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This mildly sweet orange zest bread was kind of an accidental recipe. The other day, I was making a loaf of stollen, a German Christmas bread. I overthought the instructions, and ended up adding too much milk at the start, forgetting that I would be adding melted butter later. Since I messed up that recipe, I ended up starting the stollen over again, but I kept the sweet orange zest dough and baked it in a loaf pan. This fantastic dough rose quickly to a great height, partially due to a larger amount of dough than a standard bread recipe plus the warmth of our 80-degree kitchen.
Since the only orange flavoring comes from the zest, it has a very mild orange flavor. To increase the citrus taste, I suggest adding some homemade orange peel to the dough in addition to the orange zest. I love how the homemade peel adds a refreshing orange taste to bread doughs like stollen.
Sweet orange zest bread tastes amazing when it’s served warm and is thickly sliced and spread with soft butter. If you happen to have any of this delicious bread left the next day, I encourage you to try our French toast with berry compote recipe. You will be glad you did.Print
Enjoy this soft bread with a hint of sweetness.
For the Dough
- 6 cups bread flour (600g)
- 4 tsp fast-action yeast (12g)
- 1/4 tsp. fine salt
- 1/4 cup caster sugar (50g)
- Zest of 1 large orange
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- about 1 1/2 cup milk, warmed to 110-115 F (375 ml)
For the Decoration
- 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted (60g)
- 2/3 cup icing sugar (80g)
- Few drops of cold water
Making the Dough
- Pour the flour into a large bowl, adding the yeast and salt on opposite sides of the bowl. Stir in each one with your finger. Add the sugar, and stir the whole mix with your hand.
- Dump in the orange zest, vanilla, and egg, and stir to start bringing the mix together.
- Gradually add the warmed milk, stirring and crushing the dough with your hand. Continue adding the milk until the dough feels soft. You may need more or less milk than the recipe states.
- Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes, until it is smooth, elastic, and no longer as sticky.
- First Prove: Shape into a ball and place in a lightly buttered bowl covered with plastic wrap. Prove until the dough is at least doubled in size–about 1-1 1/2 hours.
Shaping the Dough
- Once it is proved, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and punch it down all over to knock out the air.
- Shape the dough into a rough rectangle about the width of the long side of the loaf pan you will be using. Roll the dough up into a tight log, pinch the seam to seal, and place inside of the pan.
- Second Prove: Cover with a piece of buttered plastic wrap and let the bread prove until doubled in size, roughly 45 minutes. The dough should be above the top of the pan, and should spring back when gently pressed.
Baking the Bread
- About 10-15 minutes before the end of the second prove, preheat the oven to 375 F.
- Bake the bread in the middle of the oven for about 45 minutes. If the top is getting too brown, cover loosely with a piece of aluminum foil. The bread is done when it has a good color, is well risen, has an internal temperature of 200 F, and has a hollow sound when you thump the bottom of the loaf.
- Let the bread cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then finish cooling it on a wire rack.
Decorating the Bread
- While the loaf is cooling, melt the unsalted butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.
- Make a water icing by sifting the icing sugar into a medium bowl, then stir in enough water to make a thick icing. Spoon it into a sandwich bag and cut off the corner to form a piping bag.
- Once the bread is fully cooled, brush on a generous amount of the melted butter on the top of the loaf to make it look glossy and drizzle stripes of icing to make it look pretty.
- Serve thickly sliced with soft butter.