Instructions

  1. To make the starter: Combine the starter ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl, cover, and allow them to rest overnight (8 to 12 hours).

  2. To make the dough: Combine all of the dough ingredients except the fruit and zest, and mix and knead them together — by hand, mixer or bread machine — until you've made a soft, smooth dough.

  3. Allow the dough to rise, covered, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until it's puffy (though not necessarily doubled in bulk).

  4. Gently deflate the dough, and knead in the fruits and zest.

  5. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a panettone pan or other straight-sided, tall 1 1/2- to 2-quart pan. Cover the pan and let the dough rise until it's just crested over the rim of the pan, about 1 hour.

  6. Bake the bread in a preheated 400°F oven for 10 minutes; reduce the oven heat to 375°F and bake an additional 10 minutes; then reduce the heat to 350°F and bake for 25 to 35 minutes, tenting with aluminum foil if the crust appears to be browning too quickly. Panettone should be a deep brown when done, should sound hollow when tapped, and will read 190°F at the center using a digital thermometer. (It's easy to underbake, since it browns so quickly!)

  7. Remove the panettone from the oven and cool completely. Store at room temperature, well-wrapped, for up to a week; freeze for longer storage.