Braided Orange-Nut Loaf

Braided Orange-Nut Loaf

If you can make bread, you can braid bread! You might be intimidated at first by the look of this amazing loaf, but it’s so easy to put together. Impress your family and friends with a super satisfying blend of oranges, walnuts and pecans. It might take some time, but this recipe is really going to show off your moves.

YIELDS

1 large loaf

PREP TIME

2 hours 30 minutes

COOK TIME

25 to 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS

For the Loaf

  • ⅓ cup (80 ml) milk, warmed to 110-115ºF (43-45ºC)
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) honey
  • 2 tsp (6 g) active dry yeast
  • 1 ¾ cups (219 g) bread flour
  • 1 ⅓ cups (166 g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp (3 g) salt
  • ½ cup (113 g) butter, room temperature
  • Fliptop Vase with Granulated Sugar ⅓ cup (67 g) Redpath® Granulated Sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) orange juice, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp (12 g) orange zest, finely grated
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) pure almond extract

For the Orange Walnut-Pecan Filling

  • ½ cup (56 g) raw walnut pieces
  • ½ cup (54 g) raw pecan pieces
  • Golden Yellow Sugar ½ cup (109 g) Redpath® Golden Yellow Sugar, firmly packed
  • Cinnamon Sugar Shaker 1 tsp (3 g) ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp (1 g) ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp (2 g) salt
  • ⅓ cup (76 g) butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 3 tbsp (45 ml) orange juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 tbsp (12 g) orange zest, finely grated
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) dark rum
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) water

For the Garnish

  • 1 tbsp (7 g) raw walnut pieces, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp (7 g) raw pecan pieces, roughly chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

How to Prepare

  1. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the warmed milk with honey, stirring to combine. Stir in the active dry yeast. Allow to sit for a few minutes, until mixture becomes foamy.                                        
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the bread flour, all purpose flour and salt. Set aside until needed.                           
  3. Meanwhile, in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and the Redpath® Granulated Sugar until well-combined; about 2 minutes. On medium speed, add the egg and yolks, one at a time, beating until well-incorporated before adding another.                                       
  4. While the mixer is running on medium-low speed, slowly pour in the orange juice. Add in the orange zest as well as the vanilla and almond extracts. The mixture may separate, but it will come together once the flour is introduced.
  5. Blend in the yeast mixture.   
  6. On low speed, add the flour about 1 cup (120 grams) at a time.
  7. Once all the flour has been added, switch to the dough hook attachment. Knead on medium-low speed until dough starts to come together; about 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium and knead until dough pulls away and cleans the mixing bowl. The dough should be soft and smooth.  
  8. Remove dough from the bowl and knead on a lightly floured surface. Transfer the ball of dough into a lightly greased or oiled bowl, turning over the dough to grease the top. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm, draft-free location, until the dough has doubled in size.                      
  9. While the dough is rising, prepare the Walnut-Pecan Orange Filling.

How to prepare the Filling

  1. Preheat oven to 300℉ (150℃). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and spread the walnut and pecan pieces out into a single layer.
  2. Place nuts into the preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until nuts are fragrant and lightly toasted. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Increase oven temperature to 350℉ (175℃).
  3. In the bowl of a food processor, fitted with the metal blade, place cooled nuts, Redpath® Golden Yellow Sugar, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Pulse several times until nuts are finely ground and well-combined with the sugar and spices.  
  4. Add in the melted butter, orange juice, orange zest, dark rum and vanilla extract. Process until thoroughly combined. Set aside. 

For the Egg Wash

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water.

How to assemble the Braided Orange-Nut Loaf

  1. On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough out into a 24 x 10 inch (60 x 25 centimetre) rectangle, with the longer edge parallel to the edge of the work surface.
  2. With a rubber spatula, carefully and evenly spread the filling onto the dough. Leave about 1 inch (2.5 centimetres) of empty space on the longer edges.
  3. Lightly brush the edge furthest away from the edge of the work surface with water.
  4. Carefully roll the dough, towards the dampened edge, into a log. Press down slightly to seal the dampened edge of the dough.
  5. Gently roll the log, back and forth, until even in size - the rope will be approximately 2 inches (5 centimetres) in diameter and 24 inches (60 centimetres) in length.  
  6. Place the rope, covered in plastic wrap, into the fridge to rest and chill; about 10 minutes. This will make it easier to slice.
  7. With a sharp chef’s knife, divide the dough evenly into three equal pieces - approximately 8 inches (20 centimetres).
  8. Pinch together the open ends.
  9. Cover and place into the fridge to rest; about 10 minutes. With a rolling pin, making sure the seam side is down, roll each log into a long narrow oval roughly 14 inches (35 centimetres) long and about 1 1/2 inches (4 centimetres) in width.
  10. Twist each flattened log into a rope.
  11. Pinch the 3 ends together and braid the three twisted ropes together. Tuck the ends underneath.                               
  12. Place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Set in a warm, draft-free location to rise, until doubled in size; about an hour.
  13. Lightly brush loaf with the egg wash, and sprinkle the walnut and pecan pieces over the loaf.
  14. Place into the preheated oven. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the internal temperature reads 190℉ (85℃) when a thermometer is inserted into the centre of the loaf.
  15. Take out of the oven and carefully transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

CHEF'S TIP

  • Substitute almonds, hazelnuts, or any desired nut for the walnuts or pecans.
  • The dark rum can be replaced with rum extract. However, additional orange juice, brandy or whiskey can work, as well.