Mini Milk Bread Panettone
‘Tis the season for lights, cookies and panettone. I love panettone. I eat it every night in the month of December. I love it so much, I tried to make an authentic Italian Christmas Panettone version last year, which took 36 hours of love, sweat and tears. So this year instead of going through that again to achieve a freshly baked version of this Christmas bread I love so much, I decided to adapt my favorite Hokkaido Milk Bread recipe into a fusion of sorts. This is my Mini Milk Bread Panettone.
To me, the ideal panettone is soft, fluffy, citrus scented and studded with rummy raisins. (Yes, rummy raisins are totally yummy) The texture profile of a Hokkaido milk bread is just that. Soft, fluffy, and feathery. I actually think I like panettone because it reminds me of milk bread. That texture is something special and can be achieved through a simple starter called the Tangzhong method. This is a mixture of water, milk and bread flour that is cooked into a thick paste. Unlike a sourdough starter, this starter gives the milk bread its signature feathery texture and allows it to stay this way far longer than a traditional homemade bread.
To the dough, I added the zest of an orange and a lemon for that signature Christmas citrus kick. I omited candied rinds just because I’m not a fan of eating a chunk of citrus skin. I’d rather have the scent of citrus rather than chew on it through this lovely loaf.
I also decided too make these into mini panettone loaves because muffin tins are what most people have around the house instead of panettone molds. And also a single serve portion of this bread serves me well come to dessert time.
This fluffy rum raisin studded bread is perfection sprinkled with powdered sugar and enjoyed with tea, coffee or just a warm glass of milk. So get warm and cozy because this Mini Milk Bread Pannettone is calling your name!! I know it’s calling mine!
Milk Bread Pannetone
*adapted from NY Times recipe
FOR THE STARTER
1/3 cup bread flour
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup water
FOR THE DOUGH
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 golden raisins
3 tbsp dark rum
5 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting the raisins
1/2 cup sugar
4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)
1 teaspoon salt
Zest of 1 orange
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup warm whole milk, plus extra for brushing on the unbaked loaf
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened at room temperature, plus extra for buttering bowls and pan
To make the starter by whisking the flour, milk and water together until smooth. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and cook, stirring often, until thickened but still pourable, about 6 minutes. When it’s ready, the spoon will leave tracks on the bottom of the pot. Scoop out to a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside to cool to room temperature.
To make the dough: combine the flour, sugar, yeast, salt and zests and mix for a few seconds in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook.
Add egg, milk and the starter. Turn the mixer on low speed and knead 5 minutes. The dough should look sticky but not wet. If it looks too wet at 1 tbsp of flour at a time.
Add the butter one piece at a time and knead for another 10 to 12 minutes until the dough is smooth and springy and just a bit tacky.
Lift the dough out of mixer, shape into a ball and place into a buttered bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 60 minutes.
Punch the dough down and use your hands to scoop it out onto a surface. You won't need much bench flour at all, the dough is quite easy to handle. Add 1 tbsp of flour to the soaked raisins and mix to coat. Flatten the dough out slightly and sprinkle on the raisins. Fold the dough in on itself and knead slightly to incorporate the raisins.
Using a bench scraper, cut dough into 8 equal portions. Form the dough into balls, cover again and let rest 15 minutes.
Shape the dough portions in balls by pushing the dough through your thumb and pointer finger to create a nice tight skin. Place the shaped balls into a buttered extra large muffin tin or paper cups of a regular sized muffin tin.
Cover and let rise for 60 minutes, until the risen dough has puffed up over the tops of the muffin tins.
Pre heat the oven to 350F. Brush the tops with milk and bake on the bottom shelf of the oven until golden brown and puffed, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking process.
Let cool in the pan 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack and let cool at least 1 hour, to let the crust soften and keep the crumb fluffy. It's hard, but if it's cut too soon, the air bubbles trapped in the bread will deflate.)