For most of my life, my understanding of "holiday bread" was limited to one concept.
The ubiquitous, oddly colored, plastic wrapped and stored in a tin for who knows how long fruitcake.
It wasn't until much later in life, until I started working with yeast and making my own bread, that I came to realize there were other options out there.
It was a revelation.
It was a pleasure to revisit panettone for this month's Daring Baker challenge.
I normally use the recipe from Beth Hensperger's The Bread Bible - a recipe that makes liberal use of Pernod for a slightly anise undertone.
This time around, I left the stand mixer in the pantry and opted to mix/knead this one by hand. I was a little intimidated at the thought of working in all the butter by hand, but a little patience and a bench knife proved to be the right tools for the job.
Mixed tropical fruits and golden raisins were worked in before placing the dough in pans for the final rise. Instead of panettone papers, I used well greased coffee cans - my baking pan of choice for these types of loaves.
This recipe yielded a beautiful crumb - it was wonderful on its own the first few days; the next few days, it was great toasted. The last of it went into Christmas morning's overnight french toast. Perfect, right to the end...
Definitely not the "fruitcake" from my childhood.
Now, its time to go and clean up some more of that post-Christmas snowfall that we are in the middle of. White Christmas, indeed...
This post participates in The Daring Bakers. The December 2012 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by the talented Marcellina of Marcellina in Cucina. Marcellina challenged us to create our own custom Panettone, a traditional Italian holiday bread! Her recipe for this panettone can be found here.