Panettone

A rich Italian breakfast bread, Panettone (pan-ney-toh-nee) is simply delicious. Although it is time-consuming to make, the result is well worth it.

2-

3 oz. butter, softened

5 oz. fresh yeast

3 oz. plus

½ teaspoon sugar

2 fl. oz. lukewarm water

1 lb. flour

1½ teaspoons salt

6 fl, oz. lukewarm milk

3 eggs, lightly beaten

3 oz. candied citron, chopped

3 oz. sultanas or seedless raisins

3 tablespoons raisins

2 teaspoons grated lemon rind

1 oz. butter, melted

Using

1 tablespoon of the softened butter, grease a

2-pound coffee tin or a tall cylindrical mould, about

6-inches in diameter and

7-inches high. Line it with greaseproof or waxed paper greased with another

1 tablespoon of the softened butter. Allow the excess paper to come up over the rim of the tin. Place the tin or mould on a baking sheet and set aside.

Crumble the yeast into a small bowl and mash in the ½ teaspoon of sugar with a kitchen fork. Add the water and cream the water and yeast together. Set the bowl aside in a warm, draught-free place for 15 to 20 minutes or until the yeast mixture is puffed up and frothy.

Sift the flour, the remaining sugar and the salt into a warmed, large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture and the milk. Using your fingers or a spatula, gradually draw the flour mixture into the liquids.

Continue mixing until all the flour is incorporated and the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured board or marble slab and knead it for 10 minutes, reflouring the surface if the dough becomes sticky. The dough should be elastic and smooth.

Rinse, thoroughly dry and lightly grease the large mixing bowl. Shape the dough into a ball and return it to the bowl.

Cover the bowl with a clean damp cloth and set it in a warm, draught-free place. Leave it for 2 hours or until the dough has risen and almost doubled in bulk.

Add the remaining softened butter, the eggs, citron, sultanas or seedless raisins, raisins and lemon rind and mix well with a wooden spoon or your hands for 5 minutes. Re-cover the bowl with the clean damp cloth and set it aside in a warm, draught-free place for 1 hour or until the dough has risen slightly.

Place the dough in the prepared tin or mould. Using a pastry brush, coat the top of the dough with a little of the melted butter. Set the tin or mould in a warm, draught-free place for 30 minutes or until the dough has risen slightly.

Preheat the oven to fairly hot 400 F (Gas Mark 6, 200X). Brush the dough with a little more of the melted butter. Place the tin or mould in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to moderate 350°F (Gas Mark 4, 180CC) and bake the bread for a further 30 minutes, brushing once more with the remaining melted butter.

Remove the bread from the oven and allow it to cool in the tin for 20 minutes. Remove the bread from the tin, transfer it to a wire rack and, standing upright, allow it to cool completely, before serving.

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