A year ago I posted my White Chocolate Orange Zest Bread recipe for Mother’s Day, but this bread is equally perfect for Easter, or really any weekend. Make a few loaves and enjoy it for several days – it is delicious on its own and fantastic as french toast or in bread pudding. It also is a perfect bread to bring to an Easter brunch or lunch, and you can easily add pastel Easter sprinkles or coloring to the glaze for any Easter celebration. Enjoy!
WHITE CHOCOLATE ORANGE ZEST BREAD
I use a standing Kitchen Aid mixer to mix the dough.
Reconstitute yeast in 8 oz of the water, tempered to warm. Hydrate the milk powder in the remaining water. Blend butter, salt and sugar with the paddle attachment of the mixer. Add eggs in stages, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the mixer after each addition. Add yeast solution and milk solution, and extracts and zest, and mix one minute on low. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Melt the white chocolate and add. Mix well. At this point the mixture will be mostly liquid.
Add the flour in increments to mix well. If using a Kitchen Aid mixer, use the bowl cover to keep flour from escaping the bowl. Change to the dough hook and develop the dough. The dough will be ready once it pulls cleanly away from the side of the bowl, although this is a wetter dough.
The dough will need to proof overnight in a bowl or container coated with non-stick cooking spray. You can either transfer the dough to a new bowl, or lift the dough from the mixing bowl, spray the mixing bowl, and replace the dough.
Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight.
The next day, take the dough from the refrigerator and place on a lightly floured surface. If you are making one large boule, lightly flour your hands and shape the dough into one large ball. You also can evenly divide the dough for 2 small boules, portion 2 ounce balls for rolls, or divide the dough into thirds to make a braided bread.
Lightly cover the shaped round(s) with plastic wrap and let them rest for about 20 minutes on a parchment paper covered tray.
After resting, roll the round(s) into boule shapes (or smaller rounds for rolls whatever you desire) and place the round(s) onto a parchment lined baking sheet. You also can roll the balls out into longer strands to make a braided bread. Once you have the braided bread, you also can roll the braid around itself to make a braided loaf.
Spray the round(s) with a light mist of water and cover with plastic wrap. Let the round(s) proof at room temperature for about 60-70 minutes. The round(s) will appear “puffed” when ready for baking.
Brush the tops of the round(s) with egg wash (2 eggs, 1 egg yolk, and 1 tsp of water) and place in the oven to bake.
Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown. Baking times will vary depending on the size of the round(s) and your particular oven. Check at 20 minutes. If the dough is browning too quickly, reduce the temperature by 20 degrees. Continue baking until the bread is a nice golden brown.
Once finished baking, remove from the oven and sheet pan and allow to cool on a wire rack.
Once the bread has cooled, you can add the glaze if desired. You can add a plain glaze (using milk as your liquid), or an orange zest glaze. You also can vary the thickness of your glaze by adding more or less confectioner’s sugar. It is best to place the bread on a wire rack over a parchment paper covered tray – you can then reuse any glaze that drips off the bread. It also makes clean up so much easier!
Enjoy within a day or two, wrapping in plastic to avoid drying out.