Panettone is a sweet bread originally from Milan, Italy, and is usually made for Christmas and New Years. But who says you can’t enjoy this festive bread throughout the year? This was another food that I wanted to purchase; but couldn’t find any vegan varieties anywhere. Well, I’m glad I was able to make a vegan one myself and it really was a hit with friends and family. The ingredients are simple and traditional, and the bread isn’t too sweet. It makes a delicious french toast too if you don’t devour the whole thing in a few days! It also makes a lovely gift if you wish to wrap it in parchment paper and twine.
This recipe will make two large panettone breads. You’ll just need a couple of 6″ or 7″ round paper baking molds. You can find them at cooking stores and online. If you can’t find the paper molds, you can just use a brown paper bag and fold the top down to give it a cylindrical shape.
In the video below, I’ve also added in some of these delicious orange slices in syrup (from Marchesi di San Giuliano) that I had cut into very small pieces. A really nice touch to make this bread extra special!
Mix the yeast, sugar and water in a bowl and let sit for about 10 minutes. You should see some bubbles and foam starting to rise to the top of the water by that time. This is proofing the yeast, so if you don’t see the bubbles, the yeast isn’t active and you’ll have to start over. In a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients (except for the milk), and mix well with a spoon or spatula. Knead the dough a few times, place the dough back in the large bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let it sit in a warm place for about two to three hours until the dough doubles in size.
After the dough has risen, punch the dough down and knead it a few more times. You may need to add some flour to your hands so the dough is not so sticky. Next, cut the dough into two even pieces and form into two balls. Place each ball into the paper baking molds and set them on a cookie sheet, a few inches apart from each other. Set your oven rack to the center of the oven – but don’t preheat yet. Let the dough sit in the shells to rise a little bit more, about another hour or so. Then, take them out of the oven, and brush each of the dough tops with the plant milk. Place them back into the oven and preheat oven to 375F. Bake for 50 minutes. (The breads will be in the oven while the oven is preheating). The tops will be dark golden brown when finished and your kitchen will smell amazing!
Remove the loaves from the oven when they have finished baking, and allow them to cool at room temperature. When the breads have cooled, you may want to trim the paper molds a bit to expose more of the pretty dome shape. If you want to go an extra step, you can insert a couple of wooden skewers into the bottom of the breads, with the skewers parallel to each other, and suspend the breads upside down in a large empty pot. I did not do this step but it’s supposed to make the bread even fluffier 🙂
Enjoy the panettone with some jam!