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.
- 2 cups sifted flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup orange juice
- ¾ 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.
This sounds great, but a question. How on earth are you supposed to “cream” just two tablespoons of butter into a whole cup of sugar? What is the texture of that mixture like before you add the wet and dry ingredients? Thanks!
I was in the mood to bake, and got here through foodgawker, and was inspired to make this. Turned out awesome!
I added about half a tbsp of Almond Butter and about two tbsp of cream cheese and creamed it with the butter and sugar. And instead of water used buttermilk. I know it defeats the ‘healthy’ angle, but it turned out great! Scent, texture, flavor… everything superb. Will make again for sure! Thank you!!
Emily – In a mixer, the texture is pretty coarse after creaming the butter and sugar, like big grainy lumps of sugar instead of a smoother mix. It’s mainly to get the butter into a pliable state, even if it’s just two tablespoons. I hope you enjoy the recipe!
Jul – Thanks! I’m so glad you liked the bread. Almond butter seems like a great addition. Healthy wasn’t my motivation for making and posting this (the flavor and texture were much more important) so it’s great you found substitutes that still resulted in a great loaf of bread!
It is in the oven right now and I’m waiting in anticipation!! I had started sifting the dry ingredients and creamed the butter and sugar then realized I didn’t own a zester… I spent a good 30 minutes using a crappy cheese grater trying to get enough orange zest while my sister’s boyfriend ran to cub to try and find one but they only had everything but that… it looks really good though and I am super excited to try it. I made honey butter yesterday and saw this recipe on foodgawker and thought it would be delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe!!
Emily – Yikes! Well, still great to hear that you’re trying it out as we speak. The honey butter sounds like a great topper!
The title of this post is absolutely true! This orange bread was definitely the BEST orange bread I’ve ever had… Can’t wait to eat it again
Love your blog! I made this and it is wonderful! I added some vanilla and full fat yogurt to replace some of the hot water. Amazing. I made French toast with it this morning and it was one of the best things I’ve ever made!
Barb – Thanks! Don’t worry, I’ll definitely bake it again soon.
Dede – Using yogurt is a great idea. Maybe I’ll try that next time too.
This looks delish! Do you sift the flour before measuring or after measuring? Thanks.
Khadijah – Thank you! You sift the flour before measuring. Hope you enjoy the recipe!
Very, very good!
Thank you for the recipe. Used pulp left over from juicing oranges in it. Very, very good!
I used this orange bread recipe 5 times already! The kids love it. And I like it because it’s not too heavy. Passing it on to my sisters too.