Venetian-style Panettone (Veneziana)
2 packages active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water (110[deg] to 115[deg])
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1/4 Lb.) butter or margarine, at room temperature
1 large egg, separated
3 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 teaspoon grated lemon peel About 3-1/4 CUPS all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon melted butter or margarine
3/4 cup diced candied orange peel
1/4 cup whole blanched almonds
6 sugar cubes (1/2 in.), coarsely crushed
Powdered sugar (optional)
In a large bowl, combine yeast and water; let stand about 5 minutes to soften. Add granulated sugar, salt, the 1/2 cup butter, the 4 egg yolks, vanilla, lemon peel, and 2 cups of the flour. With an electric mixer, beat at low speed until the flour is moistened, then at high speed until the dough is smooth, stretchy, and glossy, 5 to 10 minutes. Add 1-1/4 cups flour.
To knead with a dough hook, beat at low speed until flour is moistened, then at high speed until dough is smooth and pulls cleanly from side of bowl. If dough still sticks, add flour I tablespoon at a time and continue kneading until dough pulls free (dough will be soft and slightly tacky), 5 to 10 minutes total.
To knead by hand, stir dough with a heavy spoon until flour is moistened. Then scrape dough onto a well-floured board. Knead lightly until smooth and elastic, adding as little flour as possible to prevent sticking (dough will be soft and slightly tacky), 5 to 10 minutes. Return dough to the bowl.
After kneading by either method, cover bowl with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm, draft-free place until dough has doubled in volume, 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
Meanwhile, line 1 brown paper lunch bag (about 3-1/2 by 5 in. on bottom) with I more bag of the same size. Fold top edges down to form a cuff on the outside; shortened bag should be about 6-1/2 inches tall. Brush inside of bag generously with the melted butter. Set bag upright in a 4- by 8-inch loaf pan.
Punch dough down, then scrape onto a lightly floured board. Sprinkle candied orange peel over dough, a portion at a time, and knead to evenly distribute peel. Shape dough into a ball and drop into buttered bag. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and set in a warm, draft-free place until dough has almost doubled in size, 45
minutes to 1 hour.
Reserve 1/2 of the nuts for garnish. Finely chop remaining nuts. Gently brush top of risen loaf with reserved. egg white, then lightly press reserved whole nuts into top of loaf. Sprinkle with chopped nuts and the coarsely crushed sugar cubes.
Bake in a 350[deg] oven for 30 minutes. (If top browns too fast, cover lightly with foil.) Reduce heat to 325[deg] and continue baking until a long, thin wooden skewer inserted into thickest part comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes longer. Cool in pan on rack about 10 minutes. Lift out of pan and set on rack to cool further.
Serve warm or cool. (If made ahead, let bread cool, then wrap airtight up to I day, or freeze for longer storage; thaw wrapped. Reheat, lightly covered, in a 350[deg] oven until warm, 15 to 20 minutes.) If desired, sift powdered sugar lightly over top of loaf. Tear off bag to serve bread. Cut into wedges or slices. Makes 1 loaf (2 lb. 6 oz.), 8 to 10 servings.