Sourdough Panettone (Einkorn Panettone) made with sultanas, candied fruit and honey.

Sourdough Einkorn Panettone

Ever since I began baking sourdough, I’ve wanted to to bake a true, traditional sourdough panettone for Christmas time.  I love the sweet-tart flavor and the airy crumb of a bread that’s at once delicate and rich.  Panettone is a marvelous bread, jeweled with sweet raisins and candied citrus peel – especially when you serve it with a mug of dark, inky tea or coffee.

This version not only uses sourdough starter to give the panettone its loft, but also einkorn flour and honey for sweetness in a nod to traditional and ancient baking.

What is Panettone and where does it come from?

Studded with candied citrus and raisins, Panettone is a a delicate, light bread enriched with eggs and butter. While Panettone is traditionally enjoyed both in Italy and throughout the world during the winter holidays, it comes from the northern Italian city of Milan.

While Panettone was popularized by a Milanese bakery in the early part of the 20th century who can lay claim to transforming Panettone from its roots as a small, heavy, fruited style of bread to the light-as-air, tall and domed bread you enjoy today, its exact origins are muddled and cloudy. There are many apocryphal stories and bits of folklore that hold that panettone was created by a poor baker who wished to marry the daughter of a wealthy Milanese nobleman, or that a cook, having burned the dessert of a ducal banquet entrusted a little boy to make dessert with what he had on hand.

While we may never know the exact origins of panettone, we do know that fruited, sweetened breads have baked and served as a treat since the Roman era, if not earlier. And unless one came from a wealthy class, breads made from expensive ingredients like wheat flour, eggs, butter, sweeteners and candied fruit would be only a rare treat, and reserved for times of celebration which is why panettone, regardless of its exact origins, is associated with Christmas.

How to Make Sourdough Panettone

True panettone achieves its lofty rise and delicate structure with sourdough starter, not bakers yeast which is an inauthentic, modern addition. Sourdough panettone has a light, airy crumb and a faint tartness that balances the sweetness of honey and candied fruit. Just as, traditionally, bakers used sourdough to leaven breads, they would also use flour made from farro, or any of the three grains: einkorn, emmer and spelt – which they used in absence of modern wheat.

Modern recipes for panettone often include making two separate doughs which are then combined together, and up to three rises; for ease, you can make a leaven by combining proofed sourdough starter, water and flour, and then blend that leaven with the remaining ingredients for your dough: additional flour, flavorings, honey, salt, butter, egg yolks as well as dried and candied fruit. From here, you allow your panettone to rise twice: the first is a bulk rise in an airtight mixing bowl, and then you allow it to rise a second time after shaping it and placing it in a panettone paper.  A panettone paper is similar to a paper muffin cup, only larger.

Sourdough Einkorn Panettone
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Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Jenny McGruther
Cook time: 50 mins
Total time: 50 mins
Serves: 1 panettone
Enriched with egg yolks, butter and honey, this lofty airy bread stands firm and tall, and is easy to slice revealing candied citrus peel and sweet raisins.
Ingredients
  • 2 ounces active and bubbly sourdough starter
  • 2 ounces active and bubbly sourdough starter
  • 15½ ounces all-purpose einkorn flour, divided
  • 15½ ounces all-purpose einkorn flour, divided
  • 3 egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 3 egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons orange flower water
  • 2 teaspoons orange flower water
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 ounces whole milk
  • 3 ounces whole milk
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup candied orange peel
  • ¼ cup candied orange peel
  • ¼ cup candied lemon peel
  • ¼ cup candied lemon peel
Special Equipment
Special Equipment
  • A stand mixer
  • A stand mixer
  • Panettone Papers
Instructions
  1. The night before you plan to bake, whisk proofed and bubbly sourdough starter with 4½ ounces einkorn flour with 3½ ounces water, and let it sit in an airtight container at room temperature up to twelve hours, or until bubbly on the surface.
  2. The next morning, whisk the egg yolks, vanilla, orange flower water, almond extract, lemon juice, salt, honey and melted butter until creamy and uniformly combined.
  3. Add the leaven you prepared last night to the bowl of a stand mixer, and then add the milk, remaining 11 ounces flour, and the egg yolk and honey mixture. Beat the ingredients together until well blended, and then turn it out onto a floured work surface.
  4. Spread the dough out into a rectangle and then sprinkle the dried fruit over the dough. Roll up the dough into a ball, and let it rest ten minutes.
  5. Oil your hands and knead the dough using the slap-and-fold technique, about ten minutes. Form the dough into a ball, and place it in an oiled mixing bowl with a tight-fitting lid. Allow it to rise at room temperature about three hours, or until increased in volume by half.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and press it down with your fingertips, next pull the edges of the dough toward the center, and shape the dough into a boule. Grease a panettone paper with butter, and then place your boule into the paper.
  7. Cover the dough loosely with a layer of greased plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise about 90 minutes.
  8. Heat the oven to 375 F for 20 minutes.
  9. Bake the panettone in the center of the oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until risen and golden brown on top. Cool completely before slicing and serving.
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Where to Find Einkorn Flour for Sourdough Panettone

Traditionally, before wheat was modernized, bakers used grains like einkorn to bake most breads – including panettone. Einkorn is an ancient variety of wheat, with a rich flavor and a more nutrient-dense profile than modern wheat. It is richer in beta carotene, protein and micronutrients like B vitamins and minerals than modern wheat; further, when baked, einkorn experiences less nutrient-loss.

You can buy sustainably produced, organic flour from Jovial Foods here.

Sourdough Panettone (Einkorn Panettone) made with sultanas, candied fruit and honey.

If you like Sourdough Einkorn Panettone, try these:

Sourdough Panettone is a a fun treat to make for the holidays, and if you’re keen on trying more authentic sourdough einkorn recipes, you might try these recipes below.

Sourdough Einkorn Dinner Rolls are sweetened with the lightest touch of maple syrup.

Sourdough Einkorn Pizza Crust is a great recipe to have on hand for pizza night.

This classic Sourdough Einkorn Boule is easy to make too.

The post Sourdough Einkorn Panettone appeared first on Nourished Kitchen.

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