Makes 1 large bread, or 2 smaller breads.
To make the sponge, in a small bowl dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the flour and stir with a spoon or your fingers to make a loose, almost liquid dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for at least 6 hours or overnight. In a small bowl, combine the raisins grappa or brandy, and let marinate for at least 6 hours or overnight. In a large bowl, beat the butter whole eggs, egg yolks, sugar vanilla, and water together. Drain the raisins in a small strainer set over a bowl, pressing on the raisins with a spoon to remove as much of the liquid as possible.
Add the liquid to the egg mixture, and refrigerate the raisins until needed. Add the sponge to the bowl and mix well with your hands. Add the flour about 1 1/2 cups at a time and mix until a ball of dough is formed; you may not need all of the flour. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for 5 to 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic, adding additional flour as needed. Place the dough in a lightly buttered bowl, turn to coat it with butter, cover it with a clean cloth, and let rise for 6 hours.
Butter and flour a panetone mold or other high sided mold at least 6 1/2 inches tall and 7 to 8 inches wide (the ceramic insert to a crock pot is ideal, or you can use two 2 pound coffee cans to make smaller loaves. Panetone can also be baked in 2 greased and floured 6 by 6 inch clay flower pots (NOTE: I line them with foil)) Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a floured surface.
Flatten the dough out with your hands and sprinkle over the lemon and orange zest. In a small bowl, mix the reserved raisins and the citron with the 1 tablespoon flour and sprinkle this mixture over the dough. Fold the dough in half, press the edges to seal, and knead it to distribute the fruits. Knead for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the fruits are well distributed and the dough is smooth; add additional flour as necessary. Place the dough in the molds, cover with a clean cloth, and let rise for 35 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut an X in the top of the bread with a scissors or a razor blade. Bake for 5 minutes, reduce the heat to 375, and bake for 10 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 350 and bake for 30 -35 minutes, or until a metal or bamboo skewer comes out clean; if the top of the bread begins to brown too much, cover the bread loosely with foil. Let cool for about 30 minutes on a rack before removing from the mold.
1 tablespoon (1 package) active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees F)
1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
2/3 cup golden raisins
1/4 grappa or brandy
5 tablespoons butter, softened
2 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 cup warm water
4 1/2 to 5 cups plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all purpose flour
Grated zest of one lemon
Grated zest of 1 medium orange
1/2 cup chopped citron