Daring bakers make Panettone

The December 2012 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by the talented Marcellina of Marcellina in Cucina. Marcellina challenged us to create our own custom Panettone, a traditional Italian holiday bread!

If you are like us- you would almost always buy Panettone from the store during the holiday season.


Makes 2 Panettoni

1 satchel (2¼ teaspoons) (7 gm) active dry yeast
1/3 cup (80 ml) warm water
½ cup (70 gm) unbleached all purpose flour
First Dough
1 satchel (2¼ teaspoons) (7 gm) active dry yeast
3 tablespoons (45 ml) warm water
2 large eggs, at room temp
1¼ cup (175 gm) unbleached all-purpose (plain) flour
¼ cup (55 gm) (2 oz) sugar
½ cup (1 stick) (115 gm) unsalted butter, at room temp
Second dough
2 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
2/3 cup (150 gm) (5-2/3 oz) sugar
3 tablespoons (45 ml) honey
1 tablespoon (15 ml) vanilla extract
1 teaspoon (5 ml) lemon essence/extract
1 teaspoon (5 ml) orange essence/extract
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) salt
1 cup (2 sticks) (225 gm) unsalted butter, at room temp
3 cups (420 gm) (15 oz) unbleached all-purpose (plain) flour; plus up to (2/3 cup) 100 gm for kneading
Filling and final dough
1½ cups (250 gm) (9 oz) raisins, cranberries, dried figs
½ cup (75 gm) (2-2/3 oz) homemade candied orange peel
1/2 cup candied ginger, chopped
Grated zest of 1 orange
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 to 3 tablespoons (30-45 ml) (15-25 gm) unbleached all-purpose (plain) flour


  1. Mix the yeast and water in a small bowl and allow to stand until creamy. That’s about 10 minutes or so
  2. Mix in the flour.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to double in size for about 20 to 30 minutes

First Dough
By Mixer:

  1. In the mixer bowl, mix together the yeast and water and allow to stand until creamy. Again, about 10 minutes or so
  2. With the paddle attached mix in the sponge, eggs, flour, and sugar.
  3. Add in the butter and mix for 3 minutes until the dough is smooth and even.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and allow double in size, about 1 – 1 ¼ hours

Second dough By Mixer:

  1. With the paddle mix in thoroughly the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, honey, vanilla, essences/extracts, and salt.
  2. Mix in the butter until smooth.
  3. Add the flour and slowly incorporate.
  4. At this stage the dough will seem a little too soft, like cookie dough.
  5. Replace the paddle with the dough hook and knead for about 2 minutes.
  6. Turn out the dough and knead it on a well-floured surface until it sort of holds its shape.
  7. Don’t knead in too much flour but you may need as much as 2/3 cup (100 gm). Be careful the excess flour will affect the finished product.

First Rise

  1. Oil a large bowl lightly, plop in your dough and cover with plastic wrap
  2. Now we need to let it rise until it has tripled in size. There are two ways to go about this.
  • Rise in a warm place for 2 – 4 hours
  • Or find a cool spot (64°F -68°F) (18°C – 20°C) and rise overnight
  • Or rise for 2 hours on your kitchen bench then slow the rise down and place in the refrigerator overnight. If you do this it will take some time to wake up the next morning but I preferred this method.   

**Note: This did not work out so well- my dough did not triple at all- it doubled before I put in the refrigerator and that was it!**

Filling and Final Rise:

  1. Soak the raisin, cranberries and dried figs in water 30 minutes before the end of the first rise. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Now take your dough and cut it in half. Remember we are making two panettoni.
  3. Combine all your filling ingredients and mix well
  4. Press out one portion of dough into an oval shape
  5. Sprinkle over one quarter of the filling and roll up the dough into a log
  6. Press out again into an oval shape and sprinkle over another quarter of the filling
  7. Roll into a log shape again.
  8. Repeat with the second portion of dough
  9. Shape each into a ball and slip into your prepared pans, panettone papers or homemade panettone papers.
  10. Cut an X into the top of each panettone and allow to double in size.
  11. Rising time will vary according to method of first rise. If it has been in the refrigerator it could take 4 hours or more. If it has been rising on the kitchen bench in a warm place it should be doubled in about 2 hours.

**Note: This did not work out so well either – my dough did not double at all even after 4 hrs (it was out of the refrigerator for over an hour and a half)**


  1. When you think your dough has only about 30 minutes left to rise preheat your oven to moderately hot 400°F/200°C/gas mark 6 and adjust your oven racks
  2. Just before baking carefully (don’t deflate it!) cut the X into the dough again and place in a knob (a nut) of butter.
  3. Place your panettoni in the oven and bake for 10 minutes
  4. Reduce the heat to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 and bake for another 10 minutes
  5. Reduce the heat again to moderate 325°F/160°C/gas mark 3 and bake for 30 minutes until the tops are well browned and a skewer inserted into the panettone comes out clean.
  6. Cooling your panettone is also important. If you have use papers (commercial or homemade) lie your panettoni on their side cushioned with rolled up towels. Turn gently as they cool. If you have used pans cool in the pans for 30 minutes then remove and cushion with towels as above.
  7. Panettone can also be cooled suspended. How to do this? Firstly you need to use papers (commercial or homemade), insert clean knitting needles into the bottom of the panettone in a X shape. Flip over and support the knitting needles on the edges of a large saucepan with the panettone suspended within the saucepan. Yep, a lot of trouble and I didn’t really find that much difference – maybe I took too long to insert the needles.

    How to make homemade Panettone papers:

    Cut 6 long strips on baking parchment and arrange in a star pattern on a baking parchment lined oven tray. Staple the middle.

    Place the Panettone dough in the middle

    Wrap strips around the dough.

    Make a collar out of baking parchment using a cake pan or saucepan to give the shape and staple in place.

    Remove the collar from the cake pan and slip over the dough. Attach the strips of paper which cover the dough to the collar with staples.
    Bake as directed without removing from the oven tray.
    Looks rough but it works. Takes a bit of fiddling.

    **Note: we also made 2 baskets (thanks to the wise guy- he figured the engineering behind panettone papers and the baskets :)). One panettone was in the tall cylinder and the other half of dough, we halved it and placed in two baskets- obviously these baked slightly faster than the taller one. The baskets were from here, thanks to the Wild yeast blog **


    Thank you Marcellina – we would have never known how heavenly fresh panettone tastes but for this challenge! It smelled great and tasted even better- we actually had to consciosuly control ourselves from finishing all of it...

Empanadas for Daring bakers September edition

Patri of the blog, Asi Son Los Cosas, was our September 2012 Daring Bakers’ hostess and she decided to tempt us with one of her family’s favorite recipes for Empanadas! We were given two dough recipes to choose from and encouraged to fill our Empanadas as creatively as we wished!

“An empanada (or empada, in Portuguese) is a stuffed bread or pastry baked or fried in many countries in Western Europe, Latin America, and parts of Southeast Asia. The name comes from the Galician, Portuguese and Spanish verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread” -source wikipedia

I think of an empanada as a variation of Indian samosa… anyhoo on to the recipe
Empanada Dough

(a recipe using wheat flour from “La Empanada Gallega”)

Servings: 6


3½ cups (500 gm) all-purpose (plain) or bread flour
1 cup (240 ml) warm water
½ cup less 1 tablespoon (100 ml) of liquid fat (oil, margarine, lard)
1 satchel (1 tablespoon) (15 gm) dry yeast or (1 oz) (30 gm) fresh yeast
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) salt
1 teaspoon (3 gm) sweet paprika


  1. Shift the flour into a bowl, make a well in the middle and add all the ingredients (you should break the fresh yeast as much as possible).
  2. Mix with a wooden spoon until all the ingredients have been incorporated
  3. Turn dough onto your counter and knead for 8 minutes (You can also use in this case the stand mixer, reduce kneading time to 5 minutes)
  4. Make a ball and allow to rise covered with a cloth for about an hour before using.
  5. Once risen, turn the dough back into a floured counter and cut it in half. Cover one half with the napkin to prevent drying.
  6. Spread the other half of the dough using a rolling pin. You can use a piece of wax paper over the counter, it will make it easier to move the dough around. Depending on the shape of your oven pan or cookie sheet, you will make a rectangle or a round.

Now, the thinness of the dough will depend on your choice of filling and how much bread you like in every bite. For your first time, make it about 3mm thin (about 1/10th of an inch) and then adjust from that in the next ones you make. 

I cut individual rounds using cookie cutter; added my filling and sealed the ends with a moistened fork.

Baked at 350 F for about 25 minutes

Cool and enjoy

I actually froze most of mine!

For the filling

1 minced red onion
2 tbsp minced ginger
about 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups pressure cooked black beans
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
(I had frozen beans from last week-so I thawed both beans and corn and strained them to remove the extra liquid)
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 tbsp dry roasted cumin powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 serrano, chopped finely
salt to taste

Saute the onions, serrano chillies, ginger and garlic in about 2 tbsp oil. Once the onions are translucent, add the beans, corn, powders, salt and saute them until the corn has browned a bit. Finally add the chopped parsley.

Your filling is ready!


Thanks Patri- for this make ahead, freezer- friendly, insanely creative challenge! I already have so many fillings in mind…
I feel like it is not easy to go wrong with this one…yippee

Baked Gulab Jamuns

T’was Ganesh Chathurthi yesterday- the only bright star was this baked gulab jamun I made.
Pretty simple actually- (this is a consolidation of recipes, temperatures and times from many blogs)


1 pkt Gits Gulab Jamun mix
1/4 cup milk
3 tsp oil
a few tbsp water

a few tbsp oil

For the raw sugar simple syrup (recipe adapted from here)

1 cup water
1 3/4 cup raw sugar
2 tbsp rose water
1 tsp ground elaichi (cardamom)
a pinch camphor


Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a cookie sheet with silicone mat

Knead the gulab jamun mix with milk and oil adding water in small amounts (like a tbsp at a time) until everything is mixed

Grease your palms and make small rounds of gulab jamun. Place them on the baking sheet (1 inch apart). Bake for 15-20 min (in retrospect might have been a bit too hot for a bit too long- note to self for next time: reduce temperature and time)

The jamuns will be light brown in color unlike their fried cousins

For the sugar syrup

Add sugar, rose water, ground elaichi and camphor to the water and boil for a few minutes (mine was on for about 5-7 minutes and then I kept it on low until the jamuns were ready).

Jamun trivia

Gulab jamuns, a twist of luqmat-al-qadi (Judge’s bite), is thought to have been introduced in the Indian subcontinent by the Mughals.

Besan ki masala roti for ICC

Besan (chick pea flour) ki masala roti for this month’s ICC hosted by Srivalli. I followed the recipe closely except I made a double batch and froze half uncooked (rolled the rotis out, layered them on to parchment paper, let them harden in the freezer for a few hours before I put them in a ziplock bag!)

Below is the recipe from Srivalli’s blog

Ingredients Needed

For roti

Gram flour / Besan – 1 cup
Whole Wheat Flour / Atta – 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Ghee – 2 tbsp

For masala filling

Cumin powder – 1 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder – 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Green chilli paste – 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Dry mango powder / Amchur – 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder ; ;1/2 tsp
Pure ghee – 1& 1/2 tbsp

How to make the Besan Ki Masala Roti

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients for the masala filling. If the ghee is not enough you can add little oil to make the paste little runny.

For the dough, combine all the ingredients, knead into a soft dough using water as required.;

Divide the dough in eight portions and make balls. Roll out each ball into a four inch disc and place one tsp portion of the masala filling on to it

make a triangle. Roll out again to make a triangular roti

Repeat the same with the remaining portions. Heat a tawa and fry each roti with a little ghee till both sides are golden brown. Apply a little ghee and press it gently between your palms.

Beware- it is a very sticky dough, I had t flour the surface pretty generously

Earrings galore….

Having been under the weather this past week, put my time to good use. Learned this beautiful right angle weave earring from beaded jewelry diva– it is not perfect though, can see thread in parts! I had very similar colored beads too…

ICC- Patishaptha..yay

The first time I had this gorgeous Bengali sweet- was at my friend SD’s place a long time ago on Diwali (I think!). I knew then that if opportunity presented itself, I would definitely make it. And I did- thanks to ICC this month.

It is an eggless crepe called patishaptha and like other crepes and pancakes, the possibilities of various fillings and toppings can put your imagination and creativity to test.

I followed the recipe from here, just halved the recipe and added some spices of my own

For the crepe batter

  • 1 cups AP Flour
  • 1/8 cup Semolina
  • 1/2 tbsp Rice Flour
  • 2 cups Whole Milk
  • pinch of salt
  • about 2-3 tbsp vanilla flavored confectioners sugar
For the filling
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen grated coconut 
  • 1/2 cup frozen khoya
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar
  • 1 1/2  tbsp Milk
  • 1 tsp Cardamom Powder / 3-4 Cardamom Pods

To make the filling

In a saute pan, mix the grated coconut and raw sugar on a simmer and stir continuously

Add the khoya, milk and cardamom powder. Stir till the mixture is moist and turns a little brown and sticky. The consistency should be granular. Took about 30 minutes.

To make the crepes

Mix all the dry ingredients well in a bowl.
Pour milk with constant stirring to avoid lumps. The batter should be thin and flow freely. (Add excess milk/water if necessary)
Heat the pan (we used a cast iron pan), tested out a small amount of batter first (ensured that it took about 20 sec for each side to cook)
Pour about 1/2 cup of batter and turn/rotate the pan to thin out the batter. Cook for about 20-30 sec on medium low heat until there are nice and brown. Add your filling, roll it and let it cook for another 10-20 sec.
Judgement– I had to literally protect one so that I could take a photograph! These were good- they were not terribly thin though but who cares!