Normandy Apple Bread
In addition to being the time of year where my wife and I stuff our faces with all things pumpkin, we are also in the midst of a huge apple kick. A few weeks ago in September we made our annual trip to a nearby orchard to pick an obscene amount of apples. This year we came home with half a bushel, which is close to 25 pounds.
One of the kitchen gadgets we picked up after the wedding was this apple slicer. This is usually one of those products that I would scoff at in the store and think, ‘Who needs that? We already have a peeler and a knife’. And yet, I use this ALL THE TIME. Whether you’re making a huge pot of applesauce of cutting up half a dozen apples to dry and put in a loaf of bread, this is a wonderful time saver.
I had been meaning to make this bread for a long time but knew I’d need lots of apples so I waited until the fall came around. In the end I used 8 apples in total for this loaf though depending on how much you dry them 4 or 6 would probably be enough. I cut the slices into roughly 1/2 inch pieces and spread them out on a baking sheet in a 200 F oven for about 45 minutes, tossing them every 15 minutes.
This helped cook off a fair amount of the water in the apples but not so much that the pieces completely dried out. I prefer slightly baked apples that are still a little sweet, so these went nicely in the bread. Otherwise, it is a relatively straightforward sourdough loaf. More recently I’ve been doing a better job of feeding my sourdough starter in the days leading up to making a loaf. This leads to a more active starter on the day of the bake, but it does require you knowing a schedule in advance and mostly sticking to it.
If you’re looking to make this even more of a ‘fall’ bread you could substitute in some of the water for apple cider, or perhaps put a bit of cinnamon on the apple pieces before you bake them. Enjoy!
- 290 g bread flour (88%)
- 40 g whole wheat flour (12%)
- 230 g water (70%)
- 8 g salt (2%)
- 4 g yeast (1%)
- 150 g apples, partially dried (45%)
- 115 g active sourdough levain (35%)
- The night before, or at least 8 hours before you intend to make the final dough, make the sourdough levain by taking 20 grams of unfed starter and mixing it with 60 grams of AP flour and 60 grams of water. Mix until there are no dry bits of flour and cover loosely with plastic wrap.
- Anytime before beginning to make the dough, peel and slice the apples and spread out on a baking sheet. Cook in a 200 F oven for 45 minutes, tossing the apples every 15 minutes.
- Mix the bread and whole wheat flour with the water and active levain in a large bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 40 minutes.
- Add yeast, salt, and apples and mix until full incorporated. For the next two hours perform a series of stretch and folds with the dough every 30 minutes.
- Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a boule. Let rest for 20 minutes.
- Shape once more into a boule and place in proofing basket. Let rise for an additional 1 hour. During this final rise preheat oven to 450 F.
- When read bake loaf in a dutch oven covered for 25 minutes and an additional 25-30 uncovered. Let cool 2 hours before slicing.