I’ve made orange bread countless times before but can’t remember coming across a recipe as great as this one, from James Beard’s American Cookery.
First of all, who doesn’t like a bread that perfumes their kitchen with a light citrus scent? Second and more importantly, the texture is pretty incredible, somewhere between sliced sandwich bread and a hearty banana bread. It’s light enough for breakfast yet hearty and sweet and filling enough to go with afternoon coffee or tea.
And here’s the kicker: this delicious cakey bread, which stayed moist for almost a week later with no hint of staleness, is made with just two tablespoons of butter. I’m so used to using at least a stick of butter in these types of breads that I forget how juice and water be equally as effective in helping with the texture. Plus, you don’t feel weighed down if you accidentally eat, say, a quarter of a loaf in one sitting.
So I urge you to make this orange bread the next time you have a craving for something cakey and sweet. Play around with it and add cranberries, nuts, etc. It’s a bread you’ll make again and again.
The Best Orange Bread, from James Beard
Makes 1 loaf
- 2 cups sifted flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 3/4 cup hot water
- 2 to 3 tablespoons orange zest
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large stand mixer or another large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg. Combine the orange juice and hot water. Alternate adding the OJ/water mixture and the dry ingredients to the creamed ingredients, mixing well after each addition. You should begin and end with the dry ingredients. Stir in the orange zest.
- Pour the mixture into a 9×5 loaf pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the bread from the pan and cool one a wire rack.
Adapted from James Beard’s American Cookery