For the better part of my life—up til the last 5 years or so—I was never what you'd call a morning person. One look at me and you just knew you needed to keep out of my way til at least noon or die. Just to give you an example of how NOT a morning person I was, back in my corporate life, one of my bosses had to ask around to find out if I liked him, because I was such a Grumpy McGrumperson every morning that he thought it was personal. Sorry, Pete. It wasn't you. It was EVERYbody. And everything… Morning, bleh.
Somewhere along the line, though, all of that changed and I'm now about the morning-est morning person you'll ever meet. I LOVE morning. I'm routinely up no later than 5, even on holidays and weekends, and I'm so damned cheerful about it, you'd probably want to punch me. Hard. Far from the teenager who was an Olympic-caliber sleep, I actually seem to be at my most productive early in the morning, before dawn breaks and the birdies start cheeping. I've got my routine—let the dog out, feed the dog, feed the cats, head down to my office for my morning meditation (oh, stop laughing), do a little work, or start baking if it's the weekend, then head back upstairs to watch the sun rise and settle down with the news, my first cup of coffee (decaf, always) and something a little homey and comforting to start the day. And I can think of nothing more homey and comforting that this apple raisin bread. You couldn't find a more perfect day-starter, especially on a perfect crisp fall morning.
I've had—and made—many variations of apple and/or raisin breads over the years. Some have been okay, some have been good, some have been great (like the apple cider levain bread—pain in the ass that it was) but this one was a revelation. Truthfully, it was my emergency back-up bread. It wasn't even Plan B. More like Plan C. But after a couple of non-blog-worthy efforts and with a looming #BreadBakers deadline, it seemed kind of fool-proof (although not foolproof enough for this fool, though, since I almost screwed it up). The loaves did look nice and rustic, at least (something I couldn't say for Plans A & B), so I was safe on that score, but the taste? In the words of the immortal George Takei…Oh my. It's just brilliant. Soft, light, moist, tangy, sweet, studded with apples and raisins, brushed with a shiny, sugary glaze. I've already had some plain, toasted with a bit of sweet butter, toasted with a schmear of cream cheese and toasted with a hit of apple butter (gilding the lily in this case but still…) I could easily have eaten an entire loaf in one sitting. Good thing this recipe gives you 3—count 'em, 3—big loaves to enjoy. You might even be inclined to share. Nah…
With apples now at their peak season, this is one bread you won't want to miss. It might even tempt YOU to get up before dawn, just so you can start your day with it. It doesn't get much better.
Be sure to check the links below to see what the other BreadBakers came up with for our October theme: Hearty Fall Breads. And thanks, Wendy, for hosting!
Apple Raisin Bread
- 1/2 oz active dry yeast
- 1/2 cups warm water (110° to 115°)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup applesauce
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup neutral-flavored oil (such as safflower or canola)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
- 8 to 9 cups all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 cups diced peeled apples
- 1-1/2 cups raisins
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons cornmeal (for the baking pans)
- 1 egg, beaten
- Add the yeast, sugar and 1/2 cup of water to a small bowl and stir to combine. Set aside until the mixture is foamy.
- Add the eggs, applesauce, honey, oil, salt and 1 cup of water into a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Add in the yeast mixture and stir.
- Mix in about 7 cups of flour to start and continue to add more (up to 9 cups) to make a rough soft dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Round off the dough and place in a lightly oiled bowl, turning the dough to oil the top, then cover and set aside in a warm spot for about 1 hour or until doubled.
- Deflate the dough, turn over, cover and let rise again for about 30 minutes.
- While the dough is rising, peel, core and dice the apples, then add to a bowl with the raisins and lemon juice. Set aside.
- Prepare 3 8"-round pans by lightly spraying them with oil spray and sprinkling the bottoms with cornmeal.
- Once the dough has risen for the second time, divide in into thirds, then knead 1/3 of the apple mixture into each dough third. Round off and place each ball into one of the pans. cover the pans with plastic that has been lightly oiled and set aside for about 1 hour to rise. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Once risen, brush each loaf with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for about 30-35 minutes, rotating the pans as needed to ensure even baking, until the loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped.
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Adapted from Taste of Home, 1993 (a classic!)
This makes a LOT of dough. If you have a smaller stand mixer, you'll probably have a bit of overflow, so this is one bread you might want to work by hand. (I started in my KitchenAid but switched to my larger Assistent mixer right away and finished up with some hand-kneading.) The dough is very smooth and soft, but easily workable.
It's also very forgiving as I found out when I realized I'd forgotten to add water to the dough mix—I wondered why my soft dough was more like a brick—and had to work it in at the last minute. (The original instructions listed the water all together as 1-1/2 cups divided, an instruction method I HATE because I invariably forget the second part of the divided amount.)
Once I salvaged my dough, I ended up using the full 9 cups of flour.
Hearty Fall Breads from #BreadBakers
This month, the BreadBakers theme is Hearty Fall breads, hosted by Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm.
Here's a look at the other Fall Flavors being shared today.
- Apple Crumb Quick Bread from Food Lust People Love
- Browned Butter Semolina Pumpkin Bread from Sizzling Tastebuds
- Buttermilk Wheat Bread from Magnolia Days
- Eggless Apple Sage Cheddar Scones from Spill the Spices
- Fall Harvest Bread from Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks
- Fig Focaccia from My Catholic Kitchen
- Harvest Grains Bread from Hostess At Heart
- Mr. Potato Bread from What Smells So Good?
- Multigrain Bread With Seeds from Sneha's Recipe
- Pumpkin and Apple Cornmeal Griddle Cakes from A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Pumpkin Bread from la cocina de Aisha
- Pumpkin Bread from Sara's Tasty Buds
- Pumpkin Bread Rolls from Spiceroots
- Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls from Recipes Food and Cooking
- Pumpkin Dinner Rolls with Cinnamon Butter from Bread Therapy
- Pumpkin, Poppy & Papaya Seeded Breadsticks from G'Gina's Kitchenette
- Pumpkin Raisin Bagels from Cook's Hideout
- Pumpkin Saffron Yeast Biscuits from The Schizo Chef
- Pumpkin Scones from A Baker's House
- Pumpkin Sourdough Bread from Passion Needed
- Schiacciata Con L'uva (Tuscan Style Grape, Olive and Goat Cheese Focaccia) from Ruchik Randhap
- Sesame Seeded Semolina Bread from Karen's Kitchen Stories
- Spicy Pumpkin Yeast Bread from Mayuri’s Jikoni
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page.
We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send an email with your blog URL to firstname.lastname@example.org.