cider and apple bread
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Whatever can you do with apples? Tempt your fella out of the Eden for starters. Pies, tartes Tatin, strudels. Stuffing for a porchetta or a roast duck. Toffee apples, cinnamon apples, dried apples. MacBook Air and iPhone 7. Applesauce and apple chutney. Waldorf salad, turnovers and crumble. Appletiser and Martinelli’s. You can keep the doctor away and make shrunken heads.
And of course, of course – make booze. Cider, wine (apparently so) and calvados.
I’ve never had apple wine, but I’m not sure who would want it if they can get grape stuff. It’s like you wanted to eat bread made out of disgusting grains like quinoa if you can have tasty wheat (what?).
I don’t drink cider much and whenever I try it, it’s hideously sweet. People tell me there exists dry cider but I suspect it’ll be cidre and I’ll have to go across the Channel to taste it.
Calvados is nice and comforting, especially on a snowy night in the ski resort. It’s cider distilled into brandy so you can’t drink too much of it. Or rather you shouldn’t. Or the next morning on the slopes is going to be a Really Hard Slog…
And so, to combine the booze and the cooking with apples and to throw it into bread, of all things, sounds like a natural course of things. They allegedly came up with this bread in Normandy, NYT Cooking has posted the recipe but I think anyone could do it: just have a drop of cider (or calvados) and decide you’ll chuck all those apples into the bread do, for a prank. And not a bad result, frankly. Tchin Tchin!
cider and apple breadServings: 1 large loafTime: 3-4 hours plus overnight fermentation
- 250g (2 cups) wholemeal flour
- 175g (1 1/3 cup) strong white bread flour
- 75g (2/3 cup) dark rye flour
- 13g (1 ¾ tsp) fine sea salt
- 15g fresh or 1 ½ tsp instant yeast
- 415g (1 ½ cup) apple cider at room temperature
- 165g green apples (1 large Granny Smith apple), peeled and finely diced
This method makes the dough the night before the baking for an 8 hour or longer cold fermentation.
Mix the flours in a large bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer, add the salt and crumble in the yeast. Pour in the cider and mix to rough dough with a spoon or with a dough hook attachment on a standing mixer. Now continue in the standing mixer or turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead by hand. It will take about 10 minutes in the mixer and 15 or thereabouts by hand. In both cases aim at the dough to become smooth and bouncing off the sides of the bowl – or stop sticking to your hands. Cover the dough in the bowl with cling film and place in the fridge for 8 – 12 hours.
Remove the bowl from the fridge first thing and bring it to room temperature – it will take about 2 hours. Turn it out onto a floured surface and flatten it with floured hands. Sprinkle some apples on the dough and fold it over. Flatten it again, flouring your hands if necessary, and repeat the process until you’ve used up the apples. Make sure the apples have mixed into the dough and there are no sir pockets surrounding them. Shape the dough into a ball and return to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover it with cling film and leave in a warm place to double in volume, for 1 - 1 ½ hours.
Turn it out again and shape into a tight ball. Place it in a floured proving basket, banneton or a bowl lined with a linen cloth, seam side up. Cover it loosely with a tea towel and let it double in volume again for about 1 hour, while you place a baking stone, a clay cloche or a heavy baking sheet in the oven preheated to 220C/425F/gas 8. Let it heat up for at least 20 minutes.
Turn the dough out onto the stone in one swift move (better to remove it from the oven for this), slash twice across the top with a moistened serrated knife and bake for 35-40 minutes until the bread is deep brown. Cool it on a wire rack.