Happy Easter! I made this sweet and tender orange-scented bread to serve for breakfast with our hard-boiled Easter eggs. The texture was similar to panettone without the dried fruit.
As an aside, I have to share a photo of my Easter cat with his catnip carrot. ❤ We are all very festive in my house!
Because I live in fear of overbaking my sweets, I was disappointed that this loaf was slightly overdone after I had already significantly reduced the baking time in the original recipe. Don’t worry! We still gobbled it up, but, I modified the recipe below. The sweet orange glaze made it a crowd-pleaser.
This recipe was adapted from King Arthur Flour. I weighed all of the dry ingredients and used vanilla and orange extract instead of Fiori di Sicilia. I also reduced the baking time and tented the loaf during baking. Pretty.
Yield: One 10-inch round loaf
- To make the bread: Mix together the starter ingredients, cover the bowl, and let rest at room temperature overnight, or for up to 15 hours.
- Next day, combine the bubbly starter with all the remaining dough ingredients. Mix and knead, using a mixer or bread machine, until the dough is elastic and satiny. We don’t recommend preparing this dough by hand, as it’s quite sticky and challenging to bring together. (I used the beater until the dough came together and the dough hook for about 7 minutes on medium speed to knead the dough.)
- Grease a large bowl and let the dough rise for 1 to 2 hours, until it’s noticeably puffy. (I used a proofing oven.)
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased surface, divide it into three pieces, and shape each piece into an 18″-long rope. Braid the ropes together, and connect the two ends to form a wreath.
- Cover the wreath and allow it to rise until puffy, about 1 to 2 hours. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 375°F, preferably on convection.
- Bake the wreath for 10-15 minutes, then tent the loaf with aluminum foil and reduce the oven heat to 350°F and bake for an additional 8-15 minutes. The finished loaf will be golden brown, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center will register at least 190°F. (I baked it at 375°F for 15 minutes, and 350°F for 10 minutes and the internal temperature of the loaf was 205°F.)
- Remove the wreath from the oven, and transfer it to a rack to cool.
- To make the glaze: Stir together the sugar and 2 tablespoons of the milk or orange juice. Add more liquid 1/4 teaspoon at a time, until the glaze is thin and pourable.
- Drizzle the glaze onto the cooled braid, then decorate with sprinkles, if desired.