Panettone with Natural Yeast / Lievito Naturale / Pasta Madre – using KitchenAid

Monday, January 1st, 2018

Before I get started, if you want to read the details of my failed experiments, please visit

Fables de Sucre

I have added my own notes and directions for times and speeds using my KitchenAid Professional 600 stand mixer.

This recipe makes a 1kg (2.2lb) Panettone, but the total can be divided into smaller amounts for use in cupcake/muffin tins etc.


Ingredient Overview:

First dough:

105 g of pasta madre
95 of granulated/caster sugar
55 g of water
215 g of flour
120 g of egg yolks
25 g of water
135 g of butter

Second dough:

All of the first dough
55 g of flour
20 g of granulated sugar
5 g of salt
25 g of butter
25 g of egg yolks
1 vanilla bean
105 g of sultanas
160 g of candied orange
55 g of candied lemon

Key Considerations:

Pasta Madre: No commercial yeast is used in this recipe – it is entirely leavened “naturally”.
In order to support the leavening required for this bread, an optimised starter is required.
If it hasn’t been used in a week, you’ll want to start two days before you plan on baking your Panettone.
Bathe it in sugar water (1 tsp sugar : 1 quart water) when you wake up, feeding it immediately thereafter. Refresh the starter at least one or two additional times that day.

The timetable for preparatory refreshments suggested on the original site are:

8:00 am
First refreshment with a 1: 1 ratio between starter and flour
(20g of pm + 20g of flour + 10g of water)

12:00 midday
Second refreshment with a ratio of 1: 2 between starter and flour
(20g of pm + 40g of flour + 20g of water)

4:00 pm
Third and last refreshment with a ratio of 1: 2 between starter and flour
(30g of pm + 60g of flour + 30g of water)

Commence preparation of the First dough.


If you maintain your starter as a 100% hydration liquid, you may use there proportions to for this recipe:

72g of 100% hydration starter + 36 g of flour to be added to the first mixture.
The preparatory refreshments should be with proportion 2: 1, that is: 2 parts of starter, 1 part flour, and 1 of water.
Example: 50g of 100% starter + 25g of flour + 25g of water.

Eggs: Panettone is rich – there is no denying. However, while the 120g egg yolks called for in the First dough approximates to the yolks from 7 eggs, I have successfully made this recipe using 120g of whole eggs. This makes the process less daunting if you are afraid of wasting ingredients on a failure, and also eliminates copious amounts of leftover egg whites.

Butter: Needs to be room temperature, but not warm enough so as to enable you to easily push your finger into it.
That being said – I have seen methods where melted butter has been used…. just not this method.

Flour: My reading has seemed to indicate a desired 15% protein content.
All purpose flour is approximately 10% protein. Whole wheat is around 13.5% (though it is also more dense due to the bran).
If you do not have access to a 15% protein flour, vital wheat gluten can be substituted to bring your flour to the desired protein content.

Perhaps in time, I’ll add a nifty little calculator interface below … but for now, you’ll have to do the mathematics yourself.

The ratios to use for All Purpose Flour are as follow:
Total flour x 0.92307 = target weight of AP flour
Total flour x 0.07692 = target weight of vital wheat gluten.
Mix these together using a whisk prior to incorporating them into the recipe.

For Whole Wheat:
Total flour x 0.97831 = target weight of WW flour
Total flour x 0.02169 = target weight of vital wheat gluten.
Again, mix these together using a whisk prior to incorporating them into the recipe.

Vanilla, Fruits, and Peels: Some recipes call for addition of an bottled aromatic mix, or for a mixture of honey and zests from an orange and a lemon. This recipe does not.
Furthermore, being someone who does not keep vanilla beans, candied peel, or organic citrus on-hand, I opted to substitute these with liquid extracts (I understand that some people might be horrified at such a vulgarity, but I’m a firm believer in cooking with what you have at your disposal. I mean no offence).

My substitutions are as follow:
1 vanilla bean = 1 tsp vanilla extract
zest from one orange = 1 tsp orange extract
zest from one lemon = 1/2 tsp lemon extract
Instead of 105 g of sultanas, I used 100g raisins + 100g sultanas (total of 200g).
I omitted the candied orange and candied lemon.
Note: I mixed the extracts in 1 tsp flour to somewhat balance the additional liquid.

The raisins and sultanas need to be hydrated.
So after weighing, cover them with hot water for approximately 30 minutes. Rinse well, and then leave to soak in lukewarm water for 4/5 hours or overnight.
Drain, squeeze out excess water, and then spread out to dry overnight on a baking sheet covered with a dry and clean cloth.
The recommendation is to re-weigh the raisins/sultanas before adding them into the dough, because once rehydrated they will weigh more. However, because I have not added candied peels to my dough, I have added everything that I soaked.

Temperatures: The target rising/proofing temperature for this dough is 25/26° C 77/79°F. (though I have seen reference to as much as 28° C / 82°F.). The target mixing temperature should be below 24° C / 75°F.
It is suggested that sweet doughs benefit from warmer temperatures than would be used on a “savoury” loaf of bread.

Additional guidelines and recommendations:
The original site provides a page under the Latin title “Vademecum”, which may be accessed here: I have not undertaken a translation of that page. Instead, a rough translation may be obtained via

The also provide a link to a YouTube video which explains the balling technique “pirlare”. That may be found at:



Each method for making Panettone is slightly different.
I have seen operations ranging from dumping ALL of the ingredients into a bowl and mixing on a high speed, to adding ingredients one by one at a slow speed. They all seem to work, but I am cautious that each method seems to accompany its own variation of ingredients. I cannot attest to one-recipe-fits-all-methods, or a one-method-fits-all-recipes.
Read the instructions. Read the recipe. Re-read the instructions. Proceed carefully.

Gather together the mother paste, the sugar, the first portion of water, the flour and all the egg yolks in the bowl of your KitchenAid (or other “planetary-type”) mixer.
Begin with the flat/paddle beater and speed 1.
Once the ingredients have come together well (around the 2 minute mark), increase the speed to 3.
The dough will undergo several stages: at the beginning it will have a consistency like thick yogurt, then it will divide into many small lumps. This is normal. Slowly it will become stringy, which will take about 15 minutes at speed 3.

When it is perfectly strung and smooth then you can proceed with the insertion of the second dose of water. Pour in half, and and after it has been perfectly absorbed by the dough, pour in the second half.
Once the dough is perfectly smooth again, you can continue with the addition of butter to in thirds.
Once all the butter has been added, scrape down the sides of your mixer bowl, quickly incorporate the scrapings, and then replace the paddle with the dough hook.
Continue mixing for a few minutes with the hook until the dough forms a single smooth, stretchy mass around the hook that leaves the sides of the bowl perfectly clean.

Turn out the dough on the work surface and remove a small chunk to use as a leavening indicator in a small clear container.
Using the pirlare technique (see above), form the dough into a ball.
Put the balled dough in a large bowl that will be able to contain it when it has risen three times its present volume, and place the small chunk of dough in a container with measurement marking to enable you to monitor its growth. If you do not have a container with marking, just use a straight-sided glass and mark (with a marker or an elastic band) the starting point so you can see when it has tripled (1 + 2).
Cover both containers with clingfilm/saran wrap, and allow them to rise. Aim for a constant temperature of about 25/26 ° C 77/79°F.
Assuming a steady temperature, the first dough should be ready in 12-14 hours.
It is CRITICAL to ensure that the dough is allowed to triple. If 14 hours have passed and the dough is not ready… wait!
If you proceed based on time, the finished product will not only have a denser crumb, but the time of the subsequent leavening will be greatly increased.

After the first mixture has tripled its volume, we can proceed.
It is advised that while you are weighing all the ingredients, you add the leavened doughs together (main dough + indicator dough) and put everything in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, in order to lower the temperature. If you prefer, you can cool the bowl and the dough hook, but check that the dough temperature drops below 25° C / 77 °F.

Place the first dough in the mixer bowl with the flour and develop the gluten fully, which will take about 20 minutes at speed #3. This will be a stiff dough, but it is very important that the gluten is fully developed at this point. In the second phase you add all of the remaining ingredients together, as per the procedure of the master Morandin. IF the gluten is not developed from the outset, each added ingredient will have a detrimental effect on your dough.

So once you have fully developed the gluten, turn off the mixer. Add the sugar, salt, butter, yolks and the seeds of the vanilla bean (this is where you would add the extra flour + extracts if you were following my substitutions).
Start the mixer again at speed 3, and mix for about 15 minutes and you have reached an elastic and homogeneous consistency.
Reduce to speed 1 and slowly pour the candied orange and candied citron cubes and raisins. Continue kneading for a minute or two until the suspensions are well distributed in the mixture.

Remove the dough from the machine, place it in a covered container and let it rest in a warm area for an hour.
After this period, turn the mass over on your work surface, and let it rest in uncovered for about 15 minutes.
Weigh out the amount needed according to the molds available. Allow 10% more weight than the size of the shape to compensate for the evaporation of the water in cooking. (If the panettone mold is listed as holding 1kg (1000g), then put in 1100 grams of dough.
This recipe should provide you with a total of 1200 grams of dough – better to have too much than not enough.
After dividing appropriately, form the loaf with the pirlare method, and leave for a further 15 minutes.
Place your mold(s) on a baking sheet and then proceed with a final pirlatura ‘session’, placing the dough (which should have a tight surface ‘skin’) inside the mold(s).
Allow to rise, covered by clingfilm, at a temperature of about 28/30 °C / 82/86°F until the dough is around 2 cm/1 inch from the top edge of the baking mold paper. At these temperatures, it should take about 6/8 hours. If you are leavening at a lower temperature, it might take longer.

When it’s time, preheat the oven to 165 °C / 330°F, and uncover the panettone in order to allow the surface to dry ever so slightly.
Immediately before baking, cut a cross with a blade, then place in the center of small pieces of butter.
We can also “scarp”, that is after having engraved on the cross, always detach with a blade the 4 flaps formed by the rest of the mass, scarnifying.
Place the small walnuts in the center of the butter, and reposition the flaps towards the center. Bake in the hot oven, on the lowest possible shelf (taking into account the amount of additional rising that the panettone will have in cooking).
For guidance on cutting the top of a panettone, please view this video, starting at 8m55s

The panettone is cooked when it reaches a core temperature of 94 ° C/ 200 °F.
It will take about 50/55 minutes, and you will need a probe thermometer to measure the temperature exactly, so as to eliminate any possibility of making a mistake. When it is cooked, take it out of the oven and pierce it horizontally near the base with special prongs (or in the absence, a pair of knitting needles or kebab skewers) in order to then flip it over where it should remain for at least two hours. This process ensures that the dome does not sink as the steam trapped inside cools down.
After this period, you can turn the panettone and remove the inversion supports, but before packaging it is still necessary to wait for at least 10 hours of cooling.

Finally, the panettone is ready and finally cold enough to be stored in a polypropylene food bag. It is advisable if you plan to keep it for a long period, (even 60 days) that you mist inside the bag with pure alcohol at 95 °, that is to say that to make the liqueurs, which will reduce the risk of the formation of mold.

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