This bread is a staple at my house. Along with my coconut bread, I usually have a loaf in the freezer at all times for unexpected company. The coconut bread (For some reason I've never posted that, so if you want the recipe, email me.) is my daughter's and, I was informed yesterday, my granddaughter's favorite, but personally I prefer this orange bread. Maida Heatter's of course....my dessert guru. I've said it before, but will repeat myself: I've never made a recipe of hers that failed or that I didn't like. That is really saying something.
Years ago, among her many other accomplishments, Ms. Heatter used to give cooking classes in Miami. My mother regretted for years that she never drove down to take them. This was before I lived in Florida or I would have gone with her. Mother was addicted to cooking classes, she loved them. She was a Maida Heatter fan from way back. I was indoctrinated early. :)
I prefer it toasted and in the photo below, if you look closely, you can see the bits of orange rind in it. It's what makes this bread so special. That bright orange flavor. The only other way I've served it is for tea sandwiches; add a little cream cheese between two slices, cut on the diagonal, chill them and serve. Delicious. And as with so many sweet bread recipes like this, I bet it would make marvelous French toast too.
Indian River Sweet Orange Bread
4 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 large oranges (to yield 1 1/3 cups juice)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
3 tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 350 and put a rack 1/3 up from the bottom of the oven. Butter two loaf pans (8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2) and then coat them lightly with fine, dry bread crumbs.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
With a vegetable peeler, remove the thin, bright colored outer rind of about 2 1/2 oranges and reserve it. Squeeze the oranges. You will need 1 1/3 cups juice. Set it aside.
Cut the rind into slivers. Place the rind, sugar and water into a saucepan. Stir over high heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat and let mixture boil gently without stirring for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add butter. Stir to melt. Beat the eggs lightly just to mix and stir them in. Pour this over the dry ingredients and stir until dry ingredients are thoroughly moistened.
Pour into prepared pans. Shake gently to level batter. Bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour or until a cake tester comes out dry.
Cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing to racks to finish cooling.