Orange bread may not sound like something that one would associate with the winter months, but for me it makes perfect sense. When I was growing up, my family would escape the cold, snowy Wisconsin winters by heading south to Florida for two weeks around Christmas and New Year’s. Of course, one cannot go to Florida without bringing back loads of citrus. So, you see, I do associate January with oranges (and grapefruits, tangerines, qumquats and other citrus fruits). So, when I found this recipe in a cookbook titled, Cook’s Corner: A Cookbook for Farm Women of Wisconsin, I thought that it was perfect to start off the new year!
This particular cookbook was put together by the Home Department of the Wisconsin Agriculturist & Farmer, which was located in Racine, Wisconsin. The cookbook is dated 1957. The Wisconsin Agriculturalist is a newspaper that began in the late 1800s and, near as I can ascertain, is still in publication.
Interestingly, the recipe originally says to use orange rind instead of zest. I find this quite often in older recipes. But they really mean the zest. I just think that that is what they used to call it. My mom called it that, too. Also, I consider nuts optional in most recipes given that there are now so many people who have nut allergies. Therefore, I did not use them when I made this recipe.
The orange bread turned out to have a consistent, moist texture and a smooth, rich flavor. The raisins also add some pop to the presentation and the flavor. There is also a note at the end of the recipe stating that Mrs. Wm. Francour contributed this recipe and that it was a prize winner at the 1952 Wisconsin State Fair!
2 C flour
3 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 C butter
1 C sugar
2 T orange zest
2 T orange juice
3/4 C milk
1/2 C chopped nuts
1/2 C raisins
Sift the flour, then measure the flour and sift it with the salt and baking powder. Cream the butter, add sugar gradually and cream until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the orange zest and the juice. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk and mix. Add the chopped nuts and raisins.
Bake in a loaf pan, 9 inches by 4 1/2 inches, at 350 degrees for 1 hour.