We deliver free of charge from CHF 100.


Your shopping cart is empty

Panettone artiganale: Three days of manual work

November 23, 2022

Italienische Backstube Panettone von Di Bennardo

Origin, history and origin of the popular Christmas cake

Every year, Christmas is just around the corner, and in addition to the traditional savory holiday dishes, sweet pastries are not to be missed. In addition to cookies, there is often a Christmas cake such as a Stollen with candied fruit and raisins, which probably most people know. However, for those who want to treat themselves to a very special treat at Christmas, there is the Panettone, which originates from Italy.

In this article we will tell you all the secrets of this special and lovingly prepared by hand delicacy and why it is very popular not only in Italy but worldwide. We will take a close look at the origin, the history as well as the peculiarities of the preparation of the Panettone and take you on a culinary feast for the palate.


What is Panettone and what is special about the pastry from Italy?

Panettone is a towering sweet bread that has raisins as well as citrus fruits and has a soft, buttery texture. The Christmas cake traditionally comes from Milan and it is a registered trademark in the Chamber of Commerce. Thus, the production as well as the ingredients are subject to precise prescribed guidelines (Disciplinare di produzione del "Panettone tipico della tradizione artigiana Milanese").

Italienische Rosinen Panettone di Bennardo

The unique wheat sourdough, whose raw materials and production must necessarily come from Italy, is to be emphasized here. It requires a particularly long fermentation time and this gives it its unique flavor.

Panettone is mainly offered and enjoyed as a traditional Christmas cake or on special occasions. 

Italian food manufacturers and bakeries produce 117 million panettone and pandora cakes every Christmas, with a total value of 579 million euros.

Since 2013, an annual event has been held in Milan to taste and award the best traditional Panettone in Italy. Panettone is also becoming increasingly popular in Switzerland as a Christmas pastry, and generally as a fine pastry for special occasions. 


The history of the traditional Italian Christmas cake

The origin dates back to 1495. During a Christmas banquet of the Duke of Milan, the dessert was burned by the chef. A young chef named Toni reacted quickly and offered his own created bread, filled with raisins and candied fruits as a substitute. The Duke, as well as his guests, were delighted and thus the bread was named "Pane di Toni" = Panettone (Toni's bread).

Later, in 1821, the panettone became a symbol of freedom in Italy. Red candied cherries and green colored citrus replaced the raisins and fruits, creating the red-white-green Italian flag. A Christmas bread with an extraordinary history and, when made right, an equally extraordinary taste.

These days, you can find a variety of beautifully packaged versions of this tall, round cake in Italian and even ordinary grocery stores everywhere in December.


Italienischer Panettone Teig von Di Bennardo

Three days of manual work in the bakery: The elaborate production of Panettone 

The secret of a traditional Panettone lies in the elaborate and loving preparation. From the dough, to baking and drying, to the finished product that stands in the store, a good 72 hours are necessary.

Probably the most elaborate and challenging part is the dough, which is provided only with select ingredients and must undergo a long fermentation process. Here the pre-dough is mixed with a special mother yeast (lievito madre), which gives the dough its unique and spicy flavor.

In the first pass, the dough needs 12 to 14 hours in the proofing cabinet for further processing. The next step is to prepare the second dough. This is shaped into balls by hand using a special technique (pirlare in Italian). The dough balls are gently placed in the classic Panettone paper molds (pirrotino). Then the dough balls ferment in the pirrotini mold for another 6 to 8 hours to ferment further. This fermentation later gives the panettone an airy texture and more flavor. 


Italienischer Pirottino Form von Di Bennardo


When the dough has risen to the edge of the paper mold, cut a cross in the dough. This operation is called scarpatura and it is typical of the Milanese panettone. In the center of this dough cross, place a ball of butter the size of a walnut. The butter helps the panettone to rise nicely during baking and gives it a round shape. Also, the butter prevents a crust from forming in the dough cut and burning during baking. When the fresh panettone comes out of the oven, it is skewered and placed in a holder. Then the panettone is turned upside down and left to cool for over 24 hours. If the panettone were not turned upside down, it would collapse. This is the only way the panettone gets its typical shape.


What is Lievito Madre?

Italienischer Sauerteig Lievito Madre von Di Bennardo

Lievito Madre (lievito means "yeast") is a natural mild sourdough widely used in Italy. It is appreciated both for its active character, its mild flavor profile (not too sour taste) and for its ability to leaven doughs enriched with egg and milk.

Lievito Madre is a spontaneously fermented dough in which bacteria and lactic acid bacteria develop naturally: a yeast with very special properties, ideal for the preparation of ciabatta, pizza and focaccia as well as panettone. The aroma is genuine and can not be bought anywhere in its originality with this complex fine-acid aroma. Advantages of this mother yeast are the dough stability, the open-pored, soft crumb as well as the fine aroma and digestibility.

Lievito Madre is said to have been created during a flood of the Nile in Egypt. Entire loads of flour were submerged in water. To save the flour, they kept adding fresh flour. All of a sudden, the Egyptians noticed that excellent bread could now be baked from the flour - Lievito Madre was born.

In panettone, this yeast is the heart that brings the dough to life. The Lievito Madre is often over 70 years old. This makes the original Italian Panettone so unique and gives the dough its unique fluffy consistency and mildly sour taste.


The original Milanese Panettone recipe briefly presented

For an original Milanese Panettone, traditional bakeries use only "Lievito Madre", as the so-called mother yeast, which is often over 70 years old. For the original panettone recipe, in addition to flour, sugar, salt, egg yolk, butter, candied oranges and raisins are added, which give the panettone that certain finishing touch. In addition to the classic version with raisins and candied fruit, there are always newer creations that are prepared, for example, with olive oil, candied fruit or even chocolate. 

It should be noted that the traditional Panettone is made exclusively with natural ingredients and no preservatives.


Panettone vs. Pandoro: difference and taste of the desserts from Italy

You may have heard of Pandoro if you have already searched for recipes for Panettone. The Pandoro is another variation of the Christmas cake. Both are delicious Italian sweet breads, but they are made in different ways and originate from different places. Panettone originated in Milan, while Pandora originated in Verona.

The production for a Panettone is in contrast to the production for a Pandoro much more time-consuming. For the dough to become so airy and fluffy, it needs many hours, delicacy and manual work. It is filled with raisins, candied oranges, lemons and lemon peel.

The preparation of the Pandoro - also called golden bread - is much simpler. It is a sweet bread enriched only with butter, eggs and sugar and dusted with powdered sugar. It does not contain raisins or candied fruit. It also differs in its shape, which is more like an eight-pointed star, while the panettone has a more cylindrical shape.


Italienische Panettone Produktion von Di Bennardo


A look behind the scenes in the bakery of Di Bennardo in Verona

In Verona, the big city in the northeast of Italy, lies the bakery of our panettone, which has existed for generations. The city is known not only as the setting for Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, but also for its traditional delicacies.

The family business pays special attention to the traditional production of the Panettone. For the production are used high quality and local ingredients to give the Italian Christmas cake its delicious taste. According to the baking tradition, the dough is led for 48 hours. Without any preservatives with our own mother yeast "Lievito Madre" the master bakers create our soft, juicy Panettone, which virtually melts on the tongue like the finest butter.

The airiest and tastiest Panettone of Switzerland you get with us in our online store. Since our Panettone is produced exclusively from selected fresh ingredients, without artificial preservatives, it is packaged "only" 40 days shelf life. Once opened, it should be consumed within a week. 


Frequently asked questions about the popular Christmas pastry Panettone 


1. what is special about panettone?

The special thing about the Panettone is its unique recipe as well as the elaborate production. Through the complex process of dough cementation in combination with the hand processing and the subsequent overhead storage, this gets its buttery soft and fluffy consistency. In addition, a very special mother yeast is used for the dough, which is often up to 70 years old.


2. how is panettone made?

The production of Panettone takes three days. For this, first the sourdough is prepared, which is then further processed with an elaborate process of fermentation and careful manual work. To make the dough particularly airy, it must be kneaded several times and with a specific technique and stored overhead. Finally, the panettone gets its finishing touch by being cut by hand with a knife and baked to the end with a piece of butter.


3. why give panettone as a gift?

The Christmas cake, unlike conventional Christmas pastries, is a culinary and valuable delicacy. It is mainly enjoyed during the Christmas season. In addition, it is often presented as a traditional, special Christmas cake as a gift.


4. how long can panettone be kept? 

The Panettone can be kept in the packaged state up to 40 days. Since this is traditionally made only with natural ingredients, without artificial preservatives, it should be consumed in a week after opening.


5. how to eat panettone properly?

The Christmas cake is usually served in slices and served in combination with hot sweet drinks such as cocoa or even with sweet wine. Many eat it simply with creamy butter. In some parts of Italy, it is served with "crema di mascarpone", made with mascarpone, eggs and a liqueur such as amaretto. Or with our fine pistachio cream.


Italienischer Panettone Lievito Madre von Di Bennardo

Enjoy Panettone at Christmas time: Order now in the Di Bennardo online store!

Treat yourself to this fine baking specialty from Italy at Christmas time. In terms of taste, elaborate production and exquisite raw materials, Panettone is one of the best that can come from a bakery. Creamy-buttery, spicy-fruity, fluffy and airy - a feast for the senses. Order our traditional Panettonenow in our online store

Also as a Christmas gift for your family and friends or as a corporate gift for colleagues and superiors, our Panettone is perfect. Buy our DB Panettone in the store now!