I baked my yearly panettone today, and I thought this might be a good time to remind readers that a perfectly attractive loaf can be made without purchasing a special pan, or paper sleeves that cost more than the ingredients.
You'll need a tall pan, which used to be the sort of thing I solved with coffee tins, but now they tend to have coated linings, or be made of cardboard. I used a soufflé dish that I buttered generously. Then, I lined it with two longs strips of parchment paper (I cut a round for the bottom as well) that extended several inches over the edge of the pan. The butter should help keep it in place. I went ahead and buttered the paper again just to be on the safe side as this is sticky dough. Then, to increase the stability, I wrapped the outside in a tall layer of heavy-duty foil. The loaf rose and baked beautifully, unmoulded without trouble, and the clean-up was minimal.
If I had any other use for that sort of pan I'd buy one, but a one-a-year kitchen item is one more thing to take up precious storage space.
I've also used a tube pan for baking large panettone, as it solves that whole, "underbaked in the centre" issue. I admit, it isn't as pretty, and you tend to get a wedge of bread rather than a slice, but for the novice baker, it does make for an easier baking. Because the dough is so rich in butter, eggs, and fruit, baking panettone can be tricky-why complicate things with special pans? My loaf was huge, and I kept assuming at some point it would collapse, but this must have been my lucky day as it rose tall, and remained so. That could almost sound dirty, eh? If your loaf remains huge after six hours, you should seek medical advice, put on a pot of coffee, and grab the butter and jam.