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Gluten Free & Keto Panettone (Italian Christmas Bread!) 👑

Very much akin to the traditional Italian Christmas bread, this gluten free and keto panettone is buttery, pillowy and with beautiful orange notes throughout!

Sliced gluten free & keto panettone with coffee
Gluten Free & Keto Panettone (Italian Christmas Bread!)

Gluten Free & Keto Panettone

Gluten Free & Keto Panettone

If you’ve ever had panettone, then you need no convincing as to the extraordinary nature of this Italian sweet yeast bread. And if you have yet to try it, think of it a little bit like a brioche, hot cross buns, or Mexican Rosca de Reyes.

Honestly guys, I’m very proud of this one. Took a little bit of work, but it’s fairly marvelous how much it does resemble real panettone. Albeit more dense because well, no starches and gluten!

And you might be surprised, but making this keto panettone incredibly simple really (there’s no kneading, double resting time, etc). But, like with any yeasted bread, it does require you take care of a few details to ensure the best possible outcome so be sure to read (or skim!) through the post.

Mini Gluten Free & Keto Panettone (Italian Christmas Bread!)
Gluten Free & Keto Panettone (Italian Christmas Bread!)

The Deets

Compared to other yeast bread recipes on the site (sandwich bread, cinnamon rolls), this one falls the least post bake. Though do note that keto flours are notoriously heavy and moist) and certain missing proteins (think gluten), so they will be denser than normal panettone. I’ve tried these in both Mexico City (super high altitude) and LA (sea level) and they work just as well.

But one of the reasons why they work so great is because they’re baked in mini panettone molds. Tbh I wouldn’t bother with full-sized one as the dough is so enriched that it barely rises.

And if no molds are on hand don’t sweat it! You can simply cut up some squares of parchment paper and push them down onto a muffin tray, getting them roughly 2 1/2″ tall. Feeling fancy? Tie them up with a ribbon to serve!

You just must ensure your rolls do almost double in size while proofing, and it can take anywhere from 2-3 hours. And this dough requires a little extra warmth. For instance, I place my tray on top of my oven as I heat it up (so my tray gets slightly warm and they rise beautifully). But you must ensure you don’t overheat them or you’ll kill the yeast. Think a warm and humid day at the beach, that’s the ideal temperature.

Before rise

Keto panettone dough before rising
Gluten Free & Keto Panettone (Italian Christmas Bread!)

After rise

Keto panettone dough after rising
Gluten Free & Keto Panettone (Italian Christmas Bread!)

The Tips ‘N Tricks

The yeast in this low carb and keto panettone ensures a wonderful texture and taste. But it does require you to take care of a few details:

Weigh your ingredients. This will forever be a staple recommendation for any sort of gluten free baking here at gnom-gnom. As aside from leading to less dirty dishes, it will ensure consistent results time and time again. Remember that gluten free (and particularly keto) baking is notoriously finicky, and measuring by cups is anything but accurate. And if you don’t own a baking scale, measure with cups by dropping the ingredients onto them rather than scooping them out (which often leads to overpacking).

Ingredients at room temperature. Self explanatory really, but incredibly important (particularly for the eggs). If you add cold eggs to the mix your bread simply won’t rise much (if at all).

Proof the yeast. This involves mixing dry active yeast with water that’s just warm to touch (between 105-110°F to be precise) and inulin or an actual sugar (think maple syrup or honey) for 7 minutes until foamy. And before you scream sugar (!!) remember that the yeast will feed on such sugar to emit carbon dioxide, so it doesn’t affect the carb count. And yes, this is a scientific fact.

Avoid abrupt temperature changes and air drafts. Like with any yeast bread, you need to cuddle your dough. Make sure it’s able to rest undisturbed in a warm space.

Baking at high altitude? Yup, so am I (Paola here!!). No changes need to be done here!

Freshly baked mini keto panettone
Gluten Free & Keto Panettone (Italian Christmas Bread!)

The Ingredients & Possible Subs

This panettone does have quite a few ingredients, but you’ll find that most are staple paleo and keto pantry ingredients. In the list below you’ll find details on several ingredients and possible subs. But if possible, please do try and make this recipe without any subs.

Almond flour. You truly need a super finely ground almond flour here, as if you use meal your bread will turn out dense and oily. Super fine almond flour brands include Anthony’s WellBees and Bob’s.

Now if paleo, or in keto maintenance, you can lighten up the bread by substituting part of the almond flour (1/4-1/2 cup) with arrowroot flour.

Flaxseed meal.  You’ll want to use golden flaxseed meal (we use Bob’s), and regrind the flakes in your (very dry!) bullet or blender until finely powdered. Great way to avoid slimy bread.

Psyllium husk powder. Same as with your flaxseed meal, you’ll always want to regrind your psyllium husk. We always favor NOW brand as it doesn’t turn bread purple. You can substitute it with more flax, but your bread may lose some elasticity and rise.

Whey protein isolate. This one is an absolute must, as it will ensure your panettone doesn’t collapse post-bake. Keep in mind that this ingredient varies tremendously from brand to brand, and we’ve only tried (and are super happy!) with Isopure’s Zero Carb Unflavored.

Freshly baked gluten free & keto panettone
Gluten Free & Keto Panettone (Italian Christmas Bread!)

The Dried Fruit

A bit tricky because well, store-bought dried fruit ain’t the most keto of foods… though still doable. What I did was simply to boil some cranberries with sweetener (allulose and xylitol work great here). And then, once softened (though not mushy), popped them in the dehydrator (or your oven at roughly 150-170F) to dry out slowly.

And you can follow the same methodology with orange peel too!

Alternatively, I also studded a handful of the mini panettone with chocolate chunks and it was simply divine paired with the orange hues.

The Sweetener

These sticky buns work best with erythritol (Lakanto or Swerve) and allulose.

(Important note!) I recently made the connection (while at the dentist!) that xylitol inhibits yeast and bacteria growth (which is why it’s the sweetener of choice for dental products). So don’t use xylitol!

Sliced keto panettone over Christmas plates
Gluten Free & Keto Panettone (Italian Christmas Bread!)

The Methodology

Gluten Free & Keto Panettone (Italian Christmas Bread!)

Gluten Free & Keto Panettone (Italian Christmas Bread!)

Very much akin to the traditional Italian Christmas bread, this gluten free and keto panettone is buttery, pillowy and with beautiful orange notes throughout!
Oh, and if baking with cups rather than grams is your thing, just click on US Cups for an instant conversion. Though for best results we (highly!!) suggest you weight your ingredients here. 
5 from 9 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Resting Time 2 hrs
Course Bread, Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine European
Servings 7 mini panettone
Calories 312 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

For the gluten free & keto rolls

Optional ad-ins

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chunks or dried fruit (keto-style!) see post for notes

Special equipment

Instructions
 

  • See recipe video of the cinnamon rolls for guidance on the methodology (similar yeast doughs, different ratios). And check out the post for deets, tips and possible subs! Note: if using a stand mixer, feel free to use the paddle attachment for easiest mixing. 

For the gluten free & keto panettone

  • Add yeast and a dash of ginger to a large bowl, set aside. Mix inulin (or maple syrup), water and sour cream in a small bowl. Heat up over a water bath to 105-110°F. And if you don't have a thermometer it should only feel lightly warm to touch. 
  • Pour lightly warm sour cream mixture over yeast, cover bowl with a kitchen towel and allow to rest for 7 minutes. The mixture should be bubbly, if it isn't start again (too cold water won't activate the yeast and too hot will kill it). 
  • Mix your flours while the yeast is proofing. Add almond flour, flaxseed meal, whey protein powder, sweetener, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt to a medium bowl and whisk until thoroughly mixed. Set aside. 
  • Once your yeast is proofed, add in the eggs, vinegar and orange zest. Mix with an electric mixer for a a minute or so until fully mixed. Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the softened butter. Keep on mixing until you can no longer see any streaks of butter. The dough will become very sticky, so you want to work quickly to get it mixed properly. Use a wet spatula to gather the dough into a ball. 
  • Spoon the dough onto the mini panettone molds, filling them up roughly 2/3rds. Place on a baking tray, cover with a kitchen towel and place in a warm draft-free space for 2-3 hours until the dough has almost doubled in size (it should reach the top of the mold). How long it takes depends on your altitude, temperature and humidity, but just keep in mind that because this is an enriched dough it'll take its time to rise (just be patient!). And note that if you don't see it rising, it likely needs a little more warmth (say the top of your oven!). 
  • Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C while the dough is proofing. Lightly brush with egg wash, being careful to avoid the edges so they're able to rise when baked. Bake for 10 minutes at 400°F/200°C, reduce temperature to 375°F/190°C and bake for further 10 minutes and reduce temperature to 350°F/180°C and bake for 5-7 minutes. Panettone should be a (very!) deep brown when done, but feel free to tent with foil to prevent over browning (around minute 10-12). 
  • Allow to cool on the tray for 20 minutes and transfer to a rack to cool completely. Keep in mind that they continue to cook while cooling, so you really don't want to cut before! Keep stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-5 days. Serve at room temperature or lightly warm. 

Notes

*You can feed the yeast with either inulin or an actual sugar (thanks for the inulin tip guys!). And do remember that the yeast will feed on such sugar to emit carbon dioxide, so it doesn’t affect the carb count. And yes, this is a scientific fact.
**If paleo (or in keto maintenance), feel free to sub 1/4-1/2 cup of almond flour with arrowroot flour for a lighter crumb. 
***If no panettone molds are on hand don't sweat it! You can simply cut up some squares of parchment paper and push them down onto a muffin tray, getting them roughly 2 1/2" tall. Feeling fancy? Tie them up with a ribbon to serve!
(Important note!) I recently made the connection (while at the dentist!) that xylitol inhibits yeast and bacteria growth (which is why it's the sweetener of choice for dental products). So don't use xylitol!
Please note that nutrition facts were estimated per mini panettone (4g net carbs!). 

Nutrition

Serving: 1mini panettone | Calories: 312kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 91mg | Sodium: 427mg | Potassium: 139mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 355IU | Vitamin C: 1.2mg | Calcium: 110mg | Iron: 2mg
Keyword gluten free, grain free, keto
Whip up this recipe?Comment below or drop me a line @gnomgnom._ and tag #gnomgnomyum!

72 comments

  1. Betsy says:

    Ahhhh! This is what I’ve been missing for years! I actually just tried to adapt your sandwich bread to be a stollen/panettone, and it’s in its final moments in the oven. I wish I had simply searched your website for “bread” before I started and I would’ve found this. Alas, no panettone mold, but seeing the 2 hour rise would’ve been helpful (I did 90 minutes, but am guessing that extra 30 minutes would’ve been great). I guess I’ll have to try this one soon! Thank you so much for this website; gluten-free keto yeast breads are impossible to find on the internet and I miss them so much!

  2. Kate Hapgood says:

    Recipe looks amazing! Just wondering something…would egg white powder work if I don’t have whey protein? Thank you!

    • You know Kate, I know some other bloggers say they’re interchangeable… but they *really* aren’t. In my experience egg white powder will make your panettone super dry and hard. What I suggest you do is to sub with the same amount of almond flour (you will sacrifice some structure) or with arrowroot, tapioca or even cassava (you’ll be adding some carbs though, needless to say). Let me know your dietary restriction if possible, so I can help you find a suitable sub (say, for many its dairy!)

      xo! Paola

  3. Roberta says:

    “If no panettone molds are on hand don’t sweat it! You can simply cut up some squares of parchment paper and push them down onto a muffin tray, getting them roughly 2 1/2” tall. Feeling fancy? Tie them up with a ribbon to serve!”…GENIUS and always so appealing with your recipes and suggestions 🙂 Thanks again and again, Paula 😀

  4. Joan says:

    Thanks! That makes sense, so as to not destroy the rise. I can’t wait to try this. I’m not remotely Italian, but I am a lover of good looking food. I might need to throw this Italian bread into my German Christmas fare.

    • No no! You want it to rise with all your add in’s already (that’s why they don’t rise as much, even if making the gluten version). Remember that keto yeast breads only rise *once*, so fold them into your batter at the very end.

  5. Linda R says:

    I haven’t tried this recipe yet, but you have no idea what you’ve done for me!! I’m gluten free and every year at this time when I see panettone stacked in the grocery stores, I reminisce over the days when I would buy and eat panettone throughout the holiday season – a slice nearly every morning for breakfast until they were no longer available in the stores. My favorite was Trader Joe’s panettone – so moist and packed with raisins and citron. My friends and family knew me as the panettone queen! I haven’t had it in years so this is like an early Christmas present! Thank you so much for making panettone a possibility again! I can’t wait to gather the ingredients and make these wonderful seasonal breads!!

    • Cmsde says:

      FYI, the Italian company ‘vergani’ is making gluten free panettone. They aren’t cheap but they are delicious. I’ve managed to find them here in Australia at a few stores for family who can’t eat gluten. They are pretty close to the regular version. You can actually find it on Amazon.com if you type gluten free panettone in your search.

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