- Manitoba type flour 500 grams (4 cups and ½)
- Milk 150 grams (⅗ cup) • 49 kcal
- Butter 150 grams (⅗ cup) • 717 kcal
- Granulated sugar 95 grams (½ cup)
- Fresh brewer’s yeast 13 grams (almost 1 tablespoon)
- Whole eggs 2
- Egg yolks 2
- Salt 1 pinch • 1 kcal
- Vanilla essence as much as is needed
- Orange peel as much as is needed
- Powdered sugar as much as is needed
Easy Homemade Italian Christmas Bread is a leavened dessert that is similar in shape, taste and compactness to the classic pandoro. While, however, the latter is naturally leavened and requires at least two days of processing as well as considerable technical skill, our simplified version is prepared with brewer's yeast and a simple dough, therefore without biga or poolish. But be careful, anyway; simplified does not mean simple, because in any case this is a quite complicated leavened product that requires rigorous attention to all stages of processing. But you don't have to worry because by following our step-by-step instructions, with a little effort, we are sure that you will be able to obtain amazing results!
How to make Easy Homemade Italian Christmas Bread
Measure the milk at room temperature and dissolve the brewer’s yeast in it (1) mixing with a teaspoon, then pour everything into the bowl of the mixer.
Add the whole eggs (2) and 4-5 tablespoons of flour, then start working at low speed with the planetary mixer leaf. While the planetary mixer kneads, pour spoonfuls of flour alternating with spoons of granulated sugar as the mixture hardens. Then alternate the egg yolks with sugar and flour and let them absorb completely.
Replace the leaf with the hook, start working again, again at low speed, and add the soft butter with patience, in small cubes, a few at a time, as the dough absorbs them completely (this operation will take several minutes). At this stage, the dough must always appear elastic and wrapped around the hook (3).
Also add the grated orange peel, a few drops of vanilla essence and a pinch of salt. Then knead until the mixture will be elastic and well strung. Then transfer it to a clean container (4), cover it and let it double in a sheltered place.
Turn the leavened dough on a work surface and make it round in order to obtain a smooth sphere (5). Then let it rest in the air for about 20 minutes.
Grease a 1 kg pandoro mold and gently place the dough in it, taking care to arrange the smooth and stretched side upwards (6). Cover it with a sheet of cling film and let it rise in a warm place, until the dough will have almost reached the edge of the mold.
Then gently remove the cling film (7) and let it rest in the air for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the static oven to 165 degrees C.
When the oven will have reached the right temperature, place the pandoro on the lowest level and cook it for about 50 minutes, monitoring the browning. If it starts to darken too much, after the first 30 minutes, cover the mold with an aluminum foil and continue cooking. Do the toothpick test and everything it is okay remove the mold from the oven (8).
Let the pandoro cool a bit, then turn it over on a wire rack and let it cool completely. Finally, sprinkle the pandoro with powdered sugar and then serve (9).
How to store Italian Christmas Bread
The simplified Pandoro can be kept under a glass bell or in a special airtight container for at least 4-5 days. When it is time to taste it, heat it slightly in the oven: it will seem as if it was just made.
To obtain the desired result, it is essential to strictly follow the instructions provided and have the patience to insert the ingredients at the right time.
It is essential that the dough does not overheat too much during processing, otherwise the recipe will fail. This is why it is important to start with milk at room temperature and cold eggs from the refrigerator.
The butter should be soft, taken out of the refrigerator at least 2 hours before using it.