Orange Bread

Unlike much of the country, Sacramento isn’t blanketed in snowy white in the dead of winter. We are blessed instead with plenty of green, with flowery shows of red and pink from camellias, and displays of bright orange and yellow from the grapefruit, lemons, kumquats, and oranges decorating the citrus trees that grow everywhere around here. Citrus season is the winter, and when nothing else seems to want to grow, we have an abundance of fruit. In fact, many of the boulevards in downtown Sacramento are lined with Seville orange trees, which anyone can pick, and which produce a sour fruit perfect for zest, marmalade, orangeade, and for baking. For this recipe I used a couple navel oranges from our tree, but truly any orange will do. It’s the zest that has the highly flavorful orange oil that you need for this quick bread.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest (or more for more intense orange flavor)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins, chopped

Optional Glaze

  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice*
  • 1 teaspoon orange juice
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar (confectioner's sugar)

*If you happen to have Seville oranges, or sour oranges, use this juice instead of the lemon juice.

Method

1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 4x8-inch loaf pan. To make it easier to remove the loaf from the pan, you may want to lay down a wide strip of parchment paper, along the length of the bottom of the loaf pan, and up the narrow sides. Butter this as well.

2 Beat the butter until fluffy, about 2 minutes on high in an electric mixer. Add the sugar and beat for an additional 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until completely incorporated after each addition. Beat in the orange zest.

3 In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

4 Add the yogurt and dry ingredients by thirds, starting with the yogurt, alternating the additions. Beat only until just incorporated. Mix in the golden raisins.

5 Immediately pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Place in middle rack of 350°F oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes*, until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

6 Cool on a rack in the pan for 5 minutes. Then remove the loaf from the pan and cool for another 10 to 15 minutes.

7 While loaf is cooling, prepare optional glaze if using. Whisk together the lemon juice, orange juice, and powdered sugar until smooth and there are no lumps. Place loaf on a serving plate. Use a toothpick or skinny skewer to poke holes in the top of the loaf and drizzle the glaze over the loaf.

*If you are using a 5x9 loaf pan, the loaf will be done earlier. Check at 40 minutes. You can use this recipe for muffins, in which case the cooking time should be 20-25 minutes.

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