Panettone Has Become An Obsession For American Bakers

To make panettone — traditional panettone, coaxed from a stiff, naturally leavened starter — is to embark on a long, expensive and unpredictable journey, risking disaster at every turn.

Roy Shvartzapel, a baker in San Francisco, refers to the Italian bread as “the Mount Everest of baking.”

“You’d be hard pressed to find a more challenging dough,” said Mr. Shvartzapel, 40, who owns the mail-order panettone business From Roy.

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