I’ve often heard people say that their least favourite months of the year are November and February. Myself, I’ve always had a challenge with March. Granted there are some highlights like my mother’s birthday and the gentle promise of spring, but overall, for me it’s always a bit of a tricky month to get through.
When it came time to choose the Flavour of the Month, I knew that it would have to be somthing comforting. Almost immediately my eyes fell on Beth Hensperger’s Bread for Breakfast. This charming book has sat on my bookshelf for quite some time, unused and neglected. I took the book down and within a few moment, I knew that I’d found the cookbook that I wanted to focus on in March.
Beth Hensperger is an accomplished writer and cookbook author. She’s probably best known for her cookbook The Bread Bible, which won a James Beard Award. I own several of Hensperger’s cookbooks and have always enjoyed them. While I haven’t tried a lot of recipes, the ones that I have tried have always been successful.
I chose this particular cookbook because it’s full of the sort of recipes I imagine myself enjoying on lazy mornings when I have lots of time to sit and enjoy my coffee. Since March is typically a month where I almost never have the time to do this, I figured I might as well live vicariously through Hensperger’s book.
Unbelievably, it’s already March 12th so I suppose it’s time to get down to business. I’ve mentioned before how I often have trouble eating all the bananas I buy and I found myself in a similar position with some oranges. I’d bought some last week with the intention of enjoying one every day but suddenly found myself with a basket full of uneaten oranges. Flipping through Bread for Breakfast, I found myself drawn to a recipe for Orange Bread. Not only would I be able to use some of the beautiful oranges I bought, but I’d get to knead bread dough, always a blissful experience.
This particular bread is an excellent one, especially for someone who is just starting out baking bread. While the dough can easily be made in a mixer, it can just as easily be made by hand. The ingredients are few (yeast, flour, milk, orange juice and zest, melted butter and egg) and the time it takes to make the bread is relatively short. After letting the yeast bloom for about ten minutes, another ten or fifteen minutes of mixing results in a lovely dough. An initial rise of one and a half hours is followed by the shaping of the dough. The recipe doesn’t require bread pans, you can simply shape the dough into two round loaves. Another forty five minutes of rising time is followed by about forty minutes in the oven.
The end result is two wonderfully fragrant and golden loaves. We especially loved the bread toasted with butter and jam. Because I only tried this recipe once, I won’t post the recipe since I didn’t adapt it in any way, but I’m already looking forward to trying many of the other recipes in Bread for Breakfast.
Work has kept me out of the kitchen for too long. This beautiful Orange Bread was the perfect welcome back!