An eight-pointed star, the sweetest and softest there is: we are talking about pandoro, one of the symbolic recipes of Christmas together with its all-time rival, panettone. The firs one from the Veronese pastry tradition (actually of Viennese origins) and the other from Lombardy, one of the most favorite dessert during the holidays to be enjoyed on its own or with delicious mascarpone cream. At the court of the Habsburgs, pandoro was called the "Bread of Vienna", while others trace its name back to the "pan de oro" (meaning golden bread), the sweet that was served in the homes of wealthy Venetians.

It is curious to know that the pandoro was designed by Angelo Dall'Oca Bianca, an impressionist painter. The shape, together with the recipe for the dough, was filed with the patent office on 14 October 1894 by Domenico Melegatti, owner of the homonymous confectionery industry.

We offer you our version made with the biga, i.e. the pre-dough to be prepared the night before making the pandoro which will guarantee you a very aromatic, more digestible and longer lasting product.

Preparing pandoro is quite laborious and requires many hours of work, especially if you choose to make the pandoro recipe with sourdough, but the satisfaction of serving this homemade Christmas leavened product will repay any effort. So enrich your Christmas and New Year's table with a very special homemade dessert!

If you are looking for other ways to use pandoro, have a look to the following recipes:

Pandoro cake

Pandoro tree

Pandoro tiramisù

Pandoro tiramisù with baileys

Pandoro tiramisù with wild berries

Zuccotto di pandoro

Pandoro stars with eggnog cream


For the biga
Flour 00 ½ cup (60 g) - W 350
Water 2 tbsp (30 g) - at room temperature
Fresh brewer's yeast 1 tsp (3 g)
For the 1st dough (for 2lbs (1 kg) mold)
Biga 3 oz (90 g)
Flour 00 1 ⅓ cup (150 g) - W 350
Sugar ¼ cup (45 g)
Eggs 2 (110 g) - medium
Fresh brewer's yeast 1 ½ tsp (5 g)
For the aromatic honey
Acacia honey 1 ½ tbsp (30 g)
Vanilla bean 2
Lemon peel 1 - grated
Orange peel 1 - grated
For the 2nd dough
Flour 00 2 cups (230 g) - W 350
Sugar ⅔ cup (125 g)
Water ¼ cup (50 g) - at room temperature
Eggs 2 (110 g) - medium, at room temperature
Egg yolks 2 (30 g) - at room temperature
Butter ⅔ cup (150 g) - soft
Fine salt ¾ tsp (5 g)
For the mold and the working surface
Butter to taste
Flour 00 to taste
For decorating
Powdered sugar to taste

How to prepare Pandoro

To prepare the homemade pandoro, start with the biga. In a bowl, pour the flour, the water 1 and the crumbled brewer's yeast 3. Mix with a spoon 3.

Mix the ingredients quickly with a fork or with your hands 4, without kneading, to obtain a coarse and non-homogeneous mixture. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap 5 and let it mature for 8 hours at room temperature. After 8 hours, take the mixture again, don't worry if it hasn't grown much 6.

Move on to the 1st dough. Pour the biga into the bowl of a planetary mixer equipped with a hook 7. Add the flour 8 and the sugar 9.

Also add the crumbled brewer's yeast 10 and the slightly beaten eggs at room temperature 11. Activate the planetary mixer and let it work for about 10 minutes until you obtain a smooth and well-strung dough 12.

Transfer the dough on a surface 13, give it a couple of folds and roll it in order to obtain a round shape 14, then transfer it into a large, tall bowl. Cover with plastic wrap 15 and let it rise for 2 hours at room temperature, or in the oven turned off, with the light on: the dough should double in size, the times are approximative. Then transfer the dough (which will have already grown) to the refrigerator for another 14 hours.

In the meantime, take a bowl and pour the acacia honey, the grated lemon zest 16, the grated orange zest 17 and the pulp of two vanilla pods 18.

Mix well 19 and cover with plastic wrap 20. Store at room temperature until use. We recommend preparing it the day before for a greater aroma. Once the resting time has elapsed, remove the dough from the refrigerator and leave it for another hour at room temperature covered with plastic wrap 21.

You can proceed with the 2nd dough. Pour the flour and sugar into the bowl of the planetary mixer equipped with the hook 22. Add water and the 1st dough 24. Operate the mixer at moderate speed.

Meanwhile, beat eggs and yolks together, both at room temperature 25. When the water is completely absorbed, add them to the mixture a little at a time 26. After a few minutes, add the salt 27.

When the eggs are well absorbed, add the honey 28. Continue kneading on medium-low speed until everything comes together. It is important to prevent the dought from overheating, so every 10 minutes of kneading, turn off the machine and let the dough rest for 5 minutes before starting again. When the dough is well strung 29 take a final rest for 10 minutes without kneading it, covered with a cloth. Turn on the planetary mixer again and gradually add the creamed butter one piece at a time 30.

Wait for the first piece to be well absorbed 31, before adding more. When you have finished adding the butter 32 remove the dough from the hook and let it rest for another 10 minutes, covered with a cloth. In the meantime, butter 33 and flour a 2 lbs (1 kg) pandoro mold.

After 10 minutes, operate the planetary mixer for a few more seconds. Now moisten your hands and transfer the dough on a lightly buttered surface 34. Slap a couple of times and fold by lifting the dough and turning it over on itself, always with moistened hands 35. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes on the surface without covering it 36.

Make two more rounds of reinforcing folds, 10 minutes apart from the previous fold 37. Roll out the dough 38 and transfer it into the mold 39.

After placing the dough in the mold 40, cover it with plastic wrap without stretching it, to leave room for the dough to grow 41. Let it rise at room temperature for 4-6 hours until the dough has reached the edge of the mold 42.

Bake the pandoro in a preheated conventional oven at 338°F (170°C) for 55-60 minutes until the surface is golden brown. Check the temperature at the heart of the pandoro with a kitchen thermometer, it must reach 197°F (92°C) to be cooked correctly. Once cooked, take the pandoro out of the oven 43 and let it cool for 30 minutes at room temperature. Transfer it to a wire rack and let it cool completely 44. Once cold, sprinkle with icing sugar 45 and enjoy!


You can store the pandoro, completely cold, in a plastic food bag. Seal it with a metal clip to keep it from drying out.


It is possible to add other aromas to the pandoro, or to use a honey with a stronger flavour.

Do you want to vary the mold? For a 1.5 lbs (750 g) mold you will have to reduce all the indicated doses by 1/4.

The traditional way to serve pandoro is accompanied by mascarpone cream.

How to manage leavening times

In order not to find yourself having to set the alarm clock in the middle of the night to follow the recipe, you can adjust as follows: preparing the biga in the morning (9 am), you can make the first dough in the afternoon (5 pm) and let it rise until morning later, when you proceed with the second dough (9 am). In this way, in the afternoon (3 pm) you will be ready to bake your homemade pandoro!