There was a lot of angst in our baking group about this week’s recipe from The Baking Bible. I’ve been baking bread at least every other week for the last couple of years, so bread honestly doesn’t scare me. In my adult life, I think I’ve only had a real disaster once with bread, when I left the yeast out. Did that a few times with my parents’ bread machine as a kid, too. This one’s a special sort of bread – lots of butter, lots of egg yolks, and candied/dried fruit. In my post this week, alongside the pictures for the panettone, you’ll see a few process pictures of my rye sourdough, which I was working on at the same time.
The first step, and I started this on Saturday morning, a week ago, was to feed my sourdough starter.This recipe called for a biga, which is one of many types of pre-ferments. Rose said that if you had one available, you could use a liquid sourdough starter, with flour added to become a dough. I’ve been maintaining a stiff sourdough starter for probably about a year now, so I fed it early Saturday morning, and Rose told me on Facebook that it would be ready to bake with the next day, so that’s what I did.
The next step was to source some candied orange peel. Since The Baking Bible recommends fine-quality candied orange peel from France, I thought I’d start at the Euro Food store in Kitchener, where I normally find high fat butter – “masło ekstra”. Nothing even approaching candied fruit, there, unfortunately. The next stop, and fortunately the only other one needed, was Vincenzo’s, who claim to offer the “finest gourmet foods from Italy and the Mediterranean, at reasonable prices.” They actually even had boyajian orange oil, which I’ve never seen before, locally!
Once you’ve sourced the candied orange peel, you chop it up into little cubes.
Golden raisins go into some orange-flavoured alcohol, which in my case was Grand Marnier, because my overflowing liquor cabinet was all out of Triple Sec. Or was it the other way around? Either way, I used the one the recipe didn’t call for.
I let the raisins soak overnight. Saturday night, I also fed/expanded my sourdough for my rye. The next morning, I started out by putting my sourdough brrad together. The first step in this process is to put 95g of rye berries into the top of my mill. 😀
Out comes fresh rye flour!
I love my mill. My husband gave it to me for my birthday a couple of years ago, and the flavour that you get from freshly ground flour is amazing. After mixing up my rye, I switched over to the panettone. Make the sponge, using the stiff sourdough starter that was fed the previous morning, rather than the biga. That gets mixed up with eggs, golden syrup, water, and probably some other things I’m forgetting. The flour mixture then gets sprinkled over the wet stuff.
In the picture below, the dough for the rye is in the plastic container, and the sponge & flour mixture are in the mixer bowl on top of it. I left it like this for an hour before moving it to the fridge, since we had to make a trip to the Toronto airport for my Nexus interview. While we were there, I picked up Panettone molds at Golda’s Kitchen in Mississauga. I also spent way too much money on clothes at the outlet mall. Totally worth it, though. 🙂
That evening when we got home, the sponge had just started to bubble through the flour layer, so it was time to mix up the dough.
Because I hadn’t planned ahead well enough, I had to microwave my butter to soften it before I could add it to the dough, tablespoon by tablespoon, but it turned out alright in spite of my poor planning. Once the dough has been mixed up, you need a bunch of flour on the counter, so that you can spread the dough out into a rectangle-ish, then add all of the candied peel and the plumped up raisins.
Knead the fruit in as best you can, without making a huge mess.
Put the dough into the container to rest, shape your rye, and take a cute family photo.
Once they’d sat on the counter for a bit (not very long, because I had to go to bed), I stuck them in the fridge. The next morning, I did the business letter turns on the panettone dough, and then, because I had doubled the recipe, I split it into 2 ziploc bags and stuck it back in the fridge.
That night, as soon as we got home from the gym, I took the dough out of the bags, and semi-shaped it, then dumped it into the panettone molds.
At this point, there was no choice – I took a shortcut. I put the loaves in the oven at 100 Fahrenheit, on the “bread proof” setting, to speed up the proofing process, so that there was a chance I could get it baked that night. I took them out when the very top of the dough was about level with the top of the mold.
The recipe then says to cut 1/2″ deep crosses in the top, with a sharp pair of scissors.
Now, into the oven, on the pre-heated baking stone, with ice thrown onto a sheet pan on the bottom of the oven, to create steam. Halfway through baking, you take it out and add a foil tent, to prevent burning the top crust.
At this point, it smelled amazing, and looked beautiful. I couldn’t help but take a picture and show it to my baking buddies. 🙂
It may not be the smoothest or most attractive panettone, and it sunk a little bit after coming out of the oven, but to me, it was perfection. I left it to cool in the molds overnight, then the next morning, I sliced one in half, to take a look at the crumb, and bring one and a half loaves to work. I, um, may have also had a slice with breakfast.
I chose the bigger, slightly more attractive loaf as Gilad’s “baking of the month” for January. In case you missed the story, he won the rights to a monthly item from this bakethrough, in a charity auction, at work. You may also recall that another co-worker had been bidding against him, until the (slightly absurd, IMO) price of $600 was reached.
Me & said coworker, chatting on IM while we *cough* may have been “paying attention” to a conference call:
Him: this cake is very light…
Me: cake? Oh, did Gilad share?
Him: yes, he brought by a slice
Me: It’s actually a yeast bread, but with lots of butter, eggs, and sugar.
actually, not that much sugar, now that I think of it. mostly butter. 😉
Him: This yeast bread with lots of butter, eggs, and sugar is very light…
what is the fruit?
Me: raisins soaked in grand marnier, along with candied orange peel (which I expected to be gross, but I actually like)
Him: orange peel… that’s what I am tasting
agree, it is refreshing
but not overpowering
this bread would go good with mixed fruit on the side
Me: It’s “supposed” to be served with drizzled chocolate glaze, but I got lazy.
Him: ooo, i think that would make it too sweet… that’s what I liked about it… perfect sweetness… now that could be because it’s morning and it felt breakfasty to me…
Me: Yeah, I had a slice at home with my granola & yogurt. 🙂
Him: that would be a good pairing too, yes
Turns out Gilad’s not a bad winner (I had no doubt), and is more than happy to share his spoils with the runner-up. On my side, I enjoyed this recipe, and can see myself making it again in the future. As I mentioned in the chatlog, I really didn’t expect to like the candied orange peel, which is part of why I chose to buy it, rather than put time & effort into making my own. Jay didn’t really like this one, so I ended up taking basically all of it to work, where it definitely seemed to be appreciated. I think I had a total of about 3 slices, throughout the week, and I found that the first bite of each slice was a slightly unexpected flavour, but by the time I finished each slice, I wanted more. A sign of a good result, I think!