Easy to make Italian Christmas bread is a sourdough dessert that is similar in shape, taste and compactness to the classic Pandora. But while the latter is fermented naturally and requires at least two days of processing and great skill, our simplified version is made with brewer’s yeast and simple dough, so no billiards or pulis. But beware, in both cases simplification does not mean simplicity, because in both cases it is a rather complex fermented product whose every processing step must be carefully monitored. But don’t worry, if you follow our step-by-step guide, you’re sure to achieve amazing results with a little effort!
Homemade simple Italian Christmas bread
Measure the hot milk and dissolve the brewer’s yeast (1) by stirring it with a teaspoon and then pour it into the mixing bowl.
Add the whole eggs (2) and 4-5 tablespoons of flour and start working at low speed with the blade of a planetary mixer. While the planetary mixer is kneading, add the flour with a spoon, alternating with spoons of granulated sugar as the mixture sets. Then alternately mix the egg yolk with the sugar and flour and let them absorb completely.
Replace the tray with a hook, start working again, always at low speed, patiently add the soft butter, in small cubes, a few times at a time, while the dough absorbs it completely (this process will take a few minutes). At this stage the dough still has to appear elastic and be wrapped around the hook (3).
Also add grated orange peel, a few drops of vanilla essence and a pinch of salt. Then knead until the dough is elastic and tight. Then transfer to a clean container (4), cover and double in a sheltered place.
Place the yeast dough on a work surface and form a smooth ball (5). Then let it rest in the open air for about 20 minutes.
Grease a 1 kg Pandora shape and carefully place the dough in it, making sure that the side is smooth and pulled upwards (6). Cover with a sheet of cling film and leave the dough in a warm place until it almost reaches the edge of the tin.
Then carefully remove the cling film (7) and leave it in the open air for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the static oven to 165 degrees.
When the oven reaches the desired temperature, set the pandora to the lowest temperature and bake for about 50 minutes, checking that it does not brown. If it gets too dark after the first 30 minutes, cover the pan with aluminium foil and continue cooking. Test with a toothpick and if all is well, remove the pan from the oven (8).
Let the Pandor cool down a little, then turn it over on a wire rack and let it cool down completely. Finally, sprinkle the pandas with icing sugar and serve (9).
How to store Italian Christmas bread
The simplified Pandoro can be stored under a glass lid or in a special sealed container for at least 4-5 days. When it’s time to try it, warm it up a little in the oven: Looks like it’s just been made.
In order to obtain the desired result, you must strictly follow the instructions and have patience to add the ingredients at the right time.
It is important not to overheat the dough during processing, otherwise the recipe will fail. That is why it is important to start with warm milk and cold eggs from the fridge.
Butter must be soft and removed from the refrigerator at least 2 hours before use.
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