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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.

            2. Hello,
              I just read through this thread, and wanted to know if you could point me to the recipe you are asking a question about? It sounds similar to a bread I used to have as a little girl, but I could never find a recipe for it! Thank you.

              1 Reply
              1. re: foodrocks

                Here you go, foodrocks.

                I copied it exactly from my grandmother's recipe card. It is her mother's recipe.

                Grandmother Harp's Orange Bread Receipt

                1 1/2 cups of orange peel, boil three times, pour off water, add one cup water, one cup sugar and boil until it makes a thick syrup. Now this is ready to put in your batter, but you can put it in the refrigerator and keep until ready to use.

                1 egg, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk, 3 1/2 cups flour, 3 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup nuts ( I used 1 cup), 1 tablespoon butter.

                Mix like cake. Then add orange peel and nuts. This is good for sandwiches or to serve for breakfast.

                I baked in a 9x5 loaf pan, fifty minutes, 350 degrees. There is a small spot in the center which is a little doughy. The loaf was quite high. Next time I will make a smaller loaf as well as the 9x5. Also thinner strips by a hair, as stated above.

                I used a teflon loaf pan which I buttered. I would like to know why the crust is rather hard. Possibly it just needs to mellow a bit. My husband and I couldn't wait and ate almost half the loaf by morning, pigs that we are. He was very complimentary and commented on the nice combination of flavors.

                Please post if you try it, and good luck.

              2. I was just searching for a recipe for Orange Bread similar to what my mom made when I was a kid. With this search I added "boil" and came to this site. My grandparents would always send a box of oranges from Florida at Christmas, and Mom would save the peels until she had amassed quite a heap. Then she would put them through the meat grinder (you know the old one that you clamped onto the table, and if you were grinding cranberries it would leak and you had to put newspapers on the floor to catch the juice!) and boil the whole batch up . I know they had the pith, so this is the first recipe that takes that into account with the "boil three times" method. I can't wait to try it (now I'll have to amass the peels!). Her recipe was a pretty heavy dough, but when you toasted it up at tea time it was heavenly!

                1 Reply
                1. re: gayburr

                  My grandma's orange bread calls for whole oranges, cut into quarters and ground in the blender (peel, seeds and all) then mixed into the batter. It isn't bitter at all-makes fabulous toast.

                2. Hi, gayburr,
                  I am interested in your version! Please try it and post the recipe.
                  I have my grandmother's aunt's grinder, the kind you mention, but thank goodness for good processors! I haven't ever used it.
                  How much ground orange peel does your recipe call for?
                  I have found that two medium oranges produces the right amount of peel. When I use an orange, I cut the peel into strips and freeze it. That works fine. I recently boiled the frozen peel and then froze that, and it turned out to be a bit watery, so I had to blot it several times. Otherwise, worked OK.
                  I have been experimenting with a no-sugar cranberry nut bread to which I had a cup of boiled (not in sugar) peels and my diabetic friends say they really like it.
                  Best wishes with your bread!