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Question re orange bread made with orange peel

I would like to make a deceased relative's recipe for bread (quick bread) made with orange peel.

It says "Boil orange peel three times and pour off water." Then the instructions say to make a thick syrup with sugar and water. The syrup is then added to the batter.

I am guessing it means to bring to boil with fresh water three times. Would the purpose be to eliminate bitterness?

Thanks for any explanation someone might offer.

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  1. Boy, that's strange. If you don't get the white part when you peel the orange, it will not be bitter. I've chopped a lot of orange and lemon peel and have never had a problem with it. I can think of a single reason to do that ---- I would peel without pith, chop very finely and get on with the syrup, adding the orange peel. Really, it will be good.

    1 Reply
    1. re: dutchdot

      I'd tend to agree. My grandmother used to make marmelade, and I remember once she told me she used Fanny Farmer's recipe, which wasn't too far off the era. She used to boil the peels off of quartered oranges till they were soft enough to scrape any remaining pith from, then slice the peels. So I'd think that might not be necessary with a good rasp or even my little reliable Oxo hand grater.

    2. Thanks so much, Dutchdot, and Happy Thanksgiving!

      2 Replies
      1. re: laredo

        I agree with Dutchdot. I use my zester and have never had a problem using it without boiling. I wonder if it calls for boiling the 3x to soften the zest??

        1. re: WildSwede

          the boil 3X method is used when preparing whole (pith included) peel for making candied orange peel. Can't imagine why it is called for here. Sounds like two recipes mixed up.

      2. Laredo,

        We make this recipe every Christmas. I got it from my Grandma Fanchon Smith, nee Battey, who died at age 98 in Portland OR. Are we related?

        As to boiling the orange peel, we have always boiled and poured off fresh water three times (stirring in a counter-clockwise direction - HA!). Boiling and pouring off the water DOES eliminate the bitterness. And the final result is candied orange peel, which has a nice chewiness and is also very pretty in the slices.

        There is no orange juice in the recipe.

        I have added cardamom to the bread sometimes which goes well, and have substituted lemon peel for the orange peel on occasion.

        1. Hi, Laforce,
          Thanks for replying!
          My recipe is from Great Grandmother Harp who died in the 60's, also long-lived. She would have been born circa 1880.
          My grandmother made it, but only for special occasions. I remember it being delicate and delectable.
          The recipe calls for one egg, one cup sugar, 3 tsp. baking powder, 3 1/2 cups flour, salt and nuts, and a little butter. Is yours similar?

          Thanks to all for replying. Much appreciated.

          1. I assume I should cut the peeling into strips BEFORE boiling it? Could anyone confirm this, please?

            2 Replies
            1. re: laredo

              I would probably zest it or chop it first. However, it might be better to chop after making it candy so you don't lose any of the peel in the pouring off of the water. Yeah, I think I would candy first, chop after.

              1. re: dutchdot

                Thanks, dutchdot.
                I decided to forge ahead before you posted.
                I cut the strips in scant one-fourth inch strips and did the three boils and then made the syrup.
                I couldn't wait until the bread cooled completely to taste it. I was fairly pleased, although the crust, top, bottom, and sides was chewy, too tough. I am hoping it won't be so after being wrapped and mellowing overnight.
                The orange peel part was fine, although next time I will make slightly thinner strips.
                Thanks for your help.