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Nov 19, 2008 07:24 PM

Panettone? Help!

My kids love panettone. I have tried several recipes and I've got the flavor down. But the texture is still to heavy. I've read that you should use 0 flour. What is that? Is it the same as pastry flour? I think bread flour would make it worse. Thanks for any help.

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  1. I recently made savarin (aka baba au rhum), using a recipe from Pierre Herme's "Chocolate Desserts" recipe, and the texture is similar to that of panettone, perhaps even a bit lighter. You may want to give that a try. Follow the recipe exactly. I made it in a large, shallow Bundt pan.

    BTW if you take it further and use the syrup per the recipe, it is even better. Actually I would use even more syrup, so it is drenched.

    1. Italian 0 flour tends to be lower in protein than all purpose american flour. I think that pastry flour would be a better bet than bread flour, which tends to have even more protein than all purpose. As an alternative, you might want to give King Arthur Flour's Italian-style flour

      1 Reply
      1. re: rramoni

        Actually, for a while King Arthur included a Pannetone recipie along with some of thier flours, they may still, for all I know

      2. When I took a cooking class in Italy several years ago, the instructor recommended using cake flour in place of the Italian 0 flour.

        1. A nice thing to try with your "failed" attempts is cut them up and make French Toast with them. I add a little OJ, finely grated orange rind, cinnamon and nutmeg to my egg and cream mix. Put it in the fridge overnight and fry it up next day. Believe me, they won't notice that the bread is a little 'heavy'.

          6 Replies
          1. re: SpareRib

            another issue (and one that is a bit harder to deal with than most of the others) is that pannetone uses a kind of starter, called a biga. This means that even, if you get the right flour, right rasins, right mix of candied citrus peel, there is still a good chance that the resulting Pannetone will not taste quite right, as it will not have the approprite mix of yeast strains. These bigas are usally not for sale, and are kept as propritary ingredients (this is one of thereasons why, even in heavily Italian neighborhoods, almost all of the bakeries will sell the same pre-boxed pannetones as eveyone else, rather than bake thier own). Oh by the way re-my last post I checked and the King arthur site has several Pannetone recipies, as well as most of the periperhal things you might need (the peel mixes, flavoring etxtracts, baking papers, etc.

            1. re: jumpingmonk

              How are the bigas the bakeries have different from ones you'd mix yourself the day or two before making the panetone?

              1. re: chowser

                the different in that the bakreies bigas are like sourdough starters, they're passed down from generation to generation. Tecnically the biga most of the big bakries are using is the same one they made up when they first opened which has been continually fed and maintained since. Of course you can start your own biga, and it may be a very good biga, all I was saying was that if you were trying to make a pannetone that tastes like a specific brand of pannetione, you probably couln't as you would lake their specific biga. A lot of buyers are loyal to a particular brand so are resisitant to one that doesn't tase like it, which negates a lot of the desire of local bakeries (as opposed to the factory bakeries) to make a start of it.

                1. re: jumpingmonk

                  That's interesting. I wonder if they have insurance policies on their biga.

                  1. re: chowser

                    Don't know But I did hear (via a newspaper article many years ago) that there was a baker who was bringing a portion of biga back to the states (he had apprenticed under one of the old italian bakers, and the biga portion was his "journeyman's gift") To keep it in good condition one the plane ride home (this happened back in the days when you still could bring liquid on planes) , he wrapped its tupperware container in a blanket, booked an extra seat, and had the plane equip it with an infant seat!

                    1. re: jumpingmonk

                      I think you are talking about Gary Rulli of Emporio Rulli in Larkspur and SF.

                      I've been buying his panettone for years and can attest to how good it is. I even have it shipped in now that I no longer live in Marin County. The story of his smuggling his biga back to the U.S. is well known :-)