Monday, November 2, 2009

Timing is Everything!

As in life, also in baking...I made an error in timing a very complicated recipe so I find myself waiting until 1am to start the next phase of a new recipe I am trying. I could probably do it sooner and get an extra hour of sleep but I am determined to follow the recipe exactly and precisely to see if it is the Holy Grail of Panettone for which I have been searching. I love panettone. I hadn't a clue that such a thing existed until I stumbled across one 2 years ago at the local TJ Maxx store. I was attracted to the oddly-shaped box and colorful packaging. After taking it home, tearing off the paper, and slicing into it I was smitten. I am sure the bread wasn't exactly fresh but still it was so so good! I live in an area where panettone isn't to be found so this year I decided to try and make it myself. Insane? Not quite. Basically it is an egg and butter enriched bread with candied fruit scattered throughout a soft feathery interior. The outside is a rich dark brown and the interior is buttery yellow. Sounds simple, eh? I scoured my cookbooks and looked at recipes online and finally settled on Peter Reinhart's recipe from the Bread Baker's Apprentice book. I learned that a traditional panettone uses a sourdough starter as well as yeast so the first step is to get your sourdough ducks in a row. I have had less than stellar success with sourdough so it was with trepidation that I started my first foray into panettone-dom. I have never been a fan of candied fruit so I used dried fruit and soaked it in a heady mixture of vanilla, fiori di sicilia, and orange liqueur. I must say the whole kitchen smelled heavenly so if nothing else I would end up with great-smelling bread! Yesterday I was finally able to bake 2 loaves of panettone- wow! They looked right, they smelled right, and gosh, they even tasted right! I made panettone! However I am still not satisfied that I have found "The" recipe to be used over and over again. I seek the perfect panettone that I can feel confident to give as gifts this holiday season. I want the giftees to swoon when they open the wrapper and get a scent of heaven. Am I asking for much? Nahhhhhhhhhhhh. This girl is like a dog with a bone when she sets her mind on something. So here I sit- gnawing on that bone, waiting for the next installment in the great Panettone Experiment. There is no one in my circle of friends or family who quite understands my passion for baking and cooking. You, dear reader, if you have stumbled across this blog, most likely DO understand from where I come. More tomorrow after I have finished the bread...

1 comment:

  1. I definitely understand! I love really good pannettone but have had some really boring pannettone too. I love this particular brand that comes in a red hat box :D