Dear readers, I have a confession to make. I am a bread snob! I am mildly ashamed to admit it, but it’s true. I am a person who loves bread, but not white bread, only artisanal or whole grain breads will do. For me, white bread is boring, bland, Blah! Therefore I either buy my bread at a good bakery, or make my own. That is what led me to make this wonderful bread that contains apple, oats and cinnamon.
The cloudless blue sky and brisk air this week has made me think of the kids gone back to school, and getting lunches ready. When I was in grade school I always brought my lunch, carefully packed by my mother. One of my favorites was her homemade raisin bread with peanut butter and jelly or cream cheese and cherries. I considered myself lucky to be one of the “brown baggers”, not one of those kids who purchased weekly lunch tickets, which entitled them to “hot lunches”. No sir, the sloppy joes, canned corn, tuna noodle casserole, applesauce , and jello were not for me. I much preferred Mom’s carefully handcrafted sandwiches, or sometimes hot soup in a thermos bottle.
So now when September rolls around, I remember those days and long for home baked bread. After a summer of grilled chicken and Caesar salads, it’s time for my comfort food, the sandwich.
Apples and oats both team up happily with cinnamon, so why not put them all together in a soft, tasty loaf? A touch of maple syrup sweetens the loaf, while walnuts add crunch. A slice of this, toasted for breakfast is wonderful, and of course, sandwiched with peanut butter and jelly it can’t be beat.
APPLE OAT CINNAMON BREAD
YIELD: 16 – 18 slices
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup rolled oats
- 1 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 2 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup nonfat milk powder
- 2 Tbsp. potato flour, (optional, for softer texture)
- 3/4 cup lukewarm water
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 cup finely diced peeled apple (about 1 medium apple)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1. In a large mixing bowl, or in the bucket of your bread machine, combine all of the ingredients, mixing and kneading to make a fairly smooth (though quite sticky), elastic dough. I used my bread machine set to the “dough” cycle. If you’re using a mixer, knead for about 7 minutes at medium speed; the dough will never completely clear the sides of the bowl.
2. Transfer the dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover it, and allow it to rise for 1 hour or until it’s quite puffy.
3. After the first rise, gently deflate the dough, and shape it into a 9-inch log. If using a bread machine, remove dough, deflate and shape as described.
Place dough into a lightly greased 9″ x 5″ loaf pan. Cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap. Allow the loaf to rise until it’s crested about 1 inch over the rim of the pan, about 1 hour.
What you see here is my loaf inside the microwave, on a heating pad set to “low”. Close the door and keep it warm inside. You’ll get a beautiful rise for all your yeast dough(s).
4. Bake the bread in a preheated 350*F oven for 45 minutes, tenting with aluminum foil after about 20 minutes, to prevent over-browning.** Remove bread from the oven when its internal temperature registers 190*F on an instant-read thermometer. After about 5 minutes, turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool.
**A work of caution here: When you tent the bread with foil, be sure the top has baked enough to hold itself up, else the weight of the foil may cause the loaf to collapse. You can see in my pictures that is what happened to mine. Prior to putting it into the oven it had risen beautifully, but because the dough is “airy”, it had not baked enough to hold itself up before I covered it with the foil. The excess dough rolled to the sides and down over the edges of the pan, giving the bread a “flat-top”. A lesson learned! It still tasted fabulous, though.
SOURCE: King Arthur Flour