B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself

My wife Sarah has Italian heritage, so for the past 14 years I’ve been the lucky guy who gets to scoff his way through loads of panettone each Christmas. This light, delicious bread is just brilliant dipped in dessert wine. I’ve put chocolate in my version, which isn’t traditional, but hey, it’s my book and if I want to fill everything with chocolate, then that’s what I’m going to do. From the moment I begin zesting the oranges for this, I’m always filled with a desperate urge to start eating. It’s a wonder I’m never caught scoffing the raw dough. The most important thing to remember with this bread is patience. Give it as much time as it needs to rise.


Quantity Ingredient
50g currants
50g sultanas
100g candied mixed peel
1 orange, zest finely grated
1 unwaxed lemon, zest finely grated
1 tablespoon dark rum
120ml whole milk
150ml caster sugar
1 tablespoon ‘quick’ yeast
500g strong white bread flour
1 teaspoon table salt
180g unsalted butter, cut into 1 cm cubes, plus more for the tin
3 large eggs, lightly beaten, plus 1 extra, lightly beaten, to brush
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
50g chocolate chips
a little bit flavourless oil, for the bowl

Tool kit

Quantity Ingredient
stand mixer fitted with dough hook, (optional)
panettone tin
or 23 cm deep-sided springform cake tin, (or wider)
pastry brush
wire cooling rack


  1. Put the currants, sultanas and candied peel into a bowl with the zests and the rum, cover with cling film and leave to soak for 20 minutes.
  2. Put 60 ml of the milk and 10 g of the caster sugar in a bowl and microwave for 15 seconds on full power (or heat gently in a small saucepan). Stir this up, then stir in the yeast. Leave to stand for 15 minutes, until it becomes frothy.
  3. Tip the flour, remaining sugar and the salt into the bowl of a stand mixer and mix well, then stir in the butter. Add the yeast mixture, remaining milk, 3 eggs, vanilla bean paste, chocolate chips and soaked fruit and mix up thoroughly using a silicone spatula.
  4. Fit the stand mixer with a dough hook, turn it on to a medium speed and knead for 10 minutes. This is going to be a wet dough – almost cakey in consistency due to the huge amount of butter in it – but don’t worry!
  5. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise at room temperature for 2–3 hours or until at least doubled in size (tripled is better; take a photo on your phone for comparison purposes).
  6. Rub some butter on the inside of a panettone tin, or a 23 cm (or wider) deep-sided springform tin, and use the sticky surface to line it with baking parchment. Knock back the risen dough and put it in the prepared tin. Cover the tin with a plastic bag, to form a tent around it, and leave to rise for another 2–3 hours, or until the dough has risen to at least 2 cm above the rim of the tin.
  7. Preheat the oven to 200°C and brush the top of the panettone with the remaining egg.
  8. Bake for 40–45 minutes, checking during the last 15 minutes to see if the top is browning too much. If it is, cover it with foil for the rest of the bake. Take out and leave to cool on a wire rack.


  • This recipe has a level 2 (intermediate) difficulty.


  • Now, in terms of changing the constituent parts of panettone, I’d avoid it if I were you. The large amounts of eggs, milk and butter in the mix means that the yeast works very slowly, hence the long proving times involved.
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