Panettone, gluten-free or vegan

Panettone, gluten-free or vegan

The sweet symbol of Christmas gluten free or without animal ingredients. How it is made and where it is

Panettone has become healthy. To satisfy the growing number of intolerant and vegan people, the "without" (free) versions of the traditional Christmas cake and the Venetian cousin Pandoro are spreading: gluten-free for celiacs; free of butter, eggs, and milk for the followers of the plant diet.

Improved recipes
But is it possible to make the most famous holiday sweets by eliminating essential ingredients such as wheat flour, butter, or fresh eggs (established by law in 2005)? The good news is that techniques and recipes have improved in recent times. Without competing with the softness of classic panettone, the gluten-free and vegan ones have reached a good level of softness and fragrance, especially among pastry products.

Gluten-free: flour
Because even in the health sector, the difference between industrial and artisanal panettone is there. Let's start with the gluten-free panettone, produced by specialized companies such as Dr. Schär, Giuliani (Giusto), NutriSì, and traditional brands such as Motta, Bauli, Vergani, Fraccaro Spumadoro. "In my leavened products, wheat flour is replaced by ad hoc blends," says Francesco Favorito , pastry chef, specialized in gluten-free pastry, teacher, and author of various books on the subject click here . "These are natural mixtures , based on starch, flour, and rice flour, with the addition of thickeners such as guar fibers (plant of the legume family) or carob seeds or inulin, obtained from chicory. Instead, some industrial panettone also uses additives such as mono and diglycerides of fatty acids, maltodextrins, xanthan ". All substances are allowed and widespread in packaged baked goods but which make the panettone less natural.

Natural leavening
We come to yeast , another basic ingredient of panettone. "In the gluten-free version, it can be beer (also called compressed), which is a naturally gluten-free product. A maximum of 2% of the total mix is used," adds Favorito. "But the sourdough , well refreshed and mature, is the best choice for a large leavened product like panettone. Let's remember that it is also an excellent preservative but above all-natural softener . For those who want to prepare it at home, the ingredients are rice flour, water, and acacia honey, and add 250g / kg of the mixture, "he concludes. In industrial panettone, on the other hand, the list of ingredients of the mother yeast can also be much longer.

Other ingredients
The other basic ingredients of the panettone for celiacs are the same as the traditional one: sugar , chicken eggs, and butter , as per ministerial legislation. For this reason, the Ministry of Health has recently authorized the use of the term panettone also for those without wheat flour, as long as they comply with the provisions of the law.

Equal? No good
In conclusion, "The classic panettone is born with the simple ingredients of the Italian traditiWe, we try to create a similar dessert (the same can never be) with alternative flavors and aromas that still satisfy the palate. Some companies, however, use ingredients chemicals to obtain "almost the same," with results that are not always satisfactory, both in terms of softness and taste, "concludes the pastry chef. Anyone wishing to taste the gluten-free panettone with Francesco Favorito's recipe can find them in Milan at PànPerMe , a recently opened gluten-free bakery ( click here ): from breakfast to aperitif, it offers sweet and savory specialties for celiacs. But also in other Italian cities, there are various pastry shops for the intolerant (for info, click here ).

Vegan
Occasion desserts are also available in a veg version: in this case, the name cannot be panettone, but a fantasy (for example, Christmas cake), because the ingredients lack eggs and butter. They are produced by companies specializing in organic and vegan (such as Go vegan, Pro Bios, Fior di logo), but various pastry shops begin to experiment with them. Butter can be replaced by extra virgin olive or seed oil, vegetable kinds of margarine, or even by emulsions of cocoa butter, seed oil, and sunflower lecithin—eggs from legume flours (especially soy in packaged products) or others.

Pastry
Among the pastry chefs who offer vegan panettone, we interviewed Mauro Morandin of the historic pastry shop in Saint-Vincent inherited from his father Rolando ( click here ). "For some time, we have been making vegan leavened products, from panettone to Colomba. I can say that today the panettone while remaining different from the traditional one, has reached a good level of taste and consistency. I prepare it with natural products , without chemicals: vegetable butters me, a mixture of water and rice starch that gels slightly, mother yeast, and raw coconut sugar , which gives it a good flavor. Furthermore, being rich in molasses helps to soften the cake; and it has a shallow glycemic index " .
Maestro Morandin has not yet tried his hand at gluten-free panettone. "We have a line of cakes for the intolerant, without gluten, butter and lactose: they are excellent sweets, which have given me great satisfaction. But for now, I have not found the right natural ingredients for the gluten-free panettone: the ones I tasted, in my opinion, do not. They are quite greedy ".

Greedy appointments
If you feel like panettone, 3 events not to be missed will soon take place. It begins in Turin with Una Mole di Panettone on November 19-20.

[rebelmouse-image 25506193 alt = "133395" original_size = "362x314" expand = 1] This is followed by the historic Re Panettone exhibition, this year with two locations: one in Milan , on 26-27 November, and one in Naples, on 3- December 4th ( click here ). With the best Italian pastry chefs, 40 in Milan and 24 in Naples, who will propose their creations. And many meetings, insights, tastings.

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