This traditional Italian Christmas bread is a speciality of Milan. It is said that "pane de tonio" has been created by a poor Milanese baker, Tonio, who's daughter loved a young Noble gentleman who wanted to marry her. But she could not marry without a dowry. So, he gave all the ingredients to bake a delicious cake. Tonio made his fortune out of his "pane" and his daughter became a woman of good family. Recipe for one loaf:
  • 1 oz. baker's yeast
  • 3 oz. 00 flour
  • 2 cups strong flour
  • 7 tbs. sugar
  • 1 whole egg
  • 5 egg yolks
  • salt
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 6 tbs. raisins, soaked
  • 2 oz. candied orange and lemon peel, diced
  • 1 1/2 tbs. butter
This recipe is by far the most difficult of the recipes that I have ever made for Christmas. It depends on a lot of environmental factors that are very difficult to control, such as temperature and water saturation of the air and the moisture content of the flour.

Mix the yeast with the flour and as much water as necessary (2-3 oz of water) for the dough to be elastic. Wrap in a towel and put into a warm place until it doubles in size. Add 4 tablespoon of flour and 1/2 cup warm water to the raised dough and knead for 10 minutes. Put it to raise in a warm place for 3 hours.

Punch down the dough, and add another 4 tablespoons of flour, with as much warm water as necessary (2-3 tablespoons). Knead again for 10 minutes. Place the dough in a warm place to raise for 2 hours. Combine the sugar, the whole egg and the egg yolks. Whisk this mixture over a bain-marie until it makes a ribbon. Set aside to cool.

Make a well with the remaining flour. Add a pinch of salt, the risen dough, the butter and the egg mixture into the middle. Knead for 20 minutes. When the dough is smooth and elastic, add the raisins and candied peels. Grease and flour a 8' by 8' round tin. Place the dough into the tin and allow to raise in a warm place for at least 6 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.

Cut a cross on top of the dough with a sharp knife and put 1 tablespoon of butter in the middle. Cook the Panettone in a preheated at 200 degrees Celsius (400ºF) oven for 40-45 minutes. The cake is ready when an office knife inserted in the centre comes out hot and dry.

A piece of advice: to recreate good conditions to proof the dough, heat up your oven to 40 degrees Celsius (104F). Place a oven tray filled with some warm water. And place the dough covered with a cloth to raise in it.

Vegetarian, nut free, suitable for pregnant women.