This is the Golden Orange Panettone from Rose's book The Baking Bible. An epic feat to produce not because it was difficult but because it took extraordinary mental energy for me to understand the many steps. At first I diagrammed the recipe into a crazed map with arrows pointing here and there and everywhere. I then resorted to outlining. Pages and pages of outline. It slowly began to make sense but I still felt befuddled. LIGHT BULB List the steps numerically! They numbered one through thirty three. A visual presentation perhaps? Yes! Feeble attempt of drawing the dough into a cartoon strip began with La Biga and the journey there of.
The only thing I didn't do was to turn it into a three act Broadway play with the Rockettes singing and dancing their way through flour and yeast, flinging orange peel confetti.
Or as I like to call it Edible Silly Putty. Seriously, was this what it was supposed to look like or was it a total fail? I had no idea. To The Google and landing on Youtube featuring Julia Child baking Italian bread with Carol Field, her biga looked as rubbery as mine so I carried on.
Candied Orange Peel
Way back when I read a wonderful post on Kate's, of Kate Flour fame, delightful blog, A Merrier World explaining how to make orange peel. It sounded intriguing. The flavor turned out to be far superior to the very expensive imported Danish candied peel at the local Italian market. It was messy but not difficult.
The biggest surprise was the mountain of pith produced from quite small oranges.
Into a long soaking bath along with the raisins. Triple Sec (I used fresh orange juice), vanilla and the elusive Boyajian Orange Oil found at Sur Le Table, a most dangerous den of baking iniquity. I walked in for oil and walked out with a marble pastry slab, pastry cloth set and oh ya, a triple oil pack. Post Christmas sale=Too Good To Resist. A few tablespoons of the reserved liquid is saved to pour into the dough and it was so incredible, I couldn't bare to toss the rest.
Or the day I nearly lost my mind. How many doughs are there exactly in this Panettone? THREE. I finally figured out Panettone is sort of a transformer magic act, dough by dough. Biga is the first on stage who then goes into a water, flour, egg yolk, golden syrup yeast concoction. That's dough number two, or its professional stage name, The Sponge.
Next up, Dough Number Three, simply referred to as: Dough. Flour, dry milk (what is up with the scarcity of dry milk in stores these days?), yeast and salt are mixed together and poured over the Sponge, blanketing the starter sponge for an eventual trip to the refrigerator after a short warm respite.
Insert swear word of choice I forgot the salt oh well let's just whisk it right on top of the dough.
This poor dough, first it gets nice and warm and them BAM! banished to the cold refrigerator for character building. Out it comes for softened butter, egg yolks, more golden syrup and candied orange/raisin liquid, eventually turning the very peculiar original Silly Putty Biga into a smooth and sticky dough, but dough none the less.This is where I panicked. Was I supposed to let the cold dough warm up first? Had not a clue but in for a penny in for a pound.
The alchemy continued until it all came together into a gorgeous golden dough. The fragrant candied orange peel and raisins are sprinkled like pixie dust and a bit of folding tucks them gingerly inside. Another lovely warm rest and banished to the cold once again, this time to set the butter lest it escape and make a run for it. A quick and gentle knead to redistribute the yeast, into an oiled coated baggy.
After a deep sleep with the fishes cocooned in a Ziplock bag, the citron studded dough is brought forth from a long hypothermia slumber and slowly resuscitated back to the land of the living with a warm rise in a steamy DIY microwave steam bath sitting in the elusive almost proper sized paper mold.
Lo a miracle! The dough rises and fluffs and begins to look like, well dough. Real dough. And so the dough graduates to the end goal; the oven which contains a new pizza stone (the imported $90 Panettone at the Italian deli is starting to seem like a good buy) because my ancient one is MIA, with ice thrown in a pan on the oven floor for a burst of steam. Almost immediately orange begins to scent the air. Thirty minutes in a foil tent is offered for protection against over-browning and a short time later, the Golden Orange Panettone is finally done. Nice and warm, the leftover citron/raisin syrup seemed the perfect thing to brush over the crust.
This Panettone has staying power and doesn't require being hung upside down to prevent collapsing like a souffle. An eight hour rest and The Golden Panettone is ready . It's better, much much better at 24 hours.
Rose's Panettone is milder, more refined than the commercial ones I am used to. I loved making this bread, even though I was sleep deprived miscalculating rising times and tending to dough at 3 a.m., got dizzy trying to remember if it was time for a warm rise, cool rise, first, second or fifteenth rise.. Actually making Panettone seemed way beyond my reach and so I buy them every year at Christmas from Trader Joe's.. The ingredients are essentially the same but that is where the similarity ends. I can't wait to make it again, doubling the amounts of candied orange peel and raisins and brushing it with the leftover orange syrup elixir. Drizzled with Lindt Orange Chocolate Sauce, thank you Faithy for the Lindt tip, and it is spectacular.
Final Curtain Call
Better known as OMGEEEEEE. Breakfast