My long overdue post about a delicious yeast apple bread I made.
First off I love bread, quick bread is awesome, but yeast bread holds a place dear to my heart. I used to grow up eating straight plain white bread, and when the loaf ran out eating frozen slices of bread from the freezer. Homemade bread was extra special. My mom didn’t usually make it but the thick heavier slices always made my day: especially how I could tear off pieces and roll them into yummy almost doughy perfection.
Now apples are also a close friend of mine. I put down my singular lack of cavities as a child to eating apples–after all I hardly brushed my teeth. Apples though I ate every day, and the delightful red peel was the best part. Kids that hate apple peel really don’t know what they’re missing.
This recipe is a delightful union of two amazing things: yeast bread and apples.
The bread recipe I got originally from The Panera Bread Cookbook: Honey Wheat Bread. It was interesting because the bread making process includes using a starter, but strangely the overall bread making time was less than what I usually have. Further the dough was softer/lighter when I handled it. I highly recommend the book as it not only has excellent bread recipes (and recipes that use bread), it it a good resource on the bread making process.
The starter was just whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat), yeast and water.
You combine the ingredients for the starter (first dissolving the yeast into the water, then add the flour), cover and let sit for a half hour. Simple, easy peasy.
Now, the rest of the ingredients are fairly simple: water, honey, more yeast, shortening, all purpose flour, salt, the starter, and oh yeah, the apples and of course cinnamon.
I went ahead and prepped the apples while the starter was fermenting, so they would be ready to just toss into the dough at the appropriate time. I used two apples. I usually peel then dice/chop the apples, but tried this time shredding them. To which i’ll admit mixed results. The apples blended into the dough mix better than ever before, however after baking there was no noticeable apple pieces or even apple flavor. Shame right? Well, it did make a delightful moist bread. I guess if you don’t want chunks of apples, but want the nutrients shred them: after all its an easy way to sneak in some extra fruit for picky kids. If you really want some apple chunks , you can just dice the apples OR shred the two apples, and dice an extra apple. I’m inclined to the latter, but in either case an extra apple might be good. My adult critics all suggested adding more apple.
First to mix together is the water, honey, and yeast. Mix in the yeast until it dissolves. And adore my fun photo op of honey starting to pour. Sadly my phone camera just isn’t as easy to focus where I want and I didn’t get the awesome drizzle.
The you mix together the rest of the ingredients. The original recipe talks about using a stand mixer with a dough hook. For me I call that a large bowl, my hand, and a large fork. Mix until it is too difficult, then knead it on a lightly floured board until the dough is “fully developed” or has that delightful smooth texture and doesn’t tear easily when stretched.
Normally I put dough back into the bowl and let the whole thing rise there, however the recipe suggest dividing the dough into two pieces. Roll each into a smooth ball, then set on counter or in a proofing bowl to rise. And don’t forget to cover with a warm damp cloth. I couldn’t find my tea towels (turned out they were in the dirty laundry- figures of course), so I just used paper towels. The rise only takes 30 minutes (normally rises take 1 1/2 hours, though his recipe does seem to use more yeast which can also account for the shorten first rise).
After the first rise here, but before shaping/second rise I preheat the oven to 400F. Take each ball and shape into a loaf, cover and let rise for another half hour. I tried to take a picture of the loaf before and after the rise, but it wasn’t a very good shot.
Before baking the loaves score them (draw a line across the middle using a sharp knife), and spray with water. I may have neglected to spray or even brush with water because that’s me. I have since purchased a water spray bottle, awesome for making breads! It takes about 30 to 40 minutes to bake, the crust turns a delightful golden brown and when you knock on the loaf it has a hollow sound. Supposedly the middle of the loaves should be 190-200F, but I wouldn’t know I never have a cooking thermometer on hand.
Be sure to enjoy the taste of the bread. I only took one picture of it done because it was too tasty to spend a lot of photo time. Though to be honest I forgot take the photo (dove straight into the bread), then remembered right when I needed to run some errands. The bread was delightful moist and just a good cinnamon-y bread. Made delicious french toast.
Apple Honey Wheat Bread
makes 2 loaves
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 tsp yeast
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 3 tbsp honey
- 4 tsp yeast
- 1/4 cup + 1 tsp shortening
- 4 3/4 cups all purpose flour (+more as needed to get right dough consistency)
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2 tbsp cinnamon
- 2-3 apples, peeled and shredded or chopped into small pieces
To make the starter:
- Combine water and yeast in a medium/small mixing bowl, stir until the yeast is fully dissolved.
- Add flour and stir until fully combined.
- Cover and let ferment/sit for 30 minutes.
For the dough:
- Combine water, honey and yeast in a medium/large mixing bowl. Stir until yeast dissolves.
- Add shortening, flour, salt, cinnamon, apples, and starter.
- If using a stand mixer, mix on low speed with a dough hook until the dough is fully developed. Otherwise, mix with spoon until ingredients are fully combined. Turn onto a floured board and knead 5-10 minutes, adding flour if necessary so dough is not sticky, until dough is smooth to the touch and stretches when you pull a piece off.
- Divide the dough into two pieces and roll each into a ball. Set on floured counter and cover with a warm damp cloth. Let rise for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400F
- Form the dough into loaves and place into greased loaf pans.
- Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
- Score the loaf with a sharp knife, spray with water and then bake for 30-40 minutes. The loaf should be a deep golden brown and should sound hollow when knocked on top and bottom of the loaf.
- Remove from pans and let cool on a cooling rack for about half an hour. The loaf tasted delicious hot from the over, but even better after letting it cool some.