Easter Bread (Panettone)

  • 200g (7oz) plain flour

  • 200g (7oz) strong flour

  • 25g (1oz) fresh yeast or 1 packet (7g) Easy Bake dried yeast

  • 50g (2oz) caster sugar

  • 150ml (¼pt) luke-warm milk

  • 100g (4oz) melted butter

  • 3 egg yolks

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 100g (4oz) candied peel, finely chopped

  • 100g (4oz) raisins

  • Grated zest and juice of 1 orange

  • 1 egg yolk, beaten, to glaze

If possible, start the bread the night before you want to bake it by soaking the raisins in the juice of an orange which will help make them juicy and plump. If you haven‘t had time to soak the raisins overnight, then place them in a saucepan with the juice and cover. Bring slowly to the boil and then take off the heat and leave to cool. Sift the flours. Cream the yeast with a teaspoon of the sugar and the lukewarm milk, pour into a well in the flour, leave in a warm place for about 15 minutes. Then add the remaining sugar, melted butter, egg yolks, salt, vanilla extract and zest of orange. Mix well and beat to a soft dough (you may need to add a little extra fluid at this stage depending on the flour you use). Knead very well, for about 10 minutes by hand, or I use the special kneading hook on my Kenwood Chef for about three minutes. Cover and leave to rise in a warm place for one hour. Line a round deep 15cm (6in) cake tin with baking parchment paper extended above the tin to make a collar. (This will help support the bread when it rises). Knead in the mixed peel and raisins and knead into a ball, place in the prepared tin, cover and leave to rise again until the dough reaches the top of the tin. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6). Brush with beaten egg yolk, make an incision in the shape of a cross if you wish and bake for 20 minutes then reduce the heat to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4) and bake for a further 40 minutes or until cooked. Cool slightly in the tin and turn out onto a wire rack until cool. Delicious served warm with butter. It will keep for several days if wrapped in foil.

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