Easy Brioche-Style Christmas Panettone

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Easy Brioche-Style Christmas Panettone…the perfect holiday breakfast or dessert! Think, a soft, pillow-y, moist brioche-like bread that is loaded with cranberries, cherries, golden raisins, currants, and apricots, with subtle hints of orange liqueur throughout. This is no ordinary panettone! Every bite is full of Christmas flavor and surprisingly easy to make. The best part? You don’t have to worry about any of the normal things that a traditional panettone would bring (I.E. suspending it upside down until it cools!). Truly a simple, show-stopping Christmas treat that the whole family is sure to love. Serve with a cup of coffee on Christmas morning or with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream for delicious dessert! So. Good.

panettone dusted lightly with powdered sugar and wrapped in red ribbon with small bow on marble stand with pine greenery around and sugared cranberries on marble surface with stack of coffee mugs and string lights behind.

About The Recipe

Happy Friday, everyone!

Heading into this weekend seemed like the perfect time to finally share a panettone with all of you! I mean, with Christmas a week away, it just feels right, you know?

I’ve talked about our kind-of “baking bucket list” before. Last week, we shared an Eggnog Croquembouche. That was a HUGE accomplishment for us and something we had been wanting to bake for years.

Another thing, alongside the croquembouche, was a panettone. Admittedly, it was something that always intimidated us.

But, this year, we decided to dive headfirst and give it a try!

After a lot of reading and researching, we found ourselves trying to figure out when/how we were going to squeeze in the time to make a traditional panettone. It’s about a 2-3 day process and, right now, we are SUPER busy!

Which, is what lead us to a more brioche-style dough. We’ve been making a lot of brioche lately and, while reading through our test recipe, we noticed that it was similar to our brioche. We made a few changes and quickly got to work!

front shot of panettone on marble stand with greenery, sugared cranberries, and white flowers around on marble surface.

The best part about changing the style of the dough? Instead of 2-3 days, this bread is made in just a matter of hours! Oh, and it’s more sturdy. There’s no worrying about the panettone caving in on itself, either.

We also decided to LOAD this bread with fruit. It’s not Christmas without a whole bunch of everyone’s favorite dried fruits! We were inspired by our custom Fruitcake blend for this recipe, but we added some cranberries to give it a little more oomph.

Then, with every panettone, there’s always orange. We thought about adding orange zest or candied orange peel, but none of it sat right with us…until we saw some orange liqueur in our cabinet!

We finally pieced it together and got to baking. The first test was…giant, but delicious to say the least! We scaled the recipe back, made a few tweaks, and here we are.

A simple, gorgeous, elegant, and delicious panettone for your Christmas table!

What is a Brioche-Style Panettone?

This recipe is our take on the classic Italian bread, Panettone (pronounced: pan-net-taw-nee). Our bread is a much quicker, easier version than the traditional recipe. Made with a more brioche-like dough, but with a starter to develop more flavor, as well as the addition of a lot more fruit. We also opted for an orange liqueur in the recipe rather than candied orange peel.

So, while this recipe is not traditional, it IS very delicious!

Reasons You Will Love This Easy Panettone

  • Made all in the same day! No waiting days to have a delicious loaf of bread.
  • Absolutely LOADED with all of your favorite dried fruits for the holiday’s.
  • The impressive, but oh so delicious bake that you’ll want to have this Christmas.
  • Can also be made in two days, if needed!
  • Makes for a wonderful breakfast, dessert, or even gift this holiday season.
cropped close up of cut panettone on marble stand with plate of sugared cranberries in front and small branch of pine greenery behind.

Equipment Needed

Ingredients

(Full ingredient amounts and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the post)

For The Sponge:

  • Bread Flour – Bread flour is the only flour you’ll need for this panettone! It gives it a wonderful texture.
  • Granulated Sugar – Just enough to give the yeast something to feed on, as well as lightly sweeten.
  • Instant Yeast – Provides the needed lift in this sponge!
  • Water – Room temperature water is best for this recipe.
flour, water, sugar, and yeast on marble surface.

For The Panettone:

  • Unsalted Butter – For this recipe, we like to use unsalted butter, which allows us more control over the amount of salt in the recipe.
  • Bread Flour – The best flour to use for this recipe!
  • Non-Fat Dried Milk Powder – Our secret ingredient to give this loaf a tender crumb.
  • Instant Yeast – This is what makes the dough rise!
  • Salt – Just enough to balance out the flavors.
  • All of the sponge – The recipe you made just before making this one!
  • Water – Room temperature works best in this recipe.
  • Large Egg Yolks – You’ll need a few egg yolks for this recipe! Though, do not throw out your egg whites. Instead, make something like our Meringue Cookies with your egg whites, as that way, there won’t be any waste.
  • Granulated Sugar – Just enough to sweeten this dough, as well as give the yeast something to feed off of.
  • Orange Liqueur – Instead of adding orange zest, we opted for orange liqueur to add a little bit more of a complex flavor to the dough.
  • Dried Fruit Blend – Our perfect Christmas fruit blend! You will need apricots, cherries, golden raisins, currants, and cranberries.
dried fruits, flour, yeast, salt, butter, egg yolk, dried milk powder, granulated sugar, water, orange liqueur, and starter dough on marble surface.

How To Make This Easy Brioche-Style Panettone

Step 1: Prepare the sponge

Add all ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with dough hook. Mix on low until ingredients come together, 2-3 minutes. Increase speed to medium high. Knead until dough is smooth, about 5 minutes.

Place dough in a covered container that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Allow to rise at cool room temperature for 2 hours.

Step 2: Make the final dough

Melt the butter and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, milk powder, yeast, and salt. Set aside.

whisked dry ingredients in glass bowl.

Combine sponge and water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with dough hook. Turn on low speed to start. Increase speed as needed to make a dough that is smooth, about 5 minutes.

Add the yolks, one at a time, working back to a smooth dough after each. (Takes about 1 minute per yolk.)

Add sugar and knead until it is fully incorporated and dough is smooth, about 1-2 minutes.

Add liqueur and melted butter. Knead until smooth, about 2-3 minutes.

Add flour mixture and knead on low until incorporated. Increase speed to medium high. Knead for an additional 5 minutes, or until dough is completely smooth and windowpanes when you stretch a small amount.

Add the fruit and continue to knead on low speed until fruit is incorporated, 1-2 minutes.

Step 3: Shape and prove

Turn dough out onto a surface that has been lightly coated with water. (You could also use flour or cooking spray!) Use a bench knife to round the dough, working until it is smooth on top.

Place in prepared pan. Cover lightly with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with cooking spray and allow to rise in a warm spot until dough crowns the edge of the pan, about 3-3½ hours.

Step 4: Bake

Bake until dark brown, about 40-45 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and place on cooling rack to finish cooling.

FAQ’s and Troubleshooting


I don’t have a mixer. Can I make this by hand?
This bread really needs to be made in a mixer! While it’s doable, it takes twice as long to knead and it’s a whole lot of work. It’s always best to use a stand mixer.

Why is my dough sticky and wet?
This is an ENRICHED dough! This means there is a lot of butter and a lot of eggs, which also means it’s a lot softer dough than most other bread doughs!

How can I tell when my dough is kneaded properly?
A properly kneaded dough should be smooth and shiny. The bowl of the mixer should also be VERY clean and the dough should lift out of the mixer in one piece, rather than ripping into two pieces. You can also do a windowpane test to see if your dough is properly kneaded! (More info on windowpane testing below!)

The dough is so soft! Do I need to add more flour?
Have you been kneading the dough long enough? Is it smooth and shiny? If it’s not, keep kneading! You really don’t need to add anymore flour to this recipe. It’s an enriched dough, which it means should softer.

My dough isn’t rising in the times stated in the recipe card!
The recipe card/post states the times it took our dough to rise. We live in Texas. So, it tends to be a bit warmer here and doughs generally take less time to rise. I promise there’s nothing wrong with the dough! Just let it do it’s thing, but if you really need it done, try placing near a warm oven or in a proofing box, if you have one. The warmth will help it rise faster.

My dough didn’t rise at all.
Is your yeast in-date? If not, then you need to get new yeast and try again.

Why did my panettone sink?
This is most likely caused by the oven door being opened before the panettone was baked all the way through.

panettone cut in half on small marble stand with greenery and sugared cranberries around.

What’s a Windowpane Test (and How To Do It!)

If you’ve watched any baking shows before, you’ll have seen bakers perform a “windowpane test”. It’s one of the best and easiest ways to see if your dough has developed enough gluten!

To do this, all you need to do is tear off a small piece of dough and place it between your fingers. Then, gently spread your fingers apart to stretch it out. If the dough stretches easily and you have a translucent center, your gluten is properly developed and you’re ready to move on to the next step! If the dough rips or tears before you can see through the middle, it needs to be kneaded for a few more minutes. Repeat the test until you have a translucent center (as shown below)!

piece of dough being pulled to display a "window pane" test.

What To Serve With Panettone

Since panettone is technically a breakfast OR dessert, the options are pretty much limitless! Though, we definitely have some favorite things to make this panettone just a tad bit more special.

How To Store

Once this panettone is baked and cooled, you can actually wrap it in tinfoil and freeze for up to two months! If you don’t want to freeze this recipe, you can slice the panettone and store in a zip-top bag and keep in the fridge for about a week or so. If you leave it out on the counter, it will be come stale much quicker!

Looking for more recipes like this? Here are a few you may like: Christmas Fruitcake, Homemade Brioche, Eggnog Croquembouche, Cranberry Orange Sweet Rolls

close up of panettone on small marble stand with red ribbon wrapped around center with a small piece of greenery.

Expert Tips

  • Read through the recipe and directions thoroughly before beginning this recipe.
  • Make sure you use instant yeast and that it’s in-date/still active!
  • Always begin working new ingredients in on low speed to avoid slinging the ingredients out of the bowl. Then, increase speed as the ingredient(s) incorporate.
  • If you do not have a 7×4 inch cake pan, you can use a paper baking mold.
  • Proving times may vary.
  • If needed, this recipe can be split into two days worth of work. Make the sponge the day before and refrigerate it overnight. Then, the next morning, get the sponge out of the fridge and allow to come to room temperature. From there, continue as stated in the recipe card.
  • Do NOT open the oven door while this panettone is baking. If you open the door before the panettone is completely baked, it will sink in the middle.
  • A baked panettone’s internal temperature should read 190 °F – 195 °F.
  • Do not let the panettone cool completely in the pan, as it may become soggy from sweating! Let it cool for about ten minutes in the pan, and then turn out onto a wire cooling rack to finish cooling.

When you make these Easy Brioche-Style Christmas Panettone, leave a comment down below! We love hearing from you and answering any questions you might have! Also, be sure to tag us on social media and hashtag it #BakersTable.

panettone dusted lightly with powdered sugar and wrapped in red ribbon with small bow on marble stand with pine greenery around and sugared cranberries on marble surface with stack of coffee mugs and string lights behind.

Easy Brioche-Style Christmas Panettone

Traci
Tender, chewy, full of flavor, and so delicious! This Easy Brioche-Style Christmas Panettone is the perfect bake to make this holiday season. Whether you're intending to give as gifts, enjoy for breakfast or even dessert, this panettone is the perfect recipe!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 35 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Proofing Time 5 hrs 30 mins
Total Time 6 hrs 50 mins
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 16
Calories 179 kcal

Ingredients
 

Sponge

Final Dough

  • 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 2⅝ teaspoons non-fat dry milk powder
  • ½ teaspoon instant yeast
  • teaspoon kosher salt
  • All of the sponge
  • 2⅔ Tablespoons water
  • 4 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • cup granulated sugar
  • teaspoons orange liqueur
  • cup dried apricots, chopped
  • cup dried cherries
  • ¼ cup dried currants
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries

Instructions

Sponge

  • Add all ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with dough hook.
  • Mix on low until ingredients come together, 2-3 minutes.
  • Increase speed to medium high.
  • Knead until dough is smooth, about 5 minutes.
  • Place dough in a covered container that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
  • Allow to rise at cool room temperature (65 °F70 °F) for 2 hours.

Final Dough

  • Spray a 7-inch x 4-inch pan with baking spray. Set aside.
  • Melt butter. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together flour, milk powder, yeast, and salt. Set aside.
  • Combine sponge and water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with dough hook.
  • Turn on low speed to start.
  • Increase speed as needed to make a dough that is smooth, about 5 minutes.
  • Add yolks, one at a time, working back to a smooth dough after each. (Takes about 1 minute per yolk.)
  • Add sugar.
  • Knead until it is fully incorporated and dough is smooth, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add liqueur and melted butter.
  • Knead until smooth, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add flour mixture.
  • Knead on low until incorporated.
  • Increase speed to medium high.
  • Knead for an additional 5 minutes, or until dough is completely smooth and windowpanes when you stretch a small amount.
  • Add fruit.
  • Continue to knead on low speed until fruit is incorporated, 1-2 minutes.
  • Turn dough out onto a surface that has been lightly coated with water. (You could also use flour or cooking spray.)
  • Use a bench knife to round the dough, working until it is smooth on top.
  • Place in prepared pan.
  • Cover lightly with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with cooking spray and allow to rise in a warm spot (78 °F) until dough crowns the edge of the pan, about 3-3½ hours. (You can also use a proofing box with a water tray set to 78 °F. Leave dough uncovered if using proofing box.)
  • While dough is proofing, heat oven to 350 °F.
  • Bake until dark brown, about 40-45 minutes. (Internal dough temp should be 190 °F195 °F.)
  • Allow to cool in pan for about 10 minutes.
  • Remove from pan.
  • Place on cooling rack to finish cooling.

Notes

  • Read through the recipe and directions thoroughly before beginning this recipe.
  • Make sure you use instant yeast and that it’s in-date/still active!
  • Always begin working new ingredients in on low speed to avoid slinging the ingredients out of the bowl. Then, increase speed as the ingredient(s) incorporate.
  • If you do not have a 7×4 inch cake pan, you can use a paper baking mold.
  • Proving times may vary.
  • If needed, this recipe can be split into two days worth of work. Make the sponge the day before and refrigerate it overnight. Then, the next morning, get the sponge out of the fridge and allow to come to room temperature. From there, continue as stated in the recipe card.
  • Do NOT open the oven door while this panettone is baking. If you open the door before the panettone is completely baked, it will sink in the middle.
  • A baked panettone’s internal temperature should read 190 °F – 195 °F.
  • Do not let the panettone cool completely in the pan, as it may become soggy from sweating! Let it cool for about ten minutes in the pan, and then turn out onto a wire cooling rack to finish cooling.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 179kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 4gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.5gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 55mgSodium: 101mgPotassium: 125mgFiber: 2gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 345IUVitamin C: 0.3mgCalcium: 27mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

When you make this recipe, remember to tag @bakerstble or hashtag it #BakersTable!

– Still Hungry? –

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