Friday, June 8, 2012

Chopped Apple Bread / Muffins

I have been recently had several people ask me about my bread recipes, so it got me thinking I should post another one that I love.  It is a little labor intensive, but it makes LOTS and it is soooo yummy.  The original recipe was for bread - but I found it made spectacular muffins, as well.  So I made both.

Like I said, it is labor intensive (plan on hanging out at home about 3-4 hours for this one), so make sure you read through the entire recipe before you start - maybe even twice - to get your bearings.

To keep you motivated, I put some pictures throughout the recipe. :)

Bread Dough:
  • 6 1/2 - 7 cups of bread or AP flour  (I used AP and it worked just fine)
  • 4 1/2 tsp dry yeast (this is 2 packets for the occasional baker)
  • 1 Tbs salt
  • 1/2 cup dry milk
  • 2 1/2 cups hot water (120-130 degrees)
  • 3 Tbs shortening (I am thinking of trying to sub coconut oil for this, but haven't yet)

Apple Mixture:
  • 2 cups apples, chopped into 3/4 inch cubes
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped into pea sized pieces
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs ground cinnamon
Pans : 2 medium (8x4ish) loaf pans, greased AND lined with buttered parchment paper
           muffins tins, greased (to hold hte bread that doesn't fit in your loaf pans

Now start cooking!   (I did the whole recipe by hand, no fancy equipment)

  • Combine 3 cups of the four with all the dry dough ingredients in a LARGE mixing bowl.  Pour in the hot water and stir in the shortening.  Beat the batter about 100 times by hand with pretty hefty strokes.
  • add flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until you get a dough you can scoop/lift it from the bowl and get it on the counter.
  • Knead this massive ball of dough until it is elastic and smooth.  Sprinkle more flour as you go if it gets sticky.  Be patient and enjoy the process!
FIRST RISE - 1 hour:
  •  Place the smooth dough back into a greased bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and set aside to double (about an hour)
  • Punch down the dough and place it back on a floured counter.  
  • Press and roll the dough into a large (18 inch or so) square about 1/2" think
  • Let the dough rest a few minutes 
  • Spread the chopped apples evenly all over the surface of the dough, then pour the eggs over the apples.
  • Add the nuts, sprinkle on the sugar and cinnamon
  • FOLD the dough into a package (of sorts)  From this point on it will look like a huge mess, but that means you are doing it right!
  • Using a dough scraper of large knife, chop the dough into random pieces about and 1" in size.  They should be random and not uniform.  It will be a huge mess.  It is OK.
  • Scoop up the pieces and dump them and random/messy into your loaf pans until they are about 2/3 full.  Any that don't fit - put in the muffin tins.  DO NOT give in to the idea of over filling the loaf pans.  This bread really grows
SECOND RISE - 40 minutes:
  • Cover the pans with wax or parchment paper and put aside to rise until it is just above the edge of the pans.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 about 20 minutes into this rise.
The parchment paper is a must!
  • Place in the oven and bake until golden brown.  The loaves take about 45 minutes, the muffins about 20.  You can test them by doing the 'cake test' trick.  Remember the apples may try and fool you into thinking the loaf is wet - so be careful.
  • Remove from the oven and ever so carefully turn it out (lift edges of parchment to transfer) to a wire rack to cool.  Be careful!  The bread is still fragile when hot.

While you are waiting on the loaves to cool, you can behold your incredibly beautiful bread and muffins.  They really are spectacular - and they taste as good as they look. 
How freaking good does the look?

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