The smell of orange in baked goods always makes me think of the holidays. These little braided breads can be gifted on Thanksgiving or they can be served at either end of the dinner table.
Yield: 2 small braided loaves.
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 35 minutes
- 3/4 cup water, room temperature
- 2-1/4 tsp (1 pkg. or 1/4 oz.) active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup milk, room temperature
- Grated rind of one medium to large orange
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar, packed
- 2 Tbsp soft butter or margarine
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2-1/4 cups bread flour, about
- In medium bowl, mix water and yeast. Add milk, orange zest, honey, brown sugar, butter, salt, and whole wheat flour. Stir. Add 1-1/2 cups of bread flour and mix well. Slowly add in remaining flour, enough flour to make a dough that follows the spoon around the bowl. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead for 4 minutes, adding more flour as needed until the dough is soft and smooth to the touch. Place dough in medium greased bowl. Turn dough over in bowl so that the top is also lightly greased. Cover with clean cloth and let rise in warm, draft-free place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Punch down dough. Turn dough out onto lightly floured board and knead for 4 minutes or until the bubbles are out of the bread. Divide dough into 6 equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough between your hands, making 6 ropes, about 8 inches long. Braid 3 strips together twice, making two small loaves of bread. Set braided loaves on greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise in warm, draft-free place for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Bake loaves at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes or until the bread is golden brown. Remove loaves from sheet and let cool on rack.
Bread Baking Tips:
- You can use any type of milk in this recipe: whole milk, skim, low fat, etc. Milk can also be replaced with water and nonfat dry milk.
- Add a half cup of raisins or dried cranberries to the bread dough for extra sweetness.
- Keep yeast stored in an airtight container and in the refrigerator. Heat, moisture, and air kills the yeast and prevents bread dough from rising.
- Spraying loaves with water while they bake will produce a crispy crust.
- Brush loaves with egg white before baking to produce a shiny crust.
- Brush loaves with milk before baking to produce a dark, shiny crust.
- Brush loaves with butter immediately after baking to produce a soft crust.
- Bread flour has a higher amount of gluten than all-purpose flour. This means that bread made with bread flour will rise higher than bread made with all-purpose flour. You can make your own bread flour by adding 1-1/2 teaspoons gluten to each cup of all-purpose flour you use in your bread recipe.
- Lemon and orange zest can be gathered ahead of time. Make sure to only grate off the colored part of the peel. The white part, the pith, will make the bread bitter.