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Orange Poppy Loaf

Buttermilk is a remarkably nutritious dairy product; it may not be identical to the traditional buttermilk that remains when butter is churned, but it remains a popular ingredient for baking. Buttermilk with only 1% milkfat is widely available and contains twice the calcium of evaporated skim milk. One cup of buttermilk contains 1421 mg of calcium, .36 mg iron, 1119 mg phosphorus, 1910 mg potassium, 1.05 mg niacin, .41 mg B6, and significant amounts of other nutrients as well. Buttermilk also keeps well because of its acidity, allowing you to make several loaves over a period of a couple of weeks. Recipes for biscuits, pancakes, breads, and muffins including buttermilk as an ingredient can easily be found.

1 cup all-purpose white flour

cup graham flour

cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

tsp salt

tsp cinnamon, ground

2 tbls rolled oats, lightly ground in a mortar and pestle

2 tbls poppy seeds

2 tbls orange zest

cup whole almonds, chopped

1 egg, beaten

cup granulated sugar

1 tbls honey

cup canola oil

cup orange juice

cup buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla extract or rum flavored with vanilla bean

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Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a 9 x 5 loaf pan.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, almonds, and poppy seeds. Lightly crush the rolled oats (not quick or minute oats) in a mortar and pestle and add to the dry ingredients.

Remove the zest from one medium-sized navel orange, then juice the orange to obtain roughly 2 tbls zest and cup juice. Add the zest to the dry ingredients and place the juice in a one-cup measuring cup.

Vanilla-flavored rum can be made by purchasing a vial of vanilla bean pods and removing one pod, then filling the vial with a good-quality amber rum, like Bacardi or Myers. Leave the vial in a cool dark cupboard for 1-2 weeks; yields roughly 2 tsp. The vanilla pod can be re-used for years. The second pod can be placed in the sugar canister to make vanilla sugar.
Orange Slices

In a small mixing bowl, beat the egg, then add the sugar, honey, oil, and vanilla extract (or rum). Shake the buttermilk container, then open it and add the buttermilk to the orange juice to top up the measuring cup to the one cup level. Add the juice and buttermilk to the liquid ingredients and whisk until the sugar is dissolved.

 
 

Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and stir quickly with a wooden spoon just enough to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once with a spatula during the mixing. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, scraping the bowl clean with the spatula.

Place the loaf in the center of the oven and bake at 350° F for one hour, or slightly less. Turn the loaf after half an hour, then check for doneness after another 20 minutes. When the loaf pulls away from the sides of the pan and is a rich golden brown, test with a toothpick for doneness. The tootpick should come away clean.

Allow the loaf to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack, using a clean spatula to pry gently around the sides.

Store in a tightly sealed container, wrapped in heavy foil. Keeps well at room temperature for several days, or may be frozen.

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