Monday, December 6, 2010

Apple Bread

I had been meaning to make apple bread for over a year. In fact, I bought the jar of apple sauce last fall, planning to make it. However, it didn't happen until Thursday night when I was seized by a spurt of energy, and the memory of how much I had enjoyed cooking and blogging. On Wednesday night, I spent 45 minutes I didn't have reading old posts and thought, "Gee, I should get back to this."
So, the following night, in spite of not getting home until after 7:00, I plunged into the apple bread. Warning. This is a yeast bread. Yeast breads require time. My long suffering husband climbed out of bed at 12:30 to turn off the timer on the stove that was going "Beep, beep,beep," with maddening regularity. I would have just let it beep, because I can't hear it, but it drives him nuts.
Another warning. This recipe that contains the phrase "Continue adding flour until a soft manageable dough is formed." If you are not a bread maker, you probably have no idea what the hell Hewitt is talking about. Well, here's the scoop. When you get through step 2 and mix all the ingredients and half the flour, you will be left with a sticky mass that is more liquid than solid. Start adding flour, a half cup at a time, and push it in with your fingers. Reach down the side of the bowl and pull the dough away from the sides of the bowl. Turn it over in the bowl and squeeze it to get the flour worked in.
When the dough becomes more solid and less sticky, spread a quarter of a cup of flour over your clean kitchen counter, and dump the dough out onto it. It will still be sticky, but not as sticky. It will not be oozing all over the counter. Then, continue spreading a quarter cup of flour over the dough and kneading it. The dough should stay soft, so don't put too much flour in. That's why you measure.
The Internet, wonderful institution that it is, can give you a better idea of kneading bread with a video on your computer screen, than I can by describing it. Just Google kneading bread videos.
If you decide to undertake this, it is not difficult. It produces a mildly flavored bread that you might eat with tea or coffee. I just made the recipe straight without tinkering around, but you could profitably put cinnamon in the dough, or nutmeg or any old spice that would bring out the apple-ness.

Apple Bread

1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
2 cups lukewarm apple sauce
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
6 cups to six and one half cups flour
melted butter

1. Soften the yeast in the water.
2. Combine the applesauce, two tablespoons butter, salt and sugar. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add the softened yeast and half the flour. Mix well.
3. Continue adding flour until a soft, manageable dough is formed.
4. Knead on a lightly floured board until smooth.
5. Place in a clean greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, about one hour.
6. Knock dough down (kinda punch it. This also will be covered in a video.) and divide into two. Let rest, covered, ten minutes. Shape into two oblong loaves (I used greased bread pans.) and place on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, about forty-five minutes.
7. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
8. Bake thirty to thirty-five minutes, or until done. Brush with melted butter.
Makes two loaves.

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