Friday, July 29, 2011

I would have taken pictures, but...

...the homemade bread I made this week is already gone! First I made a simple, nutty loaf with some whole wheat flour I wanted to try... Then, I made some amazing apple cinnamon challah bread - cinnamon-sugar-coated apples folded into a slightly sweet bread. Yum! (It's possible that I kind of just made the whole grain bread to balance that out....) Anyway, I thought I'd share the recipes with you all. They are easy, simple, and, well, there aren't many things more delicious than a slice of homemade, right-out-of-the-oven bread slathered with some butter! Oh, and I got the recipes from King Arthur Flour, where they have lots of great recipe ideas to choose from. I'm interested in trying the recipe for homemade pretzels!

Whole Wheat Nut & Seed Bread

  • 1 1/3 cups (10 5/8 ounces) lukewarm water
  • 3 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons (3 3/4 ounces) honey, molasses or maple syrup
  • 4 cups (16 ounces) King Arthur Premium Whole Wheat Flour or 100% White Whole Wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon King Arthur Whole-Grain Bread Improver, optional
  • 1/4 cup (1 1/4 ounces) sunflower seeds, chopped*
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) walnuts, chopped*
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

*A quick whirl in the food processor does the job nicely.

To prepare the dough: Combine all of the ingredients, and mix them till you have a shaggy dough. Let the dough rest, covered, for 20 minutes, then knead till fairly smooth. Allow the dough to rise, covered, for about 2 hours, or until it's puffy and nearly doubled in bulk.

Gently deflate the dough, shape it into a log, and place it in a lightly greased 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" bread pan. Cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap (or a clear shower cap), and allow it to rise for about 2 hours, till it's crowned about 1" to 2" over the rim of the pan.

Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 40 to 45 minutes, tenting it lightly with aluminum foil for the final 20 minutes of baking. Yield: 1 loaf.

Harvest Apple Challah

(This recipe is from King Arthur Flour - for this recipe, they include great pictures to go along with the instructions if you have trouble understanding them)


  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil, safflower preferred
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 cups (17 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast

Apple filling

  • 2 medium-to-large apples, NOT peeled; cored and diced in ¾" chunks
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar


  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • coarse white sugar, optional


1) To make the dough: Combine all of the dough ingredients and mix and knead them, by hand, mixer, or bread machine, until you have a soft, smooth dough.

2) Allow the dough to rise, covered, for 2 hours, or until it's puffy and nearly doubled in bulk. If you've made the dough in a bread machine, allow it to rise in the machine for an extra hour after the dough cycle is completed.

3) Lightly grease a 9" round cake pan that's at least 2" deep. Or grease a 9" or 10" springform pan.

4) Toss the apple chunks with the sugar and cinnamon.

5) Gently deflate the dough, transfer it to a lightly greased work surface, and flatten it into a rough rectangle, about 8" x 10".

6) Spread half the apple chunks in the center of the dough.

7) Fold a short edge of the dough over the apple to cover it, patting firmly to seal the apples and spread the dough a bit.

8) Spread the remaining apple atop the folded-over dough.

9) Cover the apples with the other side of the dough, again patting firmly. Basically, you've folded the dough like a letter, enclosing the apples inside.

10) Take a bench knife or a knife, or even a pair of scissors, and cut the apple-filled dough into 16 pieces. Cut in half, then each half in halves, etc. This will be very, VERY messy; the dough is slippery, apples will fall our, sugar syrup will ooze... it's not pretty. Don't worry, and don't stress about making all the pieces the same size.

11) Lay the dough chunks into the pan; crowd them so that they all fit in a single layer (barely). Lots of apple chunks will fall out during this process; just tuck them in among the dough pieces, or simply spread them on top.

12) Cover the challah gently with lightly greased plastic wrap or a proof cover, and allow it to rise for about 1 hour, until it's a generous 2" high. It should just crest the rim of a 9" round cake pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 325°F.

13) Whisk together the egg and 1 tablespoon water. Brush the dough with the egg mixture, and sprinkle heavily with the coarse sugar, if desired. If you're going to drizzle with honey before serving, omit the sugar.

14) Place the bread in the lower third of the oven. Bake it for 55 minutes, or until the top is at least light brown all over, with no white spots. Some of the higher-rising pieces will actually char; that's OK.

15) Remove the challah from the oven, and after 5 minutes loosen the edges and carefully transfer it to a rack.

16) Serve the bread hot, warm, or at room temperature. Drizzle with honey just before serving, if desired; or serve with honey for dipping.

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