Monday, September 27, 2010

Apple Cider Bread, Version 3

What happened to Version 2? You saw Version 1, but didn't see Version 2 posted? Hmmmm.... 
Well, it's like this...

We're best off skipping right past Version 2. While I was adding ingredients and adjusting the method, I somehow managed not one, but TWO massive screwups in the midst of making the bread.

Let's just say that the bread was less than perfect and not worth your reading time, and now we'll move on to something more worthy, shall we?

In this version of Apple Cider Bread, I opted for Jonathan Apples from the farmer's market. Might as well go with fresh apples and support the local economy. Size-wise, these were smaller than the Granny Smith apples that I used in the previous version. The Jonathans weighed about a quarter-pound each.

I've since heard that this is very similar to the Wegman's bread I was trying to replicate. Except, of course, that this one doesn't have golden raisins. I don't do raisins. Add a handful or two to your bread if you like them.

This apple bread adventure also spawned the Caramel Apple Bread, with a sweet swirl of dulce de leche, apples and peanuts in addition to apples in the bread itself.

In this version, I decreased the amount of apple cider, and increased the amount of boiled cider, sugar, cinnamon, and butter. I also opted to grate some of the apples. And since the grated apples added moisture, this version has a bit more flour, as well.

I also have been decreasing the size of the apple chunks with each version of the bread. Now I'm down to about a 1/4 dice.

While the larger sizes look more dramatic, the smaller chunks give a better chance that there will be a couple chunks in each slice. And I figured that the grated apples would distribute that apple flavor through the bread, rather than just those few big chunks.

This bread is a slow riser once the sugar and cider are incorporated, so while I don't normally suggest rising bread in a warm place, for this one, it's a good idea, unless you have all day to let it take its time.

Apple Cider Bread
You can almost smell the apples... What? You can't?

3/4 cups apple cider
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
4 tablespoons butter
3 Jonathan apples, about 1/4 pound each
1/4 cup boiled cider
1/4 cup sugar
13 1/2 ounces (3 cups) bread flour, divided, plus more, as needed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt

In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the apple cider and yeast and set aside.

In a medium nonstick frying pan, heat the butter on low heat to begin melting.

Peel and core the first apple and cut it into an approximate 1/4 inch dice, adding it to the pan as you cut so that the apple doesn't have a chance to start browning. Stir to coat the apples with butter. Peel and grate the next two apples, adding them to the pan quickly so the grated apple doesn't brown. Turn up the heat and cook the apples until they are cooked, but still firm. Turn the heat off and set aside.

By the time the apples are cooked, the yeast and apple cider mixture should be bubbling well. Add about half of the flour, stir to combine, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for one hour. Add the remaining flour, sugar, boiled cider, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt, and knead with the dough hook until the dough is smooth and elastic. The dough will be stiff at this point.

Add the apples along with the butter and any juice in the pan. Knead until the apples are disbursed in the dough and the dough is smooth.

Because the amount of liquid the apples will add to the dough will vary depending on your apples, you may need to add more flour to get a workable dough. Add the flour slowly. You're looking for a dough that will clean the sides of the bowl and that is no longer sticky. I needed another 1 1/2 ounces of flour to get to that point - roughly another 1/4 cup of flour.

Form the dough into a ball and place it back into the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic and set it aside in a warm place to rise until doubled, 60-90 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

When the dough has risen, form it into a tight ball, trying t keep the apple chunks encased in the dough.

Put the dough on the prepared pan, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside to rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Slash the dough as desired and bake at 325 degrees until dark golden brown, about 40 minutes. Cool completely on a rack before slicing.

 This has been submitted to Yeastspotting.


cedarglen said...

Thank you. A good update for a work in progress. Good Heavens, I understand about V.2. I too experiment with lots of things and I've learned that the Trash Can is sometimes the best option. Stuff Happens. Without some experimentation, nothing happens.

Mary Polovinuk said...

This looks fantastic...and pretty darn close to the bread I buy at Wegmans. I have bread flour & time on my hands this weekend. I think I'll give it a shot..thanks for sharing!

Donna Currie said...

Mary, the Wegman's loaf has raisins - I think golden raisins - but I'm not a big fan of raisins, so I didn't include them. If you like them, throw a handful or two into the mix.

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