Candied Orange and Cardamom Bread

This is a multi-step recipe and it’s kind of a long process on account of the candied orange peels–not as long as making croissants–but in the end you’ll have a fluffy, sweet loaf with pockets of zesty orange and the warm and fragrant scent of cardamom wafting across your kitchen. Who doesn’t want that?

Do note that this recipe produces a very sticky dough. That shouldn’t be a problem if you’re using a standmixer, but if kneading by hand, invest in a dough scraper to make picking up the dough easier. The biggest challenge will be the temptation to add more flour. Just don’t do it! As you knead, the flour will eventually absorb the water and the gluten structure will develop, leading to a more manageable dough. If the stickiness really does get to you, just flour your hands in-between handling the dough.

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Candied Orange and Cardamom Bread

  • Servings: 1 9x5-inch loaf pan or 2 smaller pans
  • Print

Recipe adapted from Andrew Whitley‘s Basic Sweet Bun Dough in Bread Matters: The State of Modern Bread and a Definitive Guide to Baking Your Own.

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The Ferment

5 tsp / 20 g Brown Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Active dry yeast / 10 g Fresh yeast
1 1/4 cups / 280 g Milk or spice-infused milk (at about 90 F)
1 cup + 1 1/2 tbsp / 140 g White Bread flour or Strong All-purpose flour

Dissolve sugar and yeast in the milk. Gradually add the liquid to the flour, whisk until smooth. Leave the ferment covered in a warm place until it has risen and then “dropped.” This should take about one hour or less, depending on the temperature of your room.

Basic Sweet Bun Dough

450 g  Ferment
2 cups / 250 g All-purpose flour or White Bread flour
3 1/2 tbsp / 50 g Butter, cubed and slightly chilled 
3 tbsp / 35 g  Granulated Sugar
1 Egg
1 tsp Salt

Optional:

1/2 of Candied orange peels (recipe below)
1/2 to 1 tsp Ground Cardamom

  1. Mix the ferment, flour, cardamom, sugar, salt and egg together to form a loose and shaggy dough.
  2. If kneading with standmixer: Attach the dough hook and knead the dough at low speed for 2 minutes. Add the butter one tablespoon at a time. Once all the butter has been incorporated, increase the speed to medium and knead the dough until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Stop as frequently as needed to check on the dough to make sure it doesn’t get over-kneaded.
    If kneading by hand: Tip the dough unto a clean work surface. With the help of a dough scrapper, pick up the dough off the counter and fold it over itself, use the other hand to knead. After two or three folds, squish all of the butter into the dough. Use both hands to knead for about 15 minutes, until the dough becomes smooth, pliable and elastic.
  3. Towards the end of the kneading process, fold and press in the orange peels until evenly distributed. Give the dough a poke, if the indentation fills ups quickly, it’s ready for the next stage.
  4. Shape the dough into a ball and return to the bowl. Cover with a big plastic bag and let rise in a warm space until doubled in size, about one hour.
  5. Once risen, gently deflate the dough and tip unto a work surface again. Shape into a loaf or any shape you like. Place into a prepared pan and carefully brush the top with a beaten egg. Cover with a loose plastic bag (make sure the dough doesn’t stick to it!), and proof in a warm place until it has risen significantly again. Test to see if the dough is ready by gently pressing a finger into it. If the dough feels a little fragile and gives in and doesn’t bounce back up, it is ready for the oven.
  6. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 F until golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes.

(If like me, you forgot to add the orange peels, simply roll out the dough after the first rise, sprinkle the fruits in and roll as you would a cinnamon bun before shaping it into a loaf.)

The Extra Stuff

Spiced Milk

2 cups / 300 g milk
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
5 cardamom pods
3 cloves

Combine milk and spices in a small sauce pan. Bring milk to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes until fragrant. Strain the milk and let cool slightly before using it for the ferment. If you find that too much milk has evaporated, simply add more liquid to the spiced milk and top to 280 g to make the ferment.

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Candied Orange Peels
Can be made ahead

Adapted from BBC Good Food

Peels from 1 orange, julienned
1 /2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water

Put the peels in a pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 30 minutes. Set a sieve over a bowl and drain the peel, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Add 1/2 cup of sugar to remaining water. Pour into a pan and gently heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the peel and simmer for 15 minutes until translucent and soft. Leave to cool in the syrup, then remove with a slotted spoon and arrange in 1 layer on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Air dry for about 4 hours OR put in the oven at the lowest setting for 30 minutes. Once dried, store the peels in a airtight container. It will keep for 4-6 weeks.

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