2 1/2 c (350g) flour, divided, plus additional for kneading
1/4 c (50g) sugar
2 1/4 tsp (1 envelope) instant yeast
1/2 tsp salt
5 Tbls (75g) milk
1/2 c (110g) butter, divided and softened
1/4 c (60g) water
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs, room temp
In a large bowl, combine 2 cups (284g) of the flour, the sugar, the yeast and the salt. Set aside.
Put 4 tablespoons of the butter and all of the milk in a small bowl. Microwave, stirring occasionally, just until the butter melts. Allow to cool about 1 minute, then add the water and vanilla.
Pour the butter mixture into the dry ingredients and, using a spatula or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir until evenly combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring until fully incorporated before continuing. If using a stand mixer, replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook. Add the remaining 1/2 cup (71g) of flour and mix until smooth. If the dough seems to sticky, add 2-3 more tablespoons of flour. Knead until smooth, about five to ten minutes in a mixer or by hand on a well-floured surface.
Place the kneaded dough in a well-oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. In the meantime, prepare the orange paste filling (recipe follows) and oil + line a standard-size bread pan.
After the dough has risen, roll it out on a well-floured surface into a 20 x 12 inch rectangle. Spread the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter over the entire surface, then evenly sprinkle over the orange paste filling, pressing gently to adhere. Cut the dough into five 4 x 12 inch strips, then stack them all on top of each other so that you have alternating layers of dough and filling. Cut the stack into six smaller 2 X 4 inch pieces. Take the cut stacks and place them in the prepared bread pan with the just-cut 4" sides facing up. Use your fingers or a butter knife to fan out the layers a little, if necessary.
Cover the loaf pan with plastic wrap and set aside to double in bulk, about one hour. While you are waiting, preheat the oven to 350F.
Bake the loaf for 30-35 minutes until the top is golden brown. Allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then remove the loaf from the pan and allow to cool completely. Drizzle with glaze (recipe follows), if desired, and let set before enjoying.
Orange Paste Filling
1/2 c (100g) sugar
4 Tbls orange zest, from 2-3 oranges
Place the sugar and zest in a bowl and rub the sugar between your fingers until very fragrant and moist. It should resemble wet sand.
A splash of milk
Pour the milk into a bowl and sift powdered sugar over the top. Whisk to combine and add enough powdered sugar to form a thick glaze. Pour over the cooled loaf.