panetton brioche

Et voila’, the Panetton-Brioche is born



Where to start, da dove cominciare?
A few weeks ago I realized I had never made a sourdough brioche, and I felt compelled to learn this difficult art. Cause a sourdough bread that can hold that amount of eggs and butter is a true miracle. A brioche has generally something like a 50% eggs. C’mon, doesn’t it sound completely nuts? And it also contains about 20% butter. Now, I know for a fact that shortening and gluten don’t exactly go together well (unlike ebony and ivory). And, yet, a properly made brioche is so light and so perfectly risen that seems to defeat gravity. This is why I had to do it, no time to fool around it anymore.

Just while I was thinking all that, I see a yeast-based Italian-style brioche from bread master Nuccio Gatto. The recipe was new and he hadn’t yet published on his blog, so he was so nice to give it to me in private. Now you can find a variation of it here. Italian brioche dough generally uses milk instead of water, and Nuccio’s variant is unique because it uses soy milk instead of regular milk. This has nothing to do with food preferences… as Nuccio taught me, soy milk does something good to the dough, so to me it is definitely a keeper in this type of preparation.



When I made my first sourdough brioche modifying Nuccio’s recipe I remember telling Nuccio “but panettone is just a big brioche!”. Indeed… yeast-based Italian brioche is the base for panettone, which differs from it in two main aspects: panettone is based on natural leaven and use a much longer rising time (brioche is made in a few hours, panettone in a few days). Moreover, Panettone dough has two builds, which is also time consuming, while brioche has only one build. My brilliant (please allow me) idea was to make a quick panettone with just one build, by playing around with brioche dough. So I took Nuccio’s formula, which used baker’s yeast, and I rescaled everything to adapt it to what I know perfoms best for long and slow fermentations: a young, very liquid, levain. I also substituted unsweetened soy milk to the regular type, added more butter and more sugar, little more egg and improvised an orange chocolate filling. Regarding the method, it is totally my own, and derives from what I have learned so far about bread. So don’t blame Nuccio for imprecisions in the method, blame me.

I was very happy with the result and the good news is that this panetton brioche (as I called it) can be made during a regular working week, as long as on day 2 you are gone for no more than, let’s say, 5 hours. RICETTA ANCHE IN ITALIANO.




-200 g mature 125% hydration sourdough starter*
-280 g unsweetened organic soy milk
-420 g organic whole eggs
-80 g organic egg yellow
-40 organic acacia honey (naturally liquid)
-145 organic raw caster sugar
-950 organic bread flour (minumum 11.5% protein content)
-20 marine salt
-190 unsalted butter, cold
-160 g (but you can go up to 190 grams, in my opinion) extra fine orange flavored dark chocolate, roughly chopped
-butter and caster sugar for the topping

*125% Hydration Sourdough Starter: about 6-12 hours before you are going to use it, take out 25 g of mature sourdough starter (ideally a 100% one but also a thicker starter will do) and combine it with 125 g water and 100 g organic bread flour.

Method: I suggest preparing the 125% hydration starter in the morning and mixing the final dough in the evening. So, in the evening take 200 grams out of the liquid starter and combine it with all the ingredients except for the salt, the butter, and the chocolate. Mix with a stand mixer at low speed for 10 minutes. Let the dough rest for 45 minutes, covered, then activate the stand mixer again at speed 2 and add the salt and the butter, one little piece at a time. When the butter will be dissolved, knead for another 15 minutes. At the end of the mixing, incorporate the orange chocolate. Place the dough in a large bowl or container, and leave it to rise, well sealed, all night at room temperature. The morning of the following day, control that the dough has risen 1.5 times in volume (it DOES NOT need to double) and transfer it on a lightly floured surface. With the help of a dough scraper divide the dough and roughly shape it into balls of different weight, according to the panettone molds you have, and place it seam-side down in the molds. The dough should have enough space to almost triple in height. Place the molds on baking dishes and then in the oven with the light on and a crack open. Let rise until the dough almost reaches the border of the molds (to me this took 7 hours but it can go quicker). Take the dough out and preheat the oven at 175 degrees Celsius. Bake until the top turns golden brown (15 to 30 minutes depending on the size of the molds). When still hot, brush the top of the panetton brioche with melted butter and sprinkle with caster sugar. If you used mini molds, just let them cool on the side. If you used normal-sized molds, do as usual for panettone: stick 2 long skewers in the bottom of the molds and let the panettone cool upside-down (so it won’t collapse on itself). Enjoy!!



-200 g lievito madre liquido (al 125% di idratazione)*
-280 g latte di soia (possibilmente senza zucchero e biologica)
-420 g uova biologiche
-80 g tuorli da uova biologiche
-40 g miele di acacia
-145 g zucchero grezzo
-950 g farina di forza biologica
-20 sale marino
-200 g burro
-160 g cioccolato fondente extra all’arancia, tagliato a pezzi
-burro e zucchero semolato per la copertura

*Lievito Madre al 125% di Idratazione: 6-12 ore prima di fare l’impasto, prendi 25 g di lievito madre attivo (meglio se idratato al 100% – anche chiamato “licoli” in Italia, ma anche un lievito meno idratato come la classica pasta madre puo’ andare bene) e combinalo con 125 grammi di acqua e 100 grammi di farina di forza biologica.

Metodo: Suggerisco di preparare il lievito madre al 125% d’idratazione la mattina e fare l’impasto finale la sera dello stesso giorno. Quindi, alla sera, prendete 200 grammi di lievito madre al 125% e combinatelo con il resto degli ingredienti (meglio se aggiungete gli ingredienti umidi prima; nota: e’ bene che tutti gli ingredienti liquidi siano freddi, aiuteranno l’impasto a non scaldarsi troppo durante la lunga lavorazione), lasciando fuori dall’impasto solo il sale, il burro e la cioccolata. Impastate a velocita’ minima per una decina di minuti (lavorare a mano sarebbe difficile ma non impossibile). Lasciate riposare l’impasto per 45 minuti, quindi ricominciate ad impastare a velocita’ 2, aggiungendo il sale e il burro freddo, un pezzettino alla volta. Quando il burro si e’ perfettamente incorporato, impastate altri 25 minuti, sempre a velocita’ 2. Alla fine della lavorazione incorporate la cioccolata a pezzi. Trasferite l’impasto in una ciotola o contenitore capiente, bel sigillato, e lasciate riposare a temperatura ambiente tutta la notte. Fate un segno sul contenitore per marcare il livello dell’impasto al momento in cui lo lasciate a riposare. Il mattino successivo, accertatevi che l’impasto sia cresciuto 1 volta e 1/2 rispetto al livello iniziale. NON deve raddoppiare. Trasferite l’impasto su una superfice lievemente infarinata e con l’aiuto di una spatola per impasti formate delle palle approssimative (l’impasto e’ super molle, non lavoratelo a questo stadio, lo degassereste) di pezzatura adatta al vostro tipo di stampi. Considerate che l’impasto deve avere abbastanza spazio per triplicare in volume Sempre con l’aiuto della spatola trasferite le palle/palline (dipende) con la chiusura verso il basso (se ci riuscite) negli stampi. Ponete gli stampi su dele teglie da forno e mettetele nel forno spento, con la luce accesa e uno spiraglio aperto. Lasciate lievitare fino a che l’impasto raggiunge quasi il bordo dello stampo (mi ci sono volute 7 ore, ma puo’ avvenire piu’ rapidamente, occhio al vostro impasto). Estraete le teglie dal forno e preriscaldate a 175 gradi. Infornate e cuocete fino a che i dolci appaiono ben coloriti (dai 15 ai 30 minuti, dipende dalla pezzatura). Non appena estratte le teglie dal forno, spennellate la superficie dei dolci con del burro fuso e ricoprite con zucchero semolato. Lasciate freddare i mini panettoni su un lato e quelli piu’ grandi come dei panettoni veri e propri: infilzati in spiedini e lasciati a testa in giu’. Ho provato a non farlo con il primo panetton brioche grande ed e’ dimunito in volume, quindi, MAI lasciar raffreddare il panetton brioche dritto. Alla salute!





Note: this photography session was a tandem with my talented friend Christine Salomonsson, thank you Christine for teaching me about lighting in difficult lighting conditions.

I am glad to submit this bread to Susan for her spectacular collection YeastSpotting.

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Barbara Elisi

Hi there! I am the "soul" behind Bread & Companatico. My main interest is the preservation of bread tradition and craft, with an eye to health. I hope you are having a good time reading this blog, and please don't be shy to connect with me through comments or emails and do keep on bread-ing! 🙂

Latest posts by Barbara Elisi (see all)

20 replies
  1. Janina
    Janina says:

    Yay, I am so happy you posted the recipe for panettone brioche. I have been waiting eagerly after seeing your beautiful photos posted on panissimo. I have never made panetttone but usually buy the store made version each christmas as a tradition. However, nothing beats homemade. Now to find some panettone cases.

  2. Veronica
    Veronica says:

    Bravo, Barbara! What a beautiful, delicious creation! You should be so proud. Now let’s see if I can actually post this comment – I figured it was about time I try again.

  3. sandra
    sandra says:

    stupefacente!!! elettrizzante e incredibile…. allungo la mano ma non riesco ad agganciarlo!!!
    mi toccherà farmelo per sentire il profumo e il sapore!
    Baci, perchè con questa ricetta te li meriti tutti!

  4. Euan
    Euan says:

    Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!! Looks and sounds so good. And congratulations on working out this new method. You’ve inspired me to get my panettone hat on this Christmas

  5. Korena in the Kitchen
    Korena in the Kitchen says:

    Love these! I made conventional yeasted panettone last Christmas, and I’ve wanted to try it with sourdough but I was intimidated by the DAYS LONG EFFORT! I think I will try this instead 🙂 PS, what does the soy milk do for the dough that cow’s milk doesn’t?

    • Barbara
      Barbara says:

      good question Korena: the addition of soy milk is an “invention” of my friend Nuccio Gatto and apparently it truly does something good to the dough (from wikipedia “soy lecithin helps even distribution of ingredients in dough, stabilizes fermentation, increases volume”). Nuccio is an excellent home baker who has a background in chemistry 🙂 Like you, I get also often annoyed (and discouraged) thinking about all the time that panettone takes so I wanted to try a quick way, which does not give exactly a panettone, but is a good approximation.

      • Korena in the Kitchen
        Korena in the Kitchen says:

        Interesting about the soya lecithin – I guess that’s why it’s often added to commercial bread. Nice that you can get the same effect with soy milk!

        Never having had a “real” Italian panettone, I’m sure I won’t know any difference 🙂

  6. Luv'n Spoonfuls
    Luv'n Spoonfuls says:

    I think I saw sourdough starter at Whole Foods last time I was there, so this will be a great ‘starter’ recipe for me to try that out with. I love to bake at the holidays and this sounds so delicious and festive. Can’t wait to give it a try. The photos look good enough to eat too!


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