Simple Panettone, Italian Christmas Bread Recipe

Panettone is an Italian Christmas bread.

This version is quite simple and basic in comparison to the real deal. Although we are using a preferment, the proper one is made with sourdough and fermented for much longer. Nevertheless, this is a decent panettone. It is sweet, soft, and fragrant and quite simple to make. I will make a video on the proper one next Christmas so you can choose which one is best for you.

This is ideal for a beginner or when you do not want to spend too much time and effort making it. The effort to result ratio is not bad at all! 

Time is extremely important for this bake. Although it takes relatively few hours, it does take a whole day. So, plan your schedule around this bake. Start making it in the morning. And let it ferment properly or else it will be dense. 

Watch the video down below for detailed instructions.


For the preferment

65g (2.3oz) strong white bread flour

60g (2.1oz) cold water

Pinch of yeast


For the main dough

210g (7.4oz) strong white bread flour *Cold from the fridge.

45g (1.6oz) cold water

1 whole egg

5g (0.2oz) dry yeast or 3x the amount of fresh yeast

50g (1.75oz) soft butter

3g (0.1oz) vanilla syrup

3g (0.1oz) orange oil

5g (0.2oz) salt

40g (1.4oz) sugar

200g (7oz) dry mixed fruit & peel *This should also be refrigerated

2 oranges worth of zest

To learn more about dough temperature control click here.


1 egg yolk mixed with a teaspoon of milk for glazing

Sugar nibs to sprinkle on top


  1. Make the preferment by mixing the water, pinch of yeast & flour. Ferment for 8 – 12 hours or until doubled and bubbly.
  2. Refrigerate the flour, water, egg & dried fruit. Ingredients must be cold because the kneading process will be long, and the dough will warm up quite a bit.
  3. In a bowl add the water, egg, vanilla, yeast, orange oil, salt, sugar, orange zest & the preferment. Mix well. Add the flour and mix to a dough.
  4. Knead for 3 minutes. Add the butter and continue kneading for another 6 minutes. Add the dried fruit and knead for another 5 minutes. Desired dough temperature 26 – 27C (79-80F).
  5. Cover and ferment for 3 hours.
  6. Shape into a round and place in a cake tin lined with parchment paper. Alternatively use a panettone case or divide into more smaller ones. I used a 16cm (6.3in) cake tin.
  7. Cover & ferment for 3 – 4 hours. During the final hour of fermentation preheat your oven to 160C (320F) fan on. If you have a thick tray or cast-iron skillet then use that as a base. But if you do not that is fine; it will work anyway.
  8. Glaze the panettone & sprinkle with the sugar nibs.
  9. Bake for 60 – 70 minutes. Or until the internal temperature reads above 94C (200F). If the top of the loaf is getting too dark early in the bake, then cover it with a piece of foil.

Let it cool down completely before cutting.

Watch the video here

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