Pandoro delicious buttery vanilla infused soft cake like star shaped naturally leavened Christmas bread from Verona, Italy.
What is Pandoro
A traditional cake like bread from Verona, with natural yeast, (Italian Sourdough starter/ stiff sourdough starter- Lievito madre). This bread os usually made during Christmas
Pandoro (pan doro means golden bread) vanilla infused sweet bread baked in a special 8-pointed star- shaped pan. Traditionally served dusted with powdered sugar or with cream.
History or pandoro?
A local baker in Verona, Domenico Melegatti in 1800 made this bread first. This cake-like bread contains egg yolks, butter, and honey/sugar, it became popular among the rich and noble, and got the name “bread of gold. This bread has been sold under the trademark Mellagati since 1894.
Shape of this bread has evolved from the starry Medieval Nadalin.
Panettone vs. Pandoro – What is the Difference?
Both are popular Italian Christmas bread. Pandoro is an enriched sweet bread without any raisins or candied citrus peel.
Both the breads have a huge fan following. Those who does not like raisins and citrus peel in their Christmas bread will go for Pandoro .
Unique quality of pandoro
It has characteristic octagonal star shape with edges called “ribs” which serve to increase the surface of the cake, reducing cooking times.
The surface of the bread will not be curst, and it should not have any traces of grease and it should be dry.
The bread must have a uniform color inside out. The color should be golden and not light or dark. Inside, it must be soft and dry and of a uniform yellow color with regular alveolation.
The other recommended fat is cocoa butter. The dough has egg yolk and the yeast. If the yeast used is commercially available, it should be converted into sponge or biga .
This bread contains unique ingredient called Pandoro aroma/ Aromatica Siciliana which give extra flavor and boost to pandoro. Pandoro aroma contains candied citrus, lemon peel, honey, butter, sugar, vanilla, and rum.
How to make Pandoro ?
The following ingredients are needed to make pandoro.
First a strong Italian Sourdough Starter /Lievito Madre which is a stiff sweet sourdough starter. You can make it from your liquid starter which has about hydration of 50%.
Flour : I used Manitoba flour with protein % of 14.5 to 15 %. This recipe requires generous amount of butter, egg, and sugar. You need high protein flour to make this bread.
Egg yolks : You need 6 egg yolks as it is egg yolk rich bread which gives characteristic golden color.
Sugar. You need sugar and confectioner’s sugar.
Malt : Gives little boost to the dough.
Salt: It brings out the flavor
Butter: This is butter rich bread, butter in steps, first dough, second dough, emulsion, and aromatic mix.
Cocoa butter: Is one of the ingredients in the emulsion.
See recipe card for quantities.
Second dough ingredients
There is a characteristic aroma mix.
To make Pandoro it requires about 2 days.
In the first step refresh your stiff starter 3 times. And make the first dough.
Make the first dough on day 1, with stiff starter, flour, egg, butter and sugar.
On the next day, for the second dough, mix in the first day dough, egg yolks, butter, sugar, emulsion and aroma mix
Emulsion which includes butter, honey, icing sugar, coca butter and aromatic mix.
Aroma mix contains candied orange, candied lemon peel, honey, rum, vanilla and butter.
Adding emulsion step will help to reduce the time and effort of incorporating the butter into the second dough like puff pastries.
Once the dough reaches almost top of the dome, bake it at low temperatures. If the bread start browning too much, tend them with aluminum foil. You need to take it out when golden in color.
Tips to make delicious pandoro
1) Use extra strong starter yes, it is very important.
2) High protein flour requires high gluten for long hours of fermentation.
3) Diastatic malt powder will help the rise.
4) Use candied lemon and orange peel instead of candied lemon and orange.
5) Vanilla beans gives more flavor than vanilla extract
6) Always butter the tin really well before baking, otherwise it will stick when you take it out of the pan.
7) Keep the bread aside for a day, before enjoying it. It needs time to develop more flavor.
To make this delicious pandoro you need pandoro mold .
Pandoro classico one of the traditional christmas bread made with vanilla extract or vanilla bean .
You can make different flavors of pandoro like chocolate, matcha etc.
How Do You Serve Pandoro?
Pandoro is delicious and amazingly simple. You can serve by dusting with powdered sugar. You can serve as decorated or filled with cream, chocolate, custard, or Mascarpone cheese. Really goes well with cup of coffee or prosecco bubbly white wine.
You can serve pandoro by cutting it vertically in long slices, or horizontally. In the second case, it is possible to arrange the slices in the form of Christmas tree with cream and berries in between.
- 100 g sourdough stiff starter (Lievito Madre)
- 75 gr Granulated sugar
- 155 gr Eggs 3 large
- 90 gr Butter
- 260 gr Manitoba flour any high gluten flour around 14.5 to 15% protein
- All First mix dough
- 55 g Manitoba flour any high gluten flour around 14.5 to 15% protein
- 5 g Salt
- 2 g Malt
- 56 g yolks about 3 yolk
- 15 g Sugar
- Entire Emulsion To be prepared on the evening of the first mix
- 100 g butter
- 50 g powder sugar
- 16 g honey
- 25 g aroma mix
- 10 g cocoa butter
- 37.5 g candied orange peel
- 18 g candied lemon peel
- 7 g butter
- 19 g honey
- 4 g Rum I used plantation rum
- 1 vanilla bean or 6g vanilla extract
Stiff starter/levito madre
- First refresh the stiff starter/levito madre at 3 times before making the pandoro.
- In a kitchen-aid bowl add 3 eggs and sugar and beat well, to this add Manitoba flour and starter and mix well. Once everything combined well. Incorporate the butter
- Mix for 25 minutes until you get a silky-smooth elastic dough. Test dough for windowpane.
- Ensure that the dough temperature stays under 26 degrees C (78F). If it goes higher, place dough in freezer for 10 minutes (remember this for second dough too)
- Bulk Rise of First Dough (18-20 hours/overnight)
- Place dough in large container (three times the size of the dough), cover, and let rise at 28/30 C (82 to 86F) for 18-20 hours. You may leave the covered dough inside the oven (turned off!) with the oven light turned on for warmth if you have a cool kitchen
- Once first dough is ready make the second dough,
- Before making the second dough, you need to make aroma mix and emulsion as both needs to incorporate into the second dough.
- In a large bowl add, butter, powdered sugar, honey, aroma mix and grated cocoa butter and set aside. If you are making ahead you can store it in refrigerator.
For Aroma mix
- You need to blend , candied lemon peel, candied orange peel, honey, rum, butter, and vanilla . If you are using vanilla extract use 5g. Blend everything to puree consistency and set aside.
For Second dough
- When ready to make second dough, add flour and barley malt to the day 1 dough and mix at slow speed than medium for 15 minutes
- Slowly incorporate sugar
- Afterwards, add egg yolks, in two addition and then salt.
- Knead until smooth and homogenous
- Gradually incorporate the emulsion into the dough and mix well.
- Once the dough is ready do few stretch and fold and shape it into a boule.
Shape the dough
- Transfer to well buttered pandoro pan. And set aside for another 15 hours or until dough reaches the rim .
Bake the Pandoro
- Pre-heat oven to 325°F ( 163° C) for 15 minutes.
- Then reduce the 300°F (149°C) for 30 minutes. Bake until a dome appears or until the internal temperature reaches 195 F (90° C) and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean .
- Let the pandoro cool in the mold on a wire rack for 15 minutes and then carefully remove the pandoro from the mold. Cut a thin layer off the base so it will sit flat on a serving plate. Serve the pandoro, once it is cool you can either dust the whole bread with powdered sugar or cut it vertically into slices (traditional). Or for a more interesting look you can slice the pandoro in thick horizontal slices, then rotate the slices.
This is Swathi ( Dr. Ambujom Saraswathy Ph.D) from Zesty South Indian Kitchen who loves to explore cuisines from all over the world. Whenever possible I try to to give an Indian touch to several of the world cuisine, and has weakness for freshly baked bread. All the recipes you see here are created by me and approved after taste-test by my family.