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What is a Panettone?

Panettone, a delightful marriage of bread and cake, is a quintessential Italian holiday tradition that has become a favorite around the world. The recognizable dome-shaped bread is often a staple on Christmas tables and is a popular gift for sweets lovers in your life.

Make sure you pronounce Panettone (pronounced “pah-net-taw-nee”) with all of its Italian inflection when you enjoy this delicious sweet treat. This yummy sweet bread is full of candied fruits, raisins, and sometimes nuts so it is a wonderful treat any time of day from a holiday brunch or enjoyed as a dessert if you wish.

The History of Panettone

Panettone originated long ago in 15th century Milan. The story of how Panettone first came to be is a unique one that Italians love to tell.

The Duke of Milan was hosting a large Christmas Eve feast and it was discovered that the dessert for the evening had been burned, rendering it inedible. One of the chefs, named Toni, quickly whipped up a sweet bread to serve to the duke’s guests.

The sweet bread was a wild hit with the guests, and the duke decided to dub the dessert that saved the day “Pane di Toni” after its creator.

The Panettone of 15th century Milan is not much like the Panettone that is on Christmas tables today. It has changed and evolved over the years to become the sweet treat that is widely loved today.

The 1800’s found Italians baking Panettone with red and green fruits to represent freedom and over the years the recipe has had many different iterations to become the one you see on your holiday table today.

Ingredients in Panettone

Here are the most common ingredients included in Panettone:

  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Instant Yeast
  • Water
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla
  • Orange Zest
  • Sugar
  • Sea Salt
  • Unsalted Butter
  • Raisins
  • Candied Fruit (apricots, pears, cranberries, cherries, etc.)
  • Dark Rum
  • Almonds (optional)

Panettone Nutritional Information

There is a reason why Panettone is typically a holiday or special occasion treat. It really is not meant to be enjoyed regularly because it is high in sugar and simple carbohydrates.

An average-sized slice of Panettone bread has around 300 calories and is full of rich, delicious ingredients like eggs, sugar, candied fruits, and more. For this reason, Panettone is enjoyable but not the best choice to eat every day if you can avoid it.

How to Make Panettone

Panettone is a time-consuming and difficult thing to make at home, which is why many people choose to buy it pre-made rather than making it on their own. You need a few days to devote to the true process of making Panettone properly, so make sure you set aside some time.

You can’t make a proper Panettone without a Panettone mold, so make sure to pick one up at a local bakery supply store or order one online. This will make sure you prepare to bake the perfect Panettone.

To make Panettone, you prep the dough and the fruit the day before you bake it. Combine all the ingredients of the dough and let it rise in the refrigerator overnight. Soak the fruit in a bowl of rum overnight too so that it can soak in the rich flavor of the rum.

The next day, roll out and shape the dough to prepare for your Panettone. Drain the fruit and spread it evenly across the dough. Add nuts if you wish during this step as well. Fold the dough in on itself several times to make sure the fruit and nuts are well distributed before placing it into a Panettone mold.

Bake in the oven and let it cool completely before cutting and serving your Panettone.

Panettone Recipes

There are plenty of different ways to make Panettone. Most recipes follow the classic sweet bread recipe base, but there is plenty of room to customize the recipe to fit your specific taste preferences.

You can make a Panettone at home with whatever candied fruits and nuts that you have in your pantry.

Most Panettone lovers use slivered almonds, but candied walnuts are another great choice. For candied fruits, the sky is the limit. You can use a variety or keep it simple and stick with 1-2 of your favorites like raisins or cherries.

Panettone FAQ's

What is panettone?

Pannetone is a traditional Italian cake typically served around Christmas time. It is made with flour, eggs, butter, sugar, natural yeast and flavoured with candied fruit and raisins.

How do you make panettone?

To make panettone, the ingredients are first mixed together to form a dough. This dough is then left to rise for several hours before being shaped into a loaf and baked in the oven.

What does panettone taste like?

Pannetone has a sweet, fluffy and moist texture with a subtle yeasty flavour. The candied fruit and raisins give it a slightly chewy and fruity taste.

Where does panettone come from?

Pannetone is thought to have originated in the city of Milan, Italy in the 16th century. However, the exact origins of the cake are unknown.

Is panettone gluten free?

No, panettone is not gluten free as it contains flour. However, there are some recipes for gluten free panettone available online.

Can panettone be made without yeast?

Yes, there are some recipes for panettone that do not use yeast. These cakes are typically denser and not as fluffy as traditional panettone.

How long does panettone last?

Pannetone will last for several days when stored in an airtight container at room temperature. If you want it to last longer, you can store it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Can panettone be frozen?

Yes, panettone can be frozen for up to 3 months. Wrap it tightly in cling film or aluminium foil before freezing to prevent freezer burn.

What is the best way to eat panettone?

There are many ways to enjoy panettone. It can be eaten on its own as a snack or dessert, or served with coffee or tea. It can also be used in recipes for other dishes such as trifles, pannacotta or bread pudding.

How do you pronounce panettone?

The word panettone is pronounced as “pan-nuh-toh-nee”.

What does panettone mean in English?

Pannetone is a word of Italian origin meaning “large cake”.

How many calories are in panettone?

There are approximately 150 calories in one slice of panettone.

Is panettone vegan?

No, traditional panettone is not vegan as it contains eggs and butter. However, there are some vegan panettone recipes available online.

Is panettone dairy free?

No, panettone is not dairy free as it contains butter. However, there are some recipes for dairy free panettone available online.

Is panettone nut free?

Yes, panettone is generally nut free. However, some recipes may include nuts such as almonds so it is best to check the ingredients list before purchasing or making the cake.

What is the difference between panettone and pandoro?

Pandoro is another traditional Italian cake that is similar to panettone. Both cakes are made with flour, eggs, butter and sugar. However, pandoro does not contain any fruit or raisins and has a different shape, being formed into a star rather than a loaf.

What is panettone used for?

Pannetone is typically eaten as a snack or dessert. It can also be used in recipes for other dishes such as trifles, pannacotta or bread pudding.

What panettone brands are there?

There are many brands of panettone available on the market. Some of the more popular brands include Motta, Bauli and Alemagna.

Where can I buy panettone?

Pannetone is available from most supermarkets and food stores. It can also be purchased online from specialist retailers.

How much does panettone cost?

Prices for panettone vary depending on the brand and where it is purchased. Generally, a loaf of panettone will cost between $10 and $20.

Shane Jones

About Me

Hi, I'm Shane the person behind bakesomebread.com

I've been baking bread for about 10 years now and ever since mastering sourdough bread in 2020 I've decided to branch out into discovering every type of bread imaginable.

This website will document all of those bread types along with recipes as and when I've made them.

If you're a pizza fan check out my other site Make Some Pizza