Algerian Orange Bread

Mounas

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes

    4

    small loaves

Appears in

This recipe is a combination of one in Irene and Lucienne Karsenty’s book La cuisine de pied noir and one from Joelle Roesinger as transcribed by Leone Jaffin in 150 recettes et mille et un souvenirs d’une juive d’Algérie. Instead of making round loaves, they braid it like challan to serve after the Yom Kippur fast. Gilda Angel’s version omits the orange and the seeds and adds ½ cup each raisins and toasted almonds to the basic sweet dough. At Yom Kippur, these breads may be baked in the shape of the initials of family members.

Ingredients

  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup lukewarm water
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons aniseeds
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 egg yolk, mixed with 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Method

In a medium bowl, combine the yeast, ¼ cup of the sugar, and the water. Stir in ½ cup of the flour and cover the bowl. Let rest until doubled, about 1 hour, to make a sponge mixture.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, the remaining ¼ cup sugar, the orange zest, and seeds. Stir lightly. Beat in the melted butter and the oil. Set aside and let rest while the sponge rises.

In a heavy-duty mixer fitted with a paddle, combine the sponge mixture, egg mixture, and 1 ½ cups of the flour; beat for 3 minutes. Change to the dough hook and add the remaining 2 cups flour and the salt. Knead for 5 minutes. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turn the dough to coat it, and cover with a damp cloth. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 2 hours. Divide the dough into 4 round or cylindrical loaves. Place them on baking sheets lined with lightly floured parchment paper. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Slash the top of each loaf in a few places. Glaze the loaves with the egg yolk mixture and dust with confectioners’ sugar. Bake until the loaves are golden and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool on wire racks.