I’ve had a cold the last few days which is why I’ve been moving slow (that Christmas party in Chicago was a doozy). However I did give the recipe a dry run last week and since then four other readers have done the same. The jury is in agreement that the Fiori di Sicilia is too much. Also, it seems the recipe is a little under-salted. I don’t want to boost that too much since the yeast are already waging an uphill battle against a good deal of sugar and alcohol, but I’ll try a bit extra just for laughs.
Also there’s been slight alarm and consternation that the panettones in general haven’t risen much in the oven and have sometimes dipped in the center. This is completely normal for panettone, especially the larger six-inch (2-pound) versions. Heat has a tough time penetrating all the way through that mass, especially when the oven is set so low (325 is quite low for a brioche-type bread). However if the heat was any higher you’d get outside burning before the inside finishes. The main thing is that even without the “oven spring”, the crumb will still be perfect.
Some bakers compensate for the dipping by hanging the panettones upside-down as soon as they emerge from the oven. To me this is too much fuss for a picture-perfect bread. I’m more concerned with crumb and flavor, at least for now. Later I might turn into a true panettone fanatic and start experimenting with this step. Let’s get a good batch first, however, shall we?