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2000s Recipes + Menus

Orange and Mint Loaves

Makes2 large loaves
  • Active time:45 min
  • Start to finish:4 3/4 hr
March 2008
This bread deepens and becomes more complex in flavor and aroma the day after baking, and it is absolutely stellar when toasted. Serve it with enormous helpings of soft scrambled eggs and crisp-fried bacon or sausages for breakfast, or as a light tea bread late in the afternoon. It would also make a fantastic bread pudding. Learn how to knead the Sweet Dough by watching Richard Bertinet in our video, and then try the different variations.
  • Sweet dough made with mint-infused milk (see cooks’ note, below), risen
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon Cointreau or other orange-flavored liqueur
  • 1 large egg, beaten with a pinch of salt
  • Equipment:

    a flexible plastic bowl scraper
  • Accompaniment:

Finish preparing sweet dough:

  • Stir together zest and liqueur.
  • Gently release risen dough from bowl with scraper onto a lightly floured surface, then flatten slightly and spread with zest mixture. Fold dough in half several times, then work, slapping and stretching dough as described in sweet-dough recipe, until zest mixture is incorporated. Form into a ball and transfer to a lightly floured bowl, then cover with a kitchen towel (not terry cloth). Let rise again in a draft-free place at warm room temperature 1 hour.

Form loaves:

  • Gently release dough from bowl with scraper onto a lightly floured surface (do not punch down) and divide into 2 pieces. Form each piece into a ball. Flatten 1 ball with heel of your hand into a rectangle (about 8 by 6 inches). Fold a long edge into center and press seam down with heel of your hand. Fold opposite edge over to meet in center, pressing seam. Fold in half along seam, pressing edges to seal. Put, seam side down, on a lightly buttered large baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.
  • Brush tops of loaves with egg (chill remainder) and let stand a few minutes until egg feels dry. Cover with kitchen towel and let rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until almost doubled and feels springy when gently prodded, about 1 1/2 hours.

Bake loaves:

  • Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in middle.
  • Brush top of each loaf again with egg. Holding a pair of scissors at a 45-degree angle, make snips along top in a line down center of each loaf. Transfer to oven and immediately reduce temperature to 400°F.
  • Bake until loaves are dark golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.
Cooks’ note: To make mint-infused milk for sweet dough, bring milk (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) and 1 bunch mint to a simmer in a small saucepan, then remove from heat and let stand, covered, 1 hour. Strain through a sieve and return to saucepan (discard mint). Reheat before using per sweet-dough recipe.