Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Not a Joke - 'True' Apple Bread

I have touched on this subject before when trying to show the difference between cake and bread. I have also debated whether I should even include quick breads in the blog postings, are they cake or bread. Basically the same argument. And truly, the argument that they are baked in a loaf and eaten in slices seems like stretching it a bit - even to me. And I'm the one making the case. I should definitely stick to baking and stay away from lawyering (for lots of reasons, but that's another story for another time, maybe). But this apple bread, that I'm posting today, is truly bread, not some pseudo-bread-like loaf. It uses yeast, and rises!! So it's bread. Just look at the picture, is that a cake?

This bread makes a free-standing loaf of wonderfully textured, soft, yet firm, sandwich bread. It is flavored with fresh apples and cinnamon making it perfect for breakfast (it's great toasted, for example) or picnics, or even afternoon tea. Oh, and it's actually not difficult to make.

Here's What You'll Need: (one 23 by 13cm, or 9 by 5in loaf pan)
1/2 Tbs. instant yeast
1 Tbs. light brown sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup warm milk (I used soy milk to avoid dairy)
3 to 3 1/4 cups AP flour
1 large tart apple peeled, cored and chopped coarsely
1/4 cup dried currants (or raisins)
1.4 cup chopped walnuts
1 Tbs. oil
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/2 Tbs. salt

Here's What You'll Need To Do:
1. In a large bowl (or the bowl of a mixer) combine the yeast, water, milk, sugar and 1 cup of the flour. Mix to form a slurry, then cover and let it sit, at room temperature, for about an hour.

2. Add the apple, currants (or raisins), walnuts, oil, egg, spices and enough flour to make a soft, slightly sticky dough. Knead for about 5 minutes in a mixer (or 10 by hand), adding flour as needed, to form a very smooth and slightly tacky dough.

3. Let the dough rise in a covered, lightly-oiled container until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

4. Gently deflate the dough, form it into a loaf, then place it in an oiled loaf pan. Cover to let it rise again about an hour. About 20 minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 200 C (about 400 F).

5. Place the bread int he oven, reduce the heat to 180 C (350 F) and bake for about 30 minutes or until well browned. It will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Cool on a rack completely before slicing.

6. This bread freezes well (double wrapped) and will be good for several months. But honestly, will it make the freezer? I don't think so.

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