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Orange-Spiced Fruit Bread

January/February 2009

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Orange zest, aniseed and allspice, along with honey, lend this full-bodied fruit bread an intriguing flavor. The medley of three dried fruits gives it a chewy texture, eye-catching color and healthful fiber. For a festive look, the bread is baked in a tube pan: a 10-cup Bundt, Kugelhopf or other pan with a center tube and decorative shape is ideal. This bread is nice as a snack or, when drizzled with the sugar glaze, as a dessert or fine companion to tea. Recipe by Nancy Baggett for EatingWell.


Orange-Spiced Fruit Bread Recipe

Makes: 1 large loaf, 14 slices

Active Time:

Total Time:

Ingredients

Bread

  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried figs
  • 2 cups unbleached bread flour, (see Note) or unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
  • 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon aniseed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons instant, quick-rising or bread-machine yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons table salt
  • 1 1/4 cups ice water, (see Tip), plus more as needed
  • 6 tablespoons clover honey, or other mild honey
  • 1/4 cup mild molasses, (not blackstrap)
  • 2 tablespoons corn oil, canola oil or other flavorless vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest

Soaking Syrup

  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons clover honey, or other mild honey

Optional Glaze

  • 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 2-3 teaspoons orange juice

Preparation

  1. Mix dough: Soak raisins, cranberries and figs in hot water for 10 minutes; drain well and let cool to barely warm. Thoroughly stir 2 cups bread (or all-purpose) flour, whole-wheat flour, aniseed, allspice, yeast and salt in a 4-quart (or larger) bowl. Thoroughly whisk 1 1/4 cups ice water, honey, molasses, oil and orange zest in a medium bowl. Vigorously stir the honey mixture and drained fruit into the dry ingredients, scraping down the sides and mixing just until the dough is thoroughly blended. The dough should be moist and somewhat sticky, but fairly stiff. If the mixture is too dry, stir in just enough additional ice water to facilitate mixing, but don’t overmoisten. If the dough is too wet, stir in just enough flour to stiffen slightly. Lightly coat the top with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
  2. First rise: Let the dough rise at room temperature (about 70°F) for 12 to 18 hours; if convenient, stir once partway through the rise. For convenience (and improved flavor), you may refrigerate the dough for 3 to 12 hours before starting the first rise.
  3. Second rise: Coat a 10-cup Bundt pan (or similar pan with a center tube) with oil. Vigorously stir the dough to deflate it. If it is soft, stir in just enough bread (or all-purpose) flour to yield a firm but moist dough (it should be fairly hard to stir). Transfer the dough to the pan. Lightly coat the top with oil. Smooth out and press the dough evenly into the pan with oiled fingertips or a rubber spatula; if the dough springs back and is resistant, let it rest for 10 minutes, then proceed. Cover with plastic wrap.
  4. Let rise at warm room temperature until the dough is about 1 inch below the pan rim (of a 10-cup pan) or until an indentation stays when pressed into the dough (if a larger pan is used), 1 1/4 to 2 1/2 hours. (For an accelerated rise, see Tip.)
  5. 15 minutes before baking: Position a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 350°F.
  6. Bake, cool: Bake the loaf on the lower rack until lightly browned and a skewer inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs on the tip (or until an instant-read thermometer registers 204-206°), 60 to 70 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. To prepare soaking syrup: Combine orange juice and honey in a small bowl. Brush about half the syrup over the top of the loaf. When it’s fully absorbed, run a knife around the tube to loosen the loaf and invert onto the rack, set over wax paper. Brush with the remaining syrup. Let cool thoroughly.
  8. To prepare glaze: If desired, combine confectioners’ sugar with orange juice in a small bowl to make a thick, slightly fluid glaze. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled loaf and leave uncovered until the glaze sets, about 30 minutes.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Wrap airtight and keep at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months. | Equipment: 10-cup Bundt (or similar) pan
  • Note: Milled from high-protein wheats, bread flour develops strong gluten, resulting in well-risen loaves. It helps give breads with a high percentage of whole grains better structure and a lighter texture. Find it near other flours in most supermarkets.
  • Tips: To prepare “ice water” for this recipe, add a heaping cup of ice cubes to cold water and stir for about 30 seconds before measuring out the water.
  • You can turn your microwave into a warm, moist environment to help accelerate the second rise of the bread dough. Begin by microwaving 1/2 cup water in a 1-cup glass measure just to boiling. Set the water in one corner of the microwave, place the pan of dough on the other side of the turned-off microwave and close the door. The dough will double in size in 45 minutes to 11/2 hours.

Nutrition

Per slice: 232 calories; 3 g fat (0 g sat, 1 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 50 g carbohydrates; 5 g protein; 3 g fiber; 214 mg sodium; 256 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Folate (16% daily value).

Carbohydrate Servings: 3

Exchanges: 3 starch



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