It was beautiful and sunny this past weekend in Georgia. The perfect weather for ripening sourdough and baking bread. I decided to take advantage of the weather to get some needed fresh air and bake this wonderful Normandy Apple Bread.
This is another one of the breads the Mellow Bakers made during February. It includes dried apples and apple cider. This bread also utilizes a stiff levain that is built in phases. This gave me time to enjoy the weekend outdoors and still bake bread.
This bread also includes some whole wheat flour which I didn’t have at the moment so I substituted some freshly ground Einkorn flour that I had just milled for the Sprouted Einkorn Bread.
This is what Einkorn flour looks like. It’s the flour on the top right of the photo. The rest of the flour is bread flour.
Normandy Apple Bread
Adapted from Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman
Makes: 2 large loaves
- 1 3/8 cups (5.8 oz) bread flour
- 1/2 cup ( 3.5.oz) water
- 2 T + 1 tsp (1.2 oz) mature culture (stiff)
- 5 1/4 cups (1 lb 7 oz) bread flour
- 1 cup Einkorn flour (or 3/4 cup (3.2 oz) whole wheat flour)
- 1 cup (7 oz) water
- 1 1/4 cups (10.9 oz) apple cider
- 1 T (.6 oz) salt
- 1 tsp (.1 oz) instant dry yeast
- Levain (I used all of the levain rather than reserving 2 T + 1 tsp. So I increased the Einkorn flour from 3/4 to 1 cup)
- 1 1/2 cups dried apples
Drying the Applies:
A couple of days before you plan to make the bread, dry the apples in the oven. Or, if you have dried apples, you can use them. I took about 3 or 4 fresh apples and peeled and sliced them.
Then I baked the apples at 250 degrees F. until they felt leathery. Drying the apples takes a couple of hours, but it was worth it. It intensifies the flavor and prevents them from releasing excess moisture into the dough.
The day before you plan to make this bread, make sure your starter has been fed. I fed mine Saturday morning and let it ripen a few hours while I enjoyed the sunshine outside. I had to adjust the hydration of my starter to make it stiff for this recipe. I did that by adding 1/2 cup of water and 1 cup of bread flour to the starter.
Saturday night, I made the final build and let it ripen on the counter until the next morning, about 12 hours. It only takes a few minutes to prepare the stiff levain so my boyfriend didn’t mind taking a few minutes to watch me do this part.
Mixing the Dough:
This is what the stiff levain looked like after 12 hours.
The next morning, add all of the ingredients to the mixing bowl, including the apple cider, but not the dried apples. Using a spiral mixer, mix the ingredients and adjust the hydration as necessary.
As I mentioned, I used all of the levain so I added more Einkorn flour to compensate. The dough should be medium consistency. Mix until you achieve a moderate gluten development.
Add the dried apples and mix on first speed just until they are evenly incorporated. It was a little bit tricky getting all of the apples mixed in, but it finally worked. I used my hands to make sure the apples were fully incorporated.
Bulk ferment the dough for 2 hours. Fold the dough after 1 hour.
Divide the dough into 1.5-pound pieces; shape round or oblong. Since I used all of the levain and additional flour, my dough weighed more than 3 pounds. I ended up with a 1.5-pound piece and a 2+ pound piece. So I shaped them and put them in 8.5” and 10.5” oval banneton baskets and let them rise for 1 1/2 hours.
After the final rise, I preheated the oven to 450 degrees F. with a baking stone on the middle shelf and a steam pan on the bottom shelf. I transferred the loaves to parchment paper and scored them down the middle.
I placed the loaves (and parchment paper) on the baking stone and spritzed the walls with water (using a spray bottle) three times during the first few minutes of baking. I baked the loaves at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes; then lowered the oven temperature to 425 to avoid excess darkening from the sugars in the apples and cider.
After the loaves finish baking, remove them to a wire rack to cool.
I actually left this bread alone all night. I covered it, but I didn’t slice it until today. It was overcast today so this bread was a nice treat.
I’m still trying to place my finger (or taste buds rather) on the flavor of the Einkorn flour. It’s hard to tell in this bread. The flavors of the dried apples and apple cider really shine through. All I know is that this bread is really good, especially warm with butter.
Thanks for joining me in the Bread Experience bread-baking blog. Please join me again soon.
Be sure to check out what the other Mellow Bakers have been baking.