Here’s a recipe for the season that took most-talented pastry chef Matt Tinder almost 1000-kg of flour and four years of sweat and tears to perfect. This is the ultimate of baking challenges. As he puts it, it’s a recipe that depends more on what feels right than ratios and measurements. So you have to go through it more than a few times to figure out what each stage should look, smell, taste, and feel like. Or you can just buy one from one of the places I listed at the end here for Bon Appetit.
2 loaves, serves 20
600g Raw apple juice
600g Bread flour (use 13-16% protein flour, Central Milling’s High Mountain works)
Combine apple juice and flour in clean bowl and set out at room temperature for 12 hours.
Feeding the Mother
440g Bread flour
In a mixer, combine mother, flour, and water until it comes together as a very stiff dough with a tight smooth skin. Put in a container with ample space, and leave in a warm place (81- 83F) for four hours. It should triple in size. If not start again.
Repeat the feed twice every day for at least six days, each time weighing out 400g of mother to begin. Control acidity by bathing the mother each morning in water with a pinch of sugar for about 10 minutes before feeding.
Start this stage only if you are prepared to bake 20 hours from now. If mixing with a dough hook, always set at low speed to avoid heating the dough. Better is one of those diving arms Artofex mixers, or so I’ve heard.
480g Bread flour
10g Diastatic malt powder (not the stuff for milkshakes)
78g Egg yolks (very cold)
170g Butter (room temperature)
In a mixer, combine in this order—flour, malt, mother, water—mixing about 10 minutes in total.
In a separate bowl, mix egg yolks and sugar, then add the egg-sugar mixture to the dough a little at a time, mixing about 10 minutes until well-incorporated. Then add butter a little at a time to the dough, mixing about 10 minutes more. Dough should be homogeneous and strong (balling up around the hook).
Put in a container with ample space to allow it to triple, and leave in a warm place for 12 hours.
In a mixer, combine flour and sugar. Then add the first dough to the flour-sugar mixture, mixing about 10 minutes.
150g Milk chocolate, chopped
150g Dark chocolate, chopped
In a bowl, combine the egg yolks and sugar. Reserve a few spoonfuls. In a mixer, add the egg-sugar mixture to the dough a little at a time, mixing about 8 minutes.
In a bowl, combine the last bit of the egg-sugar mixture with salt, then slowly add that to the dough, mixing about 3 minutes. Then add butter to the dough a little at a time, about 10 minutes. (Don’t worry too much about overmixing.) The dough should be homogenous and strong.
Add honey and chocolate, mixing until well incorporated.
Spray work surface with vegetable oil. Measure out two 1040g portions of dough, and allow to rest 20 minutes.
Shape into tight rounds and place each in a mold. Set in warm place to rise for six to eight hours. Dough should crest over the mold about a half-inch.
Cut a shallow cross in the top.
Bake at 345F for about 45–50 minutes (internal temperature should reach 199.4F).
Remove from oven and immediately punch two metal skewers about 5” apart, flush with the bottom of the mold. Invert panettone and hang upside down for 8 to 12 hours before serving.
(All pics by me, Tienlon Ho.)