Italian Panettone with Sourdough

Italian Panettone with Sourdough
When it comes to Christmas, Panettone is a must! The recipe I am proposing is based on that of master Rolando Morandin, entirely prepared with Sourdough.
Preparing Panettone at home is undoubtedly tricky, let's be honest! In fact, the recipe is quite long, and there are many aspects to know to read the signs (positive or negative) of the dough... But do not get discouraged, and most of all, do not get frustrated if the first attempt does not meet your expectations! If you carefully follow my advice, I guarantee you will succeed.
If you want to discover more tricks, have a look at How to Make Panettone.
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Preparation: 1 hour
Cooking: 1 hour
Rising Time: 21 hours
Total Time: 23 hours
Servings: 4 Panettones of 1kg


  • Stand Mixer
  • Metal  Skewers
  • Paper Mold for Panettone
  • Cooking Thermometer
  • Feed Grade Bags
  • Immersion Blender


For the First Dough

  • 800 gr Strong Flour for Panettone (W360, 14% - 15% of proteins)
  • 500 gr Softened Butter
  • 450 gr Ripe Sourdough Fed 2 or 3 times
  • 350 gr Granulated Sugar
  • 250 gr Egg Yolks (Quantity 1)
  • 200 gr Water at 30°C (86°F) (Quantity 1)
  • 200 gr Egg Yolks (Quantity 2)
  • 100 gr Water at 30°C (86°F) (Quantity 2)

For the Second Dough

  • 400 gr Strong Flour for Panettone (W360, 14% - 15% of proteins)
  • 135 gr Egg Yolks
  • 100 gr Softened Butter (170gr if you won't use Clarified Butter)
  • 70 gr Granulated Sugar
  • 60 gr Clarified Butter
  • 50 gr Honey
  • 50 gr Candied Orange Peels in Paste
  • 50 gr Flavoring Paste for Leavened Doughs if you won't use Candied Orange Paste - Click here
  • 2 pods Vanilla
  • 24 gr Salt


  • 500 gr Raisins washed and re-hydrated
  • 300 gr Candied Orange Peel (diced)
  • 50 gr Candied Citron Peel (diced)


For the First Dough

  • First of all, prepare a syrup by dissolving sugar and egg yolks in the water at 30°C (86°F), using an immersion blender.
  • Pour the syrup into the mixer bowl and add the sourdough after the second or third refreshment.
  • Knead for about 2minutes, so you can dissolve the Sourdough before adding the flour.
  • Add the flour and let the dough form a glutinous mesh which must be elastic and extensible. This step is crucial for the success of the Panettone recipe.
  • Check the proper formation of the glutinous mesh, taking a piece of dough and spreading it with your hands until it forms a thin layer of dough.
  • Once the dough is amalgamated and elastic, add the second dose of egg yolks, allowing them to be correctly absorbed. Finally, add the water (quantity 2) according to the recipe.
  • When the dough is fully developed, add the soft butter at room temperature in several batches, allowing it to be thoroughly absorbed into the dough.
  • The first dough is ready. Transfer it into a large container, sprinkle the surface with some small pieces of soft butter, and let it rise at 22-24°C (71°F - 75°F) for 15h until it has tripled its volume. Fermentation time depends on room temperature; therefore, before proceeding with the next dough, make sure the dough has tripled its initial volume. To better visualize the development of the dough, I suggest creating a "graduated scale" on the container, marking the starting volume and the desired volume at the end of fermentation.

For the Second Dough

  • Pour the first dough now-fermented into the bowl of the stand mixer.
  • Knead the first dough together with the flour very well until forming a strong and elastic gluten mesh
  • Add the egg yolks and knead until they are completely absorbed.
  • Then add the sugar, honey, and candied orange paste (or the aromatic mix you have prepared) and allow to knead until the dough detaches from the mixer bowl.
  • Mix without whipping the butter, clarified liquid butter, salt, and vanilla. Then add the mixture to the dough, a little at a time, allowing it to be well absorbed between each addition.
  • Once the dough is well combined, add the raisins and candied fruit and turn the mixer for about 1-2min on low speed.
  • Let the dough rise for about 1 hour to relax the gluten and complete the hydration of the proteins.
  • For 1kg Panettone, divide 1100gr portions of dough and let rest on the table for 5minutes.
  • Roll up the dough to stretch the gluten and form tight loaves. Place in paper molds (1kg) and let them proof at 26-28°C (79°F - 82°F) for 5-6 hours.
  • The real Milanese Panettone is finished with the "scarpatura".
    For this, you score a cross on the Panettone surface, lifting the 4 edges. You place a cube of soft butter in the center and finally close the edges towards the center.
    This particular operation favors the growth of the panettone. It creates a larger toasted surface during baking with the consequent development of a more complex and pleasing aromatic system.
  • Bake in a static oven at 150°C (302°F) for about 45-50min.
  • To test cooking, check that the temperature at the heart of the product is between 92°C and 94°C (197°F - 205°F).
  • Remove the panettone from the oven, pierce them with the appropriate metal skewers and turn them upside down for at least 2-3 hours.
  • Let the Panettone cool completely before packing it in food-grade bags. I also recommend waiting a couple of days before tasting your Panettone to allow the aroma to spread into the cake.


The raisins must be prepared the night before the dough.
Rinse it twice in hot water at 50°C (122°F) with a little food-grade alcohol to properly clean it from the preservation waxes.
Then soak it in lukewarm water (35°C - 95°F) for 1 hour, without using alcohol or spirits (which might interfere with the fermentation).
Finally, let it fully drain and lay it on a perforated pan, or spread it onto a clean cloth.
Clarified Butter is liquid butter at room temperature, which gives an extraordinary softness to the Panettone. It's also great for the preparation of Choux and Shortcrust pastries.
The Panettone's aroma is entirely developed in 2-3 days after baking; therefore, wait a few days before tasting it.
Candied Orange Paste is an exceptional solution to flavor your Panettone in a natural way.

Nutrition Label

Serving: 100g | Calories: 4245kcal | Carbohydrates: 648g | Protein: 65g | Fat: 162g | Saturated Fat: 91g | Cholesterol: 1787mg | Sodium: 1318mg | Potassium: 1884mg | Fiber: 24g | Sugar: 235g | Vitamin A: 5752IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 391mg | Iron: 26mg

Translated from Italian with Love


Yes, Panettone and all leavened doughs can rise at room temperature (19°C – 20°C, 66°F – 68°F). The proofing time will obviously be longer: 18-20 hours for the first dough fermentation and 10-12 hours for the final proofing.

The main advantage of a long fermentation is reduced consumption of sugar in the dough. As a result, the Panettone will be sweeter.

It would be better not to use only Manitoba flour. Manitoba flour is very strong and, therefore, will produce a chewy and dry panettone. If you can’t find other flours, a solution is to create a mixture of 80% Manitoba Flour and 20% All-Purpose Flour.

Obviously, a specific flour is preferable to the flour mix

Yes, if you don’t have sourdough, or are not familiar with this ingredient, you can make a panettone using yeast.  Here is the recipe for my Panettone with Yeast

Unlike a panettone made with sourdough, a panettone made with yeast will tend to dry out much faster. 

To make Panettone, you need a ripe and strong sourdough starter. There is no standard time for this, but you can verify that the sourdough is ready if it triples its volume in 3 – 3:30 hours at 30°C (86°F), once fed.

If the Sourdough is not sufficiently strong, then it won’t be suitable for Panettone.

Most likely, the Sourdough is too weak or too acidic. Check the condition of the sourdough during refreshments in the previous 4-5 days and adjust it as I explain in this article.

A second cause could be the fermentation temperature. For example, if you let the first dough ferment at room temperature, the dough could take up to 18-20 hours to ripen.

Most likely, the first dough was too acidic and therefore brought too much acidity into the second dough.

If you are still in the initial stage of kneading, let the dough chill to around 20°C, 68°F (in the fridge or freezer), and add 1gr/kg of bicarbonate of soda dough when you start kneading again.

The most frequent cause is that the second dough did not form a proper glutinous mesh during the initial kneading phase. I recommend making sure the gluten mesh is well developed before adding sugars and butter; otherwise, the dough will collapse.

A second cause could be the first dough is too acid (with an excess of lactic acidity)

Yes, you can replace the fruits in the Panettone with baking chocolate chips. The amount to use is 10% of the weight of the dough without filling (instead of 20%-25% of the fruits).

Be careful not to add too much chocolate, as it tends to dry out the Panettone very quickly.

hey, do you want to try some other recipe?


13 thoughts on “Italian Panettone with Sourdough”

  1. Excellent recipe! Thanks a lot! It was the first time I had a satisfying result…Just 2 questions:

    Can I increase the water amount a little to get a more open crumb? Is this the right way to do it? Any other tips on this?

    What is the best way to preserve? One of the two I made got a little dry after 2-3 days I had cut it. The other one not so much. I kept both it in zip lock bags after they cooled down, with as less air as possible…

  2. What is the main reason to use pasta madre as leaven than use the sourdough method? Pasta madre is harder to maintain.

  3. Dear Bianco,
    In the original Rolando Morandin’s recipe, the second dough contains “Cream”, my question is if I do not want or I cannot use it, what could be a good or equivalent substitute for that?
    I also would like to comment that your web page has been as of invaluable source of knowledge for me and I want to thank you for that and keep doing this good job.

    I will try your panettone recipe.

    Thanks in advance.


  4. I challenged Panettone with this recipe. The sourdough was very energetic and the first dough was well made. However, the second dough does not come up at all. I wonder why?

    1. Ciao!
      The most common reason is that the first dough was too acidic at the end of the fermentation.
      The exceed of Lactic acid made it impossible to finish the second dough with the fats and the other ingredients.
      Pay attention to the acidic balance of the sourdough and not to exceed 26°C (78°F) during the first fermentation

      See ya!

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