Panettone

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Buon Natale!

INGREDIENTS

Starter

3/4 cup flour
1/16 teaspoon yeast (just a pinch)
1/3 cup cool water

Dough

2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup lukewarm water
2 large eggs
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) softened butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup golden raisins (soaked in Marsala overnight)
½ cup candied orange (chopped)
2 tablespoons grated orange rind or grated lemon rind (zest)

DIRECTIONS

Starter
Combine the starter ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover and allow to rest overnight.

Dough
Combine all the dough ingredients except the fruit and zest and mix togher until a soft, smooth dough is formed.

Let it rise, covered for 1 to 1 ½ hours. It should be puffy.

Deflate the dough gently and knead in the fruits and zest.

Shape dough into a ball and place in panettone mold and cover with a damp kitchen cloth. Wait until it rises over the rim (about an hour or more).

Bake the bread in 400 degree oven for 10 minutes, reduce to 375 and cook for another 10 minutes; reduce to 350 and bake for 25 minutes.

Remove from the oven and pierce 12-inch metal or wooden skewers all the way through the panettone (including the paper) 4 inches apart and 1 inch from the bottom so the skewers are parallel. Hang the panettone upside down over a large stockpot and cool completely before cutting.

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