American-Style Panettone

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Recipe photo
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: 1 round ring, or 10 mini panettones

Recipe photo

Ah, panettone! That ubiquitous (at Christmas) sweet bread of Milan, golden, high-rising, studded with citron and citrus peel - yuck! If that's your reaction, it's probably because a) you haven't had a good panettone, made the traditional way with a starter, or b) you just don't like citron and candied peel. If this reaction (and its possible causes) is yours, read on. We often use a biga (overnight starter) when making ciabatta or other Italian loaves; we feel it helps bring out the wheat flavor in breads that might otherwise seem a bit plain. But in a sweet bread, loaded with sugar, butter and fruit - who needs a biga?

Well, as it turns out, panettone made with a biga has a moist, fine texture, and rises better than anything with that amount of sugar and fat has a right to. Though the dough still needs a big kick of instant yeast, the biga gives it the strength to take off and rise, despite the sugar and fat doing their best to retard the whole process.

And as for the fruit: our version uses our favorite combination of dried fruits: no citron, no peel. And, instead of the traditional tall, round loaf pan, which often results in a raw center and burned crust, we suggest the use of a tube or monkey bread pan, such as we use here.

Read our blog about this holiday bread, with additional photos, at Flourish.

American-Style Panettone

star rating (29) rate this recipe »
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time: Overnight,
Yield: 1 round ring, or 10 mini panettones
Published: 01/01/2010




Tips from our bakers

  • We like to fill panettone with our Fruitcake Blend, a mix of apricots, raisins, pineapple, dates, and cranberries, which we feel is more "user friendly" than the traditional dried citron and candied peel. For a tropical twist, try our Tropical Fruit Blend: dried pineapple, papaya, and mango, mixed with big flakes of lightly toasted coconut.
  • Citrus-vanilla Fiori di Sicila ("Flowers of Sicily") is the traditional flavoring for panettone. Substitute lemon oil or about 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind, if desired.
  • SAF Gold instant yeast, formulated for sweet doughs, is a good selection here. If you use regular instant yeast, you may need to increase the rising times a bit.
  • To make small, gift-sized panettone, divide the dough into 4-ounce pieces, round into balls, and place in 10 lightly greased mini panettone paper pans. Allow to rise as directed at left, and bake for about 20 minutes, tenting with foil after 15 minutes.


1) Biga: Combine the flour, water and yeast, kneading briefly to make a stiff dough; if you're using a bread machine, allow the dough to knead for 5 minutes, then cancel the machine.

2) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, and allow it to rise overnight, about 12 hours. It'll become bubbly.

3) Dough: In the bowl of an electric mixer (or in the pan of your bread machine), combine all of the ingredients except the dried fruit. Note: This dough is very difficult to make by hand; we suggest the use of a machine of some sort.

4) Knead the dough till it's cohesive; it'll seem very gummy at first, but should come together nicely at the end. Don't worry if it doesn't form a smooth ball; it's OK if it sticks to the sides of the bowl a bit.

5) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, and allow it to rest for an hour. It won't rise much; that's OK.

6) Knead the fruit into the dough, by hand or machine; knead only until the dough accepts the fruit, as over handling will cause the fruit to release too much sugar into the dough, slowing the rise.

7) Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes, then shape it into a round ball.

8) Poke a hole in the center of the ball.

9) Slip the dough over the ring of a lightly greased 9" to 10" tube pan or monkey bread pan.

10) Cover the pan, and set the dough aside to rise for 2 hours or so. It probably won't double in size, but will puff up a bit; don't worry, this bread's oven spring is quite good.

11) Bake the panettone in a preheated 350°F oven for 25 to 40 minutes, tenting it with aluminum foil for the final 15 minutes of baking if it appears to be browning too quickly. There's a wide time-range here due to the difference in center diameters of monkey bread and tube pans; the smaller the diameter, the longer the bread will bake. The internal temperature of the dough should register 190°F to 205°F when it's done, so use an instant-read thermometer to check. If you don't have a thermometer, poke a cake tester into the center; it should come out dry, without any crumbs or wet dough clinging to it.

12) Remove the panettone from the oven, and after about 5 minutes turn it out of the pan. Brush with melted butter, if desired, for a soft, buttery crust. Ccool on a rack.

13) Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar just before serving, if desired.


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  • star rating 01/22/2015
  • Elena from Illinois
  • My goodness, but this is a delicious, fragrant bread! I have never before baked a Panettone specifically, but have made many loaves of Romanian Cozonac, which is a similar festive bread, sweet, buttery, eggy, and flavored with citrus peel and vanilla. Although there are some differences in the ingredients, this Panettone is very much like Cozonac with its stickier, wetter dough and the delicate, pull-apart texture when baked. The Pannetone I made today is gorgeous, so fragrant, and rose up beautifully. My biga did not rise well overnight, so I stirred some warm water into it and it rebooted nicely. I used cherries, apricots and golden raisins, all put into the microwave for 2 minutes with a half cup of orange juice. As it cooled the fruit absorbed the juice and was so delicious itself you could have eaten it as a dessert! I kneaded the fruit into the dough by hand because I thought the standing mixer was too hard on the fruit, but this was not difficult to do, especially when doing only one loaf. The second rise was perfect; did not need two hours and it was rounded and beautiful. The baked round tube was so impressive! So beautiful I proudly sent pictures of it to my daughters. I'd like to try to double this recipe because it seems a shame to put the time in for one loaf only, and it's so delicious I know it won't last long. (When making Cozonac for holidays, my mom would make many loaves at a time using a huge tub of dough and kneading it all by hand! It was quite a work out, I can tell you!) This Panettone recipe is a wonderful. Takes some time, but its really worth the time and effort. You won't find anything close to its quality of flavor and texture in any store-bought product. BTW, I have never seen a really good tested recipe for Romanian Cozonac. How about it , King Arthur bakers? In the meantime, thank you for this really special bread. Love it!
    I will pass on your suggestion, Elena. Barb@KAF
  • star rating 01/18/2015
  • Katen from York PA
  • I made this Panettone for my Italian mother-in-law for Christmas. It was wonderful, one of the best things I've ever baked! I would definitely consider this a challenge recipe, but it was worth every bit of effort. I did utilize the hotline for some questions that arose, and got immediate support and clarification. Will make this bread again and again!
  • star rating 01/10/2015
  • mash307 from KAF Community
  • This turned out perfectly and I got rave reviews on it. Wonderful plain or toasted with a little butter! I followed the recipe pretty exactly. It came together very nicely. 5 stars on this one! I did tent the loaf for the last 15 minutes of baking so it was a lovely golden color and it did not dry out. Baked to an internal temp of 190 degrees. In an angel food cake pan with a removal bottom. Perfect!
  • star rating 12/24/2014
  • Regina from North Carolina
  • Dry, dry, dry. Bake in the evening, dry at first cut in the morning. Most panettones are on the dry side but yours may have baked a bit too long. Toasting it will change the texture, or repurpose it for fabulous French toast or bread pudding. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF
  • 12/17/2014
  • Julie from Chicago
  • Has anyone made this recipe with gluten free flour? Any suggestions? We haven't tried that in our test kitchen yet, but you are certainly welcome to give it a try. Don't forget the xanthan gum! Happy baking! Laurie@KAF
  • star rating 11/02/2013
  • KK from Arlington, TX
  • I had success with this recipe even though I had problems with the biga. I made the biga as instructed, measured accurately and my biga seemed a bit dry (and I live in a very humid climate so I was surprised). However, I wasn't sure so I left it overnight and this morning it had risen but it wasn't airy and bubbly. I contacted the bakers hotline and they suggested that I just add some warm water, mix it in and wait 30 minutes. I then put the biga in my oven on the proof cycle and waited the 30 minutes. It actually rose and became airy and bubbly. I then proceeded with the recipe and it turned out wonderful. I didn't have the Flowers of Sicily so I used fresh lemon zest from one whole lemon. I also did not have the Gold SAF yeast so as one reviewer suggested, I used 6 tsp. of yeast in the dough. Once I made the dough, I used the proof cycle on my oven for all of the proofing. I baked in a traditional tube pan. The bread rose nicely and was about 1/2 below the top of the tube pan before baking. I also decided to do a sugar wash (1 egg white and 3 T. of sugar) and brushed that on top before baking and then sprinkled with sanding sugar. It turned out stunning. It is very tall, light and airy, beautiful and tastes delicious. I really like the sugar crust that the sugar wash created, it's a nice addition and it looks really pretty. I used dried pineapple, tart cherries, golden raisins and apricots. I soaked them in 2 T. of Cointreau and microwaved for 30 seconds and then incorporated as instructed. This is a new favorite bread. It is actually easy to make and takes very little work, the proofing time is what takes the most time.
  • star rating 02/24/2013
  • Bruno989 from KAF Community
  • Good stuff !!! The only issue I seem to be running into is that I taste the yeast. What am I doing wrong ? In the 1st dough rise, it doubled in size, the 2nd rise was about 1.5. I'm using Fleischmann's quick rise. Also in the 1st dough rise, I put it in a warm place (125deg). Thanks Bruno
    I think this is the prefect time to call our Baker's Hotline! 855-371-2253
  • star rating 12/26/2012
  • Sophie from Idaho
  • Nice flavor but the biga didn't rise much nor did the loaf in the pan. Would definitely try SAF gold yeast next time or maybe 1/8 tsp. in the biga and 6 tsp. of regular SAF yeast. Also recommend using the oven thermometer to test doneness--I used a cake tester, which came out clean but the bread collapsed because it wasn't really done enough.
  • star rating 12/25/2012
  • Joanne from Shirley, NY
  • This is a good recipe bc it rises quickly (especially if you have a "proof" function on your oven),and is light and fluffy--like the raisin bread consistency you buy in a loaf at the store. The results are reliable each time. I used different shaped paper pans--the K.A. paper ring pans and the panettone large and minis. Just adjust the rising and cooking times depending. If you want to save time, use smaller vessels. Doing so moves the process along much faster, saving time.
  • star rating 12/22/2012
  • from KAF Community
  • This is the easiest, most delicious panettone recipe I've ever made. I search each year for a recipe that will deliver on flavor, aroma, texture, and moistness. This one fills all my requirements. I often have a biga just waiting for something so, when I found this recipe, I put everything in my bread machine and, voila, a lovely, silky smooth batch of dough emerged. It was easy for me to knead the fruit in by hand and shape it into a ring. I used saf-instant gold yeast so I had no problem with it rising, even though my home is about 64F. This is so delicious that I'm making a second loaf to give to my Italian neighbors.
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