Wrong season and all that, but I like fruit-in-bread (as the usual weekly whole-wheat challah with dried cherries) and I really want to get caught up with the BBA Challenge, so I baked panettone this weekend despite the high 90's temperatures of a summer day in Georgia. Regardless of the season I don't do candied cherries any more, so I went with the base golden raisins, then added a few dried apricots, a dried peach, and dried tart cherries to my fruit mix, doused it in dark rum with lemon extract and Fiori di Sicilia, and let that sit overnight.
I again wanted a half recipe, and this time I worked with the amounts written on a sticky note covering the recipe amounts to try to forestall the problems that plagued my Pane Siciliano. This panettone recipe calls for a wild-yeast sponge starting with a barm, and as I did the last time we used barm, I grabbed for my standard sourdough starter, refreshed it one day, then made the sponge with barm/starter, milk, and unbleached flour the next. That sat out to bubble then got refrigerated overnight.
All the preparatory mixes made and aged as needed, it was on to the actual bread today. Flour, salt, yeast, and sugar got blended with the sponge, and an egg and a yolk. For my half recipe, I just took one egg and removed some white until I had the correct weight of egg+yolk. All that got mixed to form a "supple ball". It took almost no water after that--the directions were less than clear, anyway, as when the ingredients form into a supple ball, I for one would feel that was "a dough". Apparently not, so I added a tablespoon or so of water to get a dough that machine-kneaded with just the bottom of the dough sticking to the bowl, a criterion given for some earlier breads. The dough then rests for 20 minutes, then the butter and the dried fruit plumped in rum are added, and the dough is ready for kneading.
I stuck with my KitchenAid kneading, just using a lower speed to keep from beating up the dried fruit. I was rather surprised when the dough really did pass the windowpane test at the end of the kneading period, though I held the dough out from the dough hook to do the test because it was quite tacky. The dough is sweet and rich and so is slow to rise--it did take two hours for each rise. I found small baking papers and made 8 small panettones (4 ounces of dough each) with my half recipe.
My little breads baked in about 30 minutes. I missed the note about spraying the baking papers with oil, and so the bottoms seem to leave a thin layer in the paper. The texture is even and smooth, and it's a soft bread--not as rich as the brioche, but definitely a bread for special occasions.