Many of you are already familiar with the golden, domed, Italian Christmas dessert known as Panettone, but how much do you really know about this sweet bread? Or is it a cake? Here are 5 fun facts about panettone!
It’s actually a sweet sourdough bread
Traditional Milanese panettone uses only “lievito madre” (sourdough starter), not yeast, which gives it a more complex, slightly tangy flavor, a moist, fluffy crumb, and longer shelf life.
It has a long history
People around the world have enjoyed sweet breads made with leavened dough and honey since the 1st century, but “modern” panettone is said to have originated in Milan in the 15th century.
It takes its good time
Making panettone the traditional way is not an easy task, and takes a total of 3 days to prepare between rising, resting, shaping, baking and cooling.
It cools upside down
The final stage of making panettone is a tricky one. Since the dough is very rich, but also very airy, it tends to collapse and deflate as soon as it cools. For this reason, traditional panettone is skewered with a special rack right when it comes out of the oven, and immediately hung upside down for 8 hours to cool and rest.
You’re supposed to save a slice
In Milan, it is traditional to save one slice of your Christmas panettone until February 3rd in honor of San Biagio, protector of respiratory health.