A Buttery Citrus Twist Bread Any Baker Can Pull Off

Tender enriched dough is the perfect canvas for all sorts of fillings—but for Food52 Resident and baking expert Samantha Seneviratne, it’s all about the citrus.

March 22, 2021

We’ve teamed up with Miele to share a delicious project for baking pros and newbies alike: a showstopping citrus twist bread ready for breakfast, brunch, and beyond.

People often ask me, “What is your absolute favorite treat to bake?” I’ve heard plenty of other bakers bat the question around: “Oh, that’s like trying to pick my favorite child!” But not me. I give the same answer every time: anything made from an enriched dough, all the way.

A basic leavened dough starts with flour, water, and yeast; you could use those simple ingredients to make all manner of crusty breads and simple rolls. But an enriched dough is exactly as enchanting as the name implies: We add riches to this type of dough in the form of butter, dairy, eggs, and sugar. It’s the dough you would use to make fluffy cinnamon buns, rich babka, tender brioche, and the like.

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If you ask me, making an enriched dough is even better than actually eating the final result (seriously), but the process can be a bit intimidating—particularly for those newer to baking.

So I invite you to follow along with me through each floury, buttery step; you can also watch me make my go-to recipe of the moment (a dreamy citrus twist bread) in the video above. Armed with the right tips and techniques, I promise you’ll find your next baking adventure just as enriching (sorry not sorry) as I do.

Photo by Tim Morrish

1. Making the Dough

When you first mix the ingredients in a bowl they will start out looking lumpy and unkempt. As you mix the dough, you may think it will never get smooth—especially when you add the butter—but it does so quickly in the stand mixer. My tip: Make sure the butter is softened to room temperature so it incorporates more easily. If you’re working by hand, it’s helpful to use a bench scraper to scrape the surface clean as you knead. The fat and the eggs make the dough easier to work with and softer in your hands, not to mention a beautiful shade of buttercup yellow.

You’ll know the dough is ready for the first rise when it feels soft, smooth, and elastic. It might be a little bit sticky, but that’s totally fine; resist the urge to add extra flour, which can make the bread dense.

2. Proofing the Dough

The first rise can take a while. That’s because the very ingredients that make this dough so special, also slow it down. I suggest watching the dough—instead of the clock—and it will tell you when it’s ready to be folded (it should be roughly doubled in size). Let your dough rise in a cozy-warm spot, or if you’ve got a Miele Combi-Steam Oven, you can use its handy proofing setting, which sets the oven to a steamy 85°F and helps the dough rise even faster.

3. The First Fold

After the first rise you come to one of my favorite steps: punching down the dough with your hands once or twice to expel any air (it’s very satisfying). Now the dough should feel pillowy and light, like something you’d want to take a nap on. At this point, you can fill your dough or set it aside for later (more on that in a second).

4. Save the Dough for Later

The beauty of an enriched dough is that it’s actually very forgiving. At almost any point in the process, you can wrap it up tightly and put it in the fridge for later. I’ve let dough languish in the fridge for up to three days before filling and baking it with great results.

In order to make the process easier, I often wrap it up after the first rise. Then, when I’m ready for my cinnamon buns, for example, I’ll take the dough out of the fridge and work with it cold, let it do its second rise at room temperature, and then bake as usual. One thing to note: The longer the dough sits in the fridge, the more yeasty flavor it will develop, so be sure to take that into consideration (I wouldn’t recommend storing it for more than three days).

5. The Filling

I’ll usually whip up the filling while the dough is rising. Since we’re still in citrus season, I’ve been filling my enriched bread doughs with a mix of orange, lemon, and grapefruit zest; each citrus fruit adds a slightly different note, but all are just-the-right-amount sweet and pleasantly tart.

Feel free to play around here: If citrus isn’t your thing, try a classic ground cinnamon or cardamom, butter, and sugar mixture. Cocoa powder would also be an excellent addition to a simple brown sugar and butter filling. A very thin layer of your favorite jam would be nice here, too.

6. Shaping the Dough

Enriched breads are, of course, heavenly to eat, but twisting the dough also makes them beautiful to look at. The trick is to work quickly and decisively; the longer the dough sits out, the more slack it will become and more difficult it will be to work with. Also, make sure to twist with the cut sides up. The filling should stay in place, but if you lose a little don’t sweat it.

Photo by Tim Morrish

7. The Bake

Keep in mind that, during the bake, a tiny bit of the filling will melt out. As long as it doesn’t burn, I think it’s a good thing. When that happens with this citrus twist bread, it caramelizes along the bottom and adds a tasty crunch to each bite. It’s the perfect treat from start to finish, and even from top to bottom.

If you’re baking in a conventional oven, the bake should take about 20 to 30 minutes. But if you’re using the Miele Combi-Steam Oven on the convection setting, it’ll take closer to 20 minutes; I’ll also add a burst of manual steam at the beginning of the bake to give the crust an extra bit of shine.

What’s your favorite thing to make with enriched dough? Tell us in the comments!

Bake Samantha Seneviratne’s citrus twist bread to golden-brown perfection in our partner Miele’s Combi-Steam Oven. This streamlined, high-tech kitchen appliance not only gives you expertly steamed results at the touch of a button, but also has all the functions (and then some) of a traditional oven. It’s the secret to bakery-worthy bread, tender steamed fish, crispy roast vegetables, and more.

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Writer. Baker. Sticky bun maker.

1 Comment

Evelyn C. March 25, 2021
My Austrian grandmother always used to make these egg noodles or sliced thin crepes called frittaten suppe for Sunday lunch after church with sliced chives from the garden. We always put the onion skins in to colour the broth ... however, I always check to see that there's no mold between the skin and onion layer. Wash thoroughly with white vinegar and clear running water if there's any mold and then it's good to go!