3/4 cups flour
1/3 cup cold water
1/2 teaspoon of dry yeast
Ingredients for the final dough:
3 1/4 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
7 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons dry yeast
1/4 cup milk
5 teaspoons orange blossom water
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon rum
5-6 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
zest of one orange and one lemon
1 cup candied fruit
Pearl Sugar, for sprinkling
Panettone baking mold
Starter preparation (prepare a few hours before):
In a bowl, combine the water and the yeast. Add 3/4 cup flour and mix well. Cover the bowl with plastic and let it rest for 3-4 hours.
Once the starter is ready, you can start preparing the mass. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the liquid ingredients (milk, orange blossom water, honey, rum and egg yolks). Then add the starter, flour, salt, yeast, vanilla and zests. Knead for about 20 minutes, or until very smooth.
Slowly incorporate the butter and keep kneading for 10 to 15 minutes more. Remove the dough and knead the candied orange in by hand, making sure to incorporate it throughout the dough.
When well distributed, tuck the edges under, forming a ball. Let rise for 3 hours, or until it has doubled in size.
When the dough has doubled, reshape the ball and gently place in panettone mold. Brush the top with melted butter and sprinkle with pearled sugar. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 4-5 hours more.
After the second rise, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Bake for about 35 minutes. When done, the top should be nicely browned. Test the interior with a wooden skewer, which should come out clean if it's baked through. When finished, form two kitchen towels into a circle, and let panettone cool on it's side so it doesn't deflate.