Friday, December 2, 2011

Vegan Panettone

With the holiday season upon us I am focusing on baking this month.  First up: panettone.  This is a rather advanced recipe that relies on a) sourdough mother starter, b) a stand mixer, c) a kitchen scale, and d) familiarity working with wet doughs.  It takes some time and skill but the end product is totally worth it.  I first made the recipe with Earth Balance, but did not like the taste it gave the bread.  I then changed to shortening and boosted the flavour with orange juice, lemon zest, and some extracts.  I much prefer this version.  The recipe is adapted and veganized from Reinhart's Artisan Breads Everyday.  If you have a copy you can follow his much more detailed instructions if you like.   If you don't have your own mother starter, you can follow the instructions here.  This panettone will be the basis for the other breads I will post: stollen and Greek Christmas Bread.

Makes 10 small panettone
Sourdough Starter
- 42.5g mother starter
- 170g bread flour
- 85g water

- 1 tbsp agave
- 56.5g lukewarm water
- 1 tsp instant yeast
- sourdough starter from above
- 70g orange juice, warm
- 1 tbsp ground flax seed
- 65g soy yogurt or sour cream (or blended silken tofu), at room temp
- 1 tsp each lemon, orange, vanilla extract
-  zest of one lemon
- 213g bread flour
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 170g vegetable shortening, or Earth Balance margarine, at room temp
- 227g dried fruit (I used equal amounts of currants, golden raisins, cranberries)

Day One: Make the Sourdough Starter
1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and work into a dough.  Knead on a lightly floured surface for 30 seconds, or until all ingredients are mixed together.   Place in a lightly oiled bowl and let rise at room temperature for 6-8 hours.  If you do not want to use the starter right away, stick it in the fridge after it has risen for up to four days.

Day Two: Make the Dough
1. Whisk together water and agave in your mixer's bowl, then sprinkle yeast over top and whisk until dissolved.  Let sit for a minute, then cut sourdough starter into 10-12 pieces and place in the water/yeast mixture.  Stir to soften the starter a bit.
2.  In a separate bowl, whisk flax into the orange juice until thick and goopy.  Then whisk in yogurt and extracts until well combined.  Add to starter mixture.
3. Add zest, flour, and salt, then mix with the paddle attachment for 2 mins, until a soft and sticky dough is formed (it should still hold together).
4. Switch to the dough hook and add the sugar 1/2 tbsp at a time, mixing well after each addition.  After all sugar is added, increase the speed and mix for 5 mins.  Scrape down the bowl when necessary.
5. Add the shortening/margarine about 1 tbsp at a time, mixing well after addition.  Scrape down the bowl when necessary. When all the fat is added the dough should be smooth and shiny but too sticky too handle with your bare hands.  Scrape down the bowl if needed, then knead for an additional 5 mins to fully develop the gluten.
6. Add the dried fruit and mix in on the lowest speed for 2 mins.
7. Transfer to dough to a floured surface using a wet spatula to get it out of the bowl.  Sprinkle flour over the top, then stretch and fold the dough.  Rotate the dough 90 degrees and stretch and fold again.  Form the dough into a boule.
8. Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces, or whatever amount will fill your molds 1/3 of the way full.
9. Let rise at room temp for 12 hours.
10. Preheat oven to 350 and bake for about 25-30 mins, or until loaves are golden.  Internal temperature should be 185 F/85 C.  Let cool in the pan for 5 mins, then thoroughly cool on a wire rack before eating.

A note on panettone molds.  I made my own by cutting out parchment paper to fit a large muffin tin  like you see here.  Just make sure that your bottom piece is attached to the side piece--otherwise the dough can  rise into the cracks and push the sides up and out, instead of the dough rising within the side pieces.  I stapled everything together because it's hard to tape parchment paper.