While the name apple bread is often used for sweet apple loaf cakes, I’ve tested a few proper apple bread recipes recently – not cakes, not strudels but breads. It’s been a great success so come with me on my journey of awesome apple bread discoveries!
Apple & Rolled Oat Bread
The first recipe I tried is from this excellent book by Dan Lepard: The Handmade Loaf.
The apples are finely grated and added to the dough right at the beginning. Although fairly inconspicuous in the final loaf, the grated apples make this a very juicy and fine loaf of bread which is equally suitable for the breakfast table as it is for a rustic afternoon snack.
Normandy Apple Bread
Next up: A beautiful recipe by Jeffrey Hamelman (from his book Bread) for a French loaf of bread with dried apples and apple cider. Using dried apples “intensifies their flavour and at the same time prevents them from releasing excess moisture into the dough.”
Here are some snaps of my dried apple slices and the final product.
The dried apples add a certain level of sweetness to the bread. Very nice with just butter and a cup of tea.
Apple & Pecan Focaccia
Finally, a sweet apple focaccia recipe by Nigel Slater, using fresh apple slices which are added - alongside the pecan nuts - to the dough after the first prove.
This focaccia is BEAUTIFUL – not too sweet, but sweet enough to qualify as dessert bread. I’ll be adding this to my list of regular bakes!
- 450g strong white bread flour
- 7g dried yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 350g water, warm
- 3 large sweet apples
- 100g shelled pecans
- 100g maple syrup
How to bake it
- Combine all ingredients except apples, pecans and maple syrup in a large bowl.
- Lightly knead the dough for 5 mins.
- Shape the dough into a ball and place it back in the bowl.
- Cover the bowl with clingfilm and keep it in a warm place for about 1 hour.
- In the meantime, peel, core and slice the apples, then knead the apple slices and most of the pecans into the dough (keep a few pecans for the top).
- Put the dough into a round cake form lined with baking paper (the one I used was 23 cm diameter).
- Set the oven at 220°C/gas mark 7.
- Cover the tin with a clean kitchen towel and leave to rise for another hour.
- Just before baking, trickle a little olive oil over it.
- Put the loaf in the hot oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown and crisp on top.
- Drizzle maple syrup over the top and let it soak in.
- Leave the bread to cool on a wire rack.
I think it’s fair to say that I’ve become a fan of apple breads. So next time you think ‘apple bread’, think again and bake the proper stuff