Pomme Profusion Part II: Apple Bread

17 Sep

117 apples

In my last, I mentioned that my partner, Nina, and I had procured three large canvas totes full of the first apples.  If you’ve been keeping up, you may have started to notice a theme.  August, 2007, Nina came home from the farmer’s market with three garbage bags full of tomatoes from a farmer who had had a really really good year.  At the time, I was outraged.  What were we going to do with that many tomatoes?!  Three years later we’re still eating the preserves.

Seeing Nina’s food masses find their homes in sauces, salsas, jams, and jars, my scruples have been mollified, even if not wholly erased.  Indeed, I have watched myself these past weeks using food – shopping, price-comparison, farm stand visiting, cooking, baking – as a way of making myself comfortable here in Canada.

Which brings us to the ten-dozen apples we picked on Sunday: way too many for a two-person household to consume.  After all, an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but seven apples daily gives you a stomach ache (to which Zoe can attest!).

By now, thanks to Nina’s prodigious saucing (thanks, Zoe, for your apple sauce recipe!), some general snacking, and a gift of thirteen apples to our new landlords (who responded in kind the next day with a bag of tomatoes from their garden!), we’ve whittled down our stock to precisely fifty apples.

Fifty apples is still too many, so here’s attempt number four at
turning pomme profusion into pomme perfection.

With the autumn weather – yesterday was crisp and sunny with a temperature of 69 degrees F; today it’s raining – it’s starting to feel like sweater and baked goods time.  This put me in the mood for apple bread.  Warm, spongy and not too sweet…the perfect conduit for cinnamon sugar (or apple butter – tomorrow’s project!).

I based my bread on a recipe from the Tassajara Bread Book, which calls for yeast. I’d never worked with yeast before, but this recipe was so easy that I found it no obstacle.  Caution: This bread does require a time investment of about 2.5 hours.  A great project for multitasking (blog writing, for example!).

My adaptations: I substituted 1/2 c. sunflower seeds for 1 c. walnuts, and 1 T. lemon peel for 2 T. orange peel, because that’s what we had.  I also added 2 t. powdered ginger, because it put me in the mind of my mom’s gingerbread, which makes me feel cuddled and warm.

Apple Nut Loaf
Adapted from the recipe in the Tassajara Bread Book

1. Warm 1/2 c. sweet apple cider till it’s lukewarm and stir in 2 T. dry yeast.  This softens the yeast and “wakes it up.”

wake up, yeasties!

2. Mix together 1 c. honey, 1/2 c. oil (I used Walnut oil, which offers a mellow flavor, but any vegetable oil will work.  Steer clear of olive oil, which has an incompatible flavor.), 4 beaten eggs, 2 t. vanilla extract, and 1-2 T. finely chopped citrus peel.

3. Mix in the yeast mixture, and then add 4 c. grated apples (including skins).  I found that each apple made about 1 cup grated.

one apple yeilds about one cup grated

4. Mix in 4 c. whole wheat flour, or, if you want a lighter bread, use 2 c. whole wheat and 2 c. unbleached white flour.

5. Mix in nuts and spices of your choice.  Tassajara recommends any nut except peanut, as well as 1 T. cinnamon, 1 T. allspice and 1 t. nutmeg.  I used 1/2 c. sunflower seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg and 2 t. ground ginger.

6. Pour the mixed batter into two oiled loaf pans and let them rise for one hour.  Heat the oven to 350-375.

Bread batter pre-rise. Your batter should reach the top of the pans in one hour.

7. Once the loaves have had time to rise, put them in the heated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, checking during the last 15 minutes to see if the upper crust is a toasty brown color.

8.  Cool and eat!  Not too sweet, super moist and flavorful, perfect for a breakfast solo with coffee and the news, or as a pre-meal snack with friends.

71 apples down: 46 apples to go!

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4 Responses to “Pomme Profusion Part II: Apple Bread”

  1. Robin September 18, 2010 at 7:34 pm #

    Looks really, really fine! now I need to find some apple cider…. ginger we have. Could I use fresh? Here’s to fall and nesting and grand smells of comfort in the kitchen!!

    • Bec September 18, 2010 at 11:29 pm #

      Here here! If I were to do this bread again, I would nix the citrus peel, and add 1/2 c. brown sugar. That’s my sweet tooth for you! Maybe fresh ginger in place of citrus peel and molasses instead of brown sugar?? I dunno.

  2. Zoe September 23, 2010 at 11:52 pm #

    That yeasty sponge looks divine. I’m working on a sourdough starter right now, which is fun and tres difficile!

  3. liz October 12, 2010 at 9:34 pm #

    Delicious!

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