A classic Italian dessert, this Sourdough Panettone is not just for Christmas. Add this to your Easter dinner table or for any gathering to impress your guests with this sweet, airy bread. Made with a variety of dried fruits, panettone is packed with flavor and looks like a work of art.
I have always been intrigued by this traditional Italian dessert.
So, last year, I experimented with a sourdough version of panettone to make for Christmas.
By the second time I tried it, I knew the result was well worth the time put in.
Now, traditionally panettone is known as a Christmas tradition. So, I was planning to share this recipe for later in the year.
But as I was scrolling through Instagram, I noticed some people enjoy this delicious Italian creation for Easter as well!
I just couldn’t wait to share this with you! Whether you make it this spring or save it for the holidays, this sourdough panettone will make a lovely addition to your table.
What is Sourdough Panettone?
Panettone is a famous Italian dessert, usually associated with Christmas. It has qualities of bread and cake and is filled with delicious dried fruits.
Panettone is easily spotted thanks to its famous dome shape.
For this version, instead of using conventional yeasts it uses wild yeast in the sourdough starter to give it its airy rise.
Why you’ll love this recipe:
It’s impressive: Professional bakers, the greatest chefs, and passionate amateurs alike try to perfect this dessert. Your guests will be impressed by this beautiful creation.
Delicious: If you are a fruit lover like me, you’ll really enjoy the sweetness and texture the dried fruit brings to this bread.
Way better than store bought: Like all sourdough pastries and recipes, the homemade version is usually better!
Tips for making Sourdough Panettone
- This recipe takes a bit of patience. It takes about 15-20 minutes on the third speed of my stand mixer to get this dough to come together initially.
- Make sure you use an active and bubbly starter. Click here to learn how to make and feed a sourdough starter.
- For the second rise, your dough will be in a panettone mold. I place the mold into a large stock pot with a lid to make sure it doesn’t dry out. You could also drape plastic wrap or aluminum foil over the top instead.
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Is Panettone normally made from sourdough?
You can find both yeast and sourdough versions of panettone. I love using sourdough for its nutritional benefits!
Is panettone healthier than cake?
There are a lot of factors that go into this, pending the type of cake you are comparing it to.
Natural leavening with sourdough, though, is a healthier option in my opinion.
This is due to the fermentation process. During fermentation the phytic acid is broken down and the vitamins and minerals present in the grain are more easily absorbed by the body. It also has a lower glycemic index, meaning it won’t spike your blood sugar as much as conventional bread.
What’s so special about panettone?
Panettone is a traditional Italian dessert that is normally associated with Christmas. However, I have also recently seen that it is popular for Easter as well.
Is sourdough panettone easy to make?
The first time you make sourdough panettone you may not think it is very easy. And it is a time consuming process. But don’t get overwhelmed with the numerous step-by-step instructions. Like with any sourdough bread recipe, sometimes it just takes a bit to get the hang of it. Once you do, it is a delicious and beautiful dessert to serve for special occasions!
To soak the dried fruits:
Dried fruit: I used currants, raisins, cranberries, and dried cherries
Light rum: You could also use your favorite fruit juice here instead.
For the bread:
Bread flour: I prefer using bread flour for this recipe. You could also use All Purpose or Whole Wheat Flour. Bread flour has more protein content compared to other flours which helps give it more rise.
Water: It is best to use good, filtered water here.
Active Sourdough Starter: You want your starter to be very bubbly and active.
Salt: A little bit of sea salt makes a big impact in this recipe to balance out the sweetness.
Butter: You’ll want your butter at room temperature and divided into 1 Tbsp pieces.
Candied orange peel, diced
Tools you may need:
How to make Sourdough Panettone
Prep the dried fruit
The day before you begin making your bread, soak your dried fruit in a mixture of ¼ cup rum and ¼ cup hot water at room temperature. You can also use all water if preferred.
Stir occasionally, until raisins are plump and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 8 hours or overnight.
Mix your dough
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour, eggs, water, starter, sugar, salt, vanilla and butter.
Using a dough hook, knead until smooth and elastic.
Just like my brioche, challah, and Babka recipes, this will take a long time in a standing mixer to come together. I do 15-20 minutes on the third speed (this is probably a medium-low speed or medium speed) of my stand mixer with the dough hook.
You’ll know it’s done when the very wet dough finally pulls away from the sides of the bowl and collects around the kneading hook.
It will also be very sticky when you first start kneading, but once the gluten is fully developed it will be smooth, elastic, stretchy and way less sticky.
Let your dough rise
Allow the panettone dough to rise until doubled. This will take approximately 6-8 hours, but could take more. You can also let it rise in the fridge for up to two days.
Add dried fruit to the dough
After the first dough rise, turn the dough onto a floured workspace and roll it into a 12 by 15 rectangle.
Spread the drained fruit and candied orange peel evenly over the top. Gently press the fruit into the dough.
The shaping stages
Shape the panettone by folding two ends of the rectangle to the middle.
Repeat for the other ends.
Pull each side into the middle to form a ball. Gently add tension to the ball by maneuvering it against the counter in a few circular motions.
Add the dough to the mold
Add the shaped dough to a panettone mold or panettone pan and allow it to rise until just above the mold.
Pro tip: I put mine into a large pot with a lid, so it doesn’t dry out. You could us any large container with a lid, or simply drape plastic wrap or foil over the top.
Once the second dough rise is done, score a shallow X across the top and add one tablespoon of butter.
Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees, or until cooked through and golden on top.
Wrap your panettone well in plastic wrap or foil. It can keep at room temperature for about 3 to 5 days. You can also freeze it – just make sure you have it wrapped well!
How to serve sourdough panettone
I enjoy eating my panettone with a hot cup of coffee. Non-coffee drinkers may also like pairing it with a glass of milk or Rooibos Latte.
A fresh slice is the best. If it is a day or two old, you may want to toast and butter it.
8 AM: Feed your sourdough starter.
2 PM: Start the dough by mixing it together and kneading in your stand mixer.
8 PM: Put the dough in the refrigerator to allow for slower fermentation for the remainder of the first rise. Add your dried fruit to the rum and water mixture to soak overnight.
9 AM the next morning: Roll out your dough, gently add the dried fruit, and shape
9:15 AM Add your shaped dough to the panettone mold, cover, and let rise until it is just above the top of the paper mold. This may take 6-8 hours.
4 PM: Bake for about one hour or until the top of the dough is golden.
More delicious sourdough recipes of the world:
- Sourdough Croissants
- Sourdough Babka Recipe with Chocolate Filling
- Easy Sourdough Focaccia
- Sourdough Biscotti
- Sourdough French Bread
If you try this recipe and love it, I would love if you could come back and give it 5 stars!
- 1 cup dried fruit (I used currants, raisins, cranberries, and dried cherries)
- 1/4 cup light rum (or fruit juice)
- 1/4 cup hot water (or a ½ cup of water)
- 4 cups bread flour
- 4 eggs
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup bubbly and active starter
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon vanilla
- 13 tbsp butter, divided (room temp and cut into 1 tbsp sections)
- 1/4 cup candied orange peel, diced
- Soak dried fruit in 1/4 cup rum and 1/4 cup hot water at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until the raisins are plump and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 8 hours or overnight.
- Add the flour, eggs, water, starter, sugar, salt, vanilla and 12 tbsp butter to the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attached.
- Knead until smooth and elastic
- Rise until doubled 6-8 hours (maybe more) or up to two days in the fridge
- Turn the dough onto a floured workspace and roll it into a 12 by 15 rectangle.
- Spread the drained fruit and candied orange peel evenly over the top. Gently press the fruit into the dough.
- Shape the panettone by folding two ends of the rectangle to the middle. Repeat for the other ends.
- Pull each side into the middle to form a ball. Gently add tension to the ball by maneuvering it against the counter in a few circular motions.
- Add the shaped dough to a panettone mold and allow it to rise until just above the mold.
- Score a shallow X across the top and add one tablespoon of butter.
- Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour at 350, or until cooked through and golden on top
Just like with the brioche, challah and Babka recipes, this dough will take a very long time in a stand mixer to come together. I do 15-20 minutes on the third speed on my stand mixer with the dough hook. You’ll know it’s done when the very wet dough finally pulls away from the sides of the bowl and collects around the kneading hook.
The dough will also be very sticky when you first start kneading, but once the gluten is fully developed it will be smooth, elastic, stretchy and way less sticky.
On the second rise in the mold, I put mine into a large stock pot with a lid, so it doesn’t dry out. You could also drape plastic wrap or foil over the top.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 413Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 95mgSodium: 304mgCarbohydrates: 60gFiber: 2gSugar: 24gProtein: 8g