12tablespoons(170 grams) unsalted butter , softened at room temp
2tablespoonsvanilla bean paste (is thicker, has vanilla flecks, and a more intense flavor than vanilla extract but you can substitute 2 TEAspoons of extract if you wish)
zest of one lemon
To make the starter dough: Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the lukewarm water and let it sit for 10-15 minutes until nice and frothy. Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and add the yeast mixture. Using the dough hook, knead the ingredients until they come together. The dough will be smooth but firm and stiff.Form the dough into a ball, place it in a lightly greased bowl, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm place for about 2 hours or until nearly doubled in size.Punch it down, form it into a ball, place it back in the bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and place it in the fridge to sit overnight. **Remove the dough from the fridge the next day 2 hours before you're ready to proceed with making the pandoro.
The next day dissolve the yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar in the lukewarm milk and let it sit for 10-15 minutes until nice and frothy.Place the flour, sugar, and yeast mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix it together with spoon or with the dough hook. Using the dough hook, add the eggs one at a time, kneading between additions. The mixture will come together into a rich yellow dough.Add the starter dough to the stand mixer. Knead the two doughs together for about 5 minutes. Add the butter, lemon zest, vanilla, and honey and knead for about 10minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. The dough should be very smooth and elastic but not overly sticky. If it's too sticky add a little more flour.Form the dough into a ball, lightly spray the bowl, and place the dough back in, loosely covered with plastic wrap, to rise in a warm place for about 3 hours or until nearly tripled in size. Punch the dough down.
Generously butter a pandoro mold pan getting into all the cracks and crevices. You will need a 9-cup pandoro mold (about 2 liter capacity). Next add some flour to the pan and shake it to thoroughly coat it with flour, shaking out the excess flour. Again, be sure to get into all the cracks and crevices so that your pandoro doesn't stick to the pan.Place the dough into the prepared pandoro mold. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until the dough has risen to about an inch or so above the top of the mold.In the meantime preheat the oven to 325 F. Bake the pandoro on the middle rack for 30 minutes.Reduce the temperature to 300 F and bake for another 30 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 195 F and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Be careful not to over-bake or your pandoro will be very dry.During the baking process if the pandoro begins to brown too quickly cover it with aluminum foil.Let the pandoro cool in the mold on a wire rack for 15 minutes and then carefully remove the pandoro from the mold.Cut a thin layer off the base so it will sit flat on a serving plate.
To serve the pandoro, once it is cool you can either dust the whole bread with powdered sugar and cut it vertically into slices (traditional). Or for a more interesting look you can slice the pandoro in thick horizontal slices, then rotate the slices. You can then either dust the pandoro with powdered sugar or you can layer each of the horizontal slices with custard, cream, or a filling of choice.