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Christmas baking with sourdough: the Italian panettone

Homemade Panettone insipired from the traditional italian bakery (Foto: M. Sartori)

During the Christmas time, we all like to bake and try out new recipes to share with family and friends. In my home country Italy, we have many typical pastry and sweets that are regionally baked specifically for the Christmas time. In northern western Italy, especially in the area of Milan, the panettone is a must. Its history reaches back in the centuries and was traditionally manufactured and baked with wheat sourdough. In the early 20th century the developing industrialisation in the bakery and the possibility to produce in larger quantities led to the export of this baked bread outside its originally region becoming one of the country´s leading Christmas sweets, but also led to a transformation of this traditionally handcrafted bread into a mass-produced good. In order to protect the production of traditional handcrafted panettone and to recognise real panettone from industrial produced ones, in the early 2000s a committee for the quality control was found and a special label has been created.

Panettone Logo
Label for traditionally handicrafted panettone (Camera di Commercio Milano, Monzabrianza, Lodi)

Homemade panettone - Recipe inspired from the traditional Italian bakery

Ingredients for the starter:

2 tbsp. wheat sourdough

200 ml lukewarm milk

200 gr. wheat flour

Ingredients for the dough - Step 1:

1 tsp. salt

1tsp. sugar

100 gr. wheat flour

Ingredients for the dough - Step 2:

350 gr. wheat flour

100 ml lukewarm milk

120 gr. sugar

50 gr. butter

1 egg

50 gr. raisins

50 gr. candied lemon and/or orange peel

Lemon zest


1. Mix the ingredients for the starter and let it rise at room temperature until it doubles its volume.

2. Add the ingredients for step 1 and let the dough rise for about 12 hours (for example overnight).

3. Add the ingredients for step 2 and knead well.

4. Let the dough rest for about 30 minutes and knead again. Repeat twice.

5. Put the dough in a buttered baking tin (diameter about 20 cm) or in a paper baking form and let it rest at room temperature for about 2 hours or until it doubles its volume.

6. Preheat the oven at 180 degree Celsius and then bake the panettone for about 1 hour

7. Once baked, let the panettone cool upside down (in order to avoid deflating)

8. Enjoy it!

Maddalena Sartori

ATZ Welzow


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