Pandoro is a specialty bread from Verona, usually made at Christmastime, straight through to Epiphany or Little Christmas. This basic recipe may also include dried fruits, nuts, or chestnuts.

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Pandoro, or "golden bread" is often covered with powdered sugar, to resemble the Italian Alps. Modern cooks often cut out the soft center, filling the cavity with gelato or Chantilly cream. It is usually served during Christmas, New Year's and Epiphany.
Recipe type: Baked Goods
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 1 loaf
First dough
  • 4 1/4 ounces high-gluten flour
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 small whole eggs
Second dough
  • 9 ounces high-gluten flour
  • 1/2 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 13 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 extra large whole eggs
  • 1 extra large egg yolk
  • vanilla essence
  • lemon zest
  1. Dissolve yeast in the warm water.
  2. Add in three quarters of the flour.
  3. Mix with a rubber spatula.
  4. When the flour is nicely absorbed, turn the dough out onto your work surface.
  5. Knead by hand, adding a little flour at a time.
  6. Once you get a smooth dough, shape it into a ball.
  7. Place the ball in a non-reactive bowl (not plastic or aluminum).
  8. Cover tightly with plastic wrap.
  9. Let it rise until it doubles in volume (60 to 90 minutes).
Make the first dough
  1. Put the starter dough in the bowl of your stand mixer (you may knead by hand if you have the strength and the patience).
  2. Add the flour, the sugar and half the beaten eggs.
  3. Start mixing slowly, but steadily.
  4. Add the rest of the beaten eggs, a little at a time.
  5. Knead for 10 to 15 minutes until the dough is smooth, and elastic, and is no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl.
  6. To facilitate this operation you may stop the mixer halfway through and remove the dough from the sides of the bowl and from the hook with a rubber spatula.
  7. Once again, make a ball and let it rise in a clean, non-reactive bowl, away from any drafts, possibly at around 77 degrees F. and tightly covered, so it doesn’t form a tough skin on top.
  8. Let dough rise until it doubles in volume (about 60 to 90 minutes).
Make the Second dough
  1. Add flour, sugar, egg yolks, vanilla and zest to the first dough.
  2. Knead it for a few minutes in the bowl.
  3. Add beaten whole eggs a little at a time.
  4. Don’t worry if the whole thing looks like a big mess at this point. If you use King Arthur high-gluten flour, it will slowly absorb the eggs and then will start to come off the sides of the bowl
  5. Even during this step you can stop the mixer after a few minutes and remove the dough from the sides and hook and turn it out onto a floured surface.
  6. When the eggs have been absorbed, add the butter slowly in little pieces at room temperature.
  7. Keep kneading for 30 to 40 minutes until the butter is completely absorbed and the dough comes off the sides, smooth and very elastic
  8. Flour the work surface and your hands (or grease hands and surface with butter instead).
  9. Fold the dough onto itself 2 or 3 times then.
  10. Grease the pandoro baking pan with butter. (Do not use cooking spray.)
  11. Put the dough into the pan, smooth part facing the bottom.
  12. Gently brush the top surface well with very soft butter, so it doesn’t form a skin.
  13. Cover tightly with plastic wrap.
  14. Let dough rise until it reaches the edge of the pan (2 to 3 hours, depending on the temperature).
  15. Adjust the racks in your oven to allow for the height of the pandoros. Then, pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees F.
  16. Carefully place the pandoro in the oven, watch that the pan doesn’t bump into anything, so as not to ruin leavening.
  17. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes depending on the oven.
  18. Depending upon your Pandoro form, the cake should rise close to the edge. In an Italian-made form, it will rise over the edge.
  19. Turn the pandoro out onto a cooling rack and let it cool completely.
  20. Remove from oven and let it cool for 30 minutes.
  21. Sprinkle the surface with confectioner’s sugar or decorate as desired.
  22. This cake is always best eaten the next day as the flavor has time to really come forth.
  23. Should you wish to store it and eat it a few days later, let it cool completely and place it into a ziplock bag or any plastic bag you can seal tightly, so it doesn’t dry up.
Pandoro is a wonderful bread served as a cake from old Verona, of Romeo and Juliet fame. It is baked in either a round cylinder form, made of paper or, in a star-shaped form, producing a most beautiful creation. Some chefs glaze their Pandoro with a flavored sugar syrup, while some serve it plain or with powdered sugar. The recipe here is simple and relatively plain, so you may add dried fruit, currants, sultanas or raisins, dried cherries or cranberries or glaceed chestnuts, as well as roasted walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts. Try it with pignoli!

This is a very classy dessert, and worthy of a fine Prosecco or Champagne.

The leftover bread makes an outstanding bread pudding or French toast.

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