it for an hour, until it reached 175 degrees inside. It was pretty dark on top, even though I had tented it with aluminum foil partway through baking, and the crust was thick all the way around; I think the dark-colored finish of my springform pan was largely responsible.

The panettone sliced beautifully to reveal chocolate chips and bits of candied peel. I thought that it tasted good -- I am a big fan of the combination of chocolate and orange. But the texture was very dense and heavy. Since I'm not a panettone expert, I wasn't sure what texture the bread was supposed to have, but I would have liked something lighter and more airy. For some reason I was expecting a panettone would have the texture of round loaf of Wonder Bread. Also, I wish I had used regular chocolate chips instead of miniature ones (I used mini chips because I was thinking the end product might be more elegant); I suspect bigger chips would have added some interesting texture and a nice burst of chocolate flavor.

I enjoyed the loaf, but not enough to want to try this recipe again. But now that I own a tall 6-inch diameter springform pan, there might be another panettone in my future!

Recipe: "Chocolate Chip-Orange Panettone" from Baked Elements: Our 10 Favorite Ingredients, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, recipe available here at Baked Sunday Mornings.

Previous Posts:


SandraM said…
I love how big and tall your panettone got. It looks wonderful. I hope to make this soon.
Chelly said…
Looks perfect! I am not a big fan of panettone so I decided to pass this one up.
Anonymous said…
Yours looks great! Mine came out denser than I expected as well, the boxed ones that I have tasted have a much lighter texture.