IFBC 2017 with a Big Fat Slice of Autumn
“I asked what you wanted, and you said, A box. What for? To put things in. What things? Whatever you have, you said. Well, here’s your box. Nearly everything I have is in it, and it is not full. Pain and excitement are in it, and feeling good or bad and evil thoughts and good thoughts —the pleasure of design and some despair and the indescribable joy of creation.”
East of Eden, John Steinbeck
Somewhere between SEO and avocados I lost my patience. My pen dug deeper into the paper while my heart shattered into a heap of brightly colored sprinkles. Other than the opening remarks at the International Food Bloggers Conference by Nick Papadopoulos of CropMobster, it was all about me, me, me. I found myself wedged between blogging as a business and searching for a way to nurture my creative spirit. We learned the importance of more unique sessions, better SEO, having more followers, all about making money blogging. And yes, I know we need money to live in this time and place. And yes, we all would love to have wildly popular blogs that bring in six figures from advertising. I wanted more.
I’m greedy. Instead of an empty box I’d rather have a box stuffed with treasure. Wouldn’t you? That’s my vision of a blog, it’s an empty box that is filled with the treasures from our lives. We pick and choose, sharing words and photos, lists and instructions. A big fat slice of our lives, the exceptional, the mundane. I want a place to be creative. I want to learn how to live in that place of magic. This is the work we need to do. This is the place we need to be. I’ll work on my SEO but the all the deep, intense flavors I find in my everyday life is where you’ll find me.
At every IFBC session the freshly harvested Empire apples from Machado’s Orchards had me daydreaming about the Apple Pie Bread I had left at home. Use any type of apples for Apple Pie Bread, the more intense the flavor, the better the bread. Apple Pie Bread crosses the boundary between bread and dessert. Follow the traffic signs and cross the street into a slice of Apple Pie Bread or stop on the red light and call it dessert. Either way Apple Pie Bread is a big fat slice of autumn. With Apple Pie Bread you get all the glorious goodness of apple pie and a rich brioche style bread. Apple Pie Bread toasted and topped with apple butter is a very good thing. There just might be magic in every bite.
Making Apple Pie Bread is play time in the kitchen, it’s the most fun I’ve had baking in a very long time. With a stand mixer the dough is easy enough to make. After the second rise, the fun begins. It doesn’t really matter how the rolled dough is shaped. After covering the dough with apple pie filling, walnuts and beaten eggs it gets chopped into random sized pieces and placed in loaf pans for the final rise. More magic, my friends! The recipe makes two 9”x5” loaves of Apple Pie Bread. The most important thing about the recipe is a reminder that weighing the flour always leads to better baking outcomes. With lots of adaption, inspiration for Apple Pie Bread arrived and took root from the recipe for Chopped Apple Bread from Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads. An old and forgotten, excellent bread making book.
| Apple Pie Bread Ingredients
|1/3C||unsalted butter, melted, plus more the bowl and pans|
|2C||whole milk, warmed to no more than 110°|
|2 pkgs/4-1/2t||active dry yeast|
|1T||fine grain sea salt|
| Apple Pie Bread Filling Ingredients
|3C||peeled apples, cut into 1/2” pieces|
|1T||chai spice or cinnamon|
|1C||chopped walnuts, toasted are best|
- Liberally butter a very large bowl and two, 9”x5” loaf pans. For easy removal of the Apple Pie Bread from the loaf pans, line the widest side of the loaf pans with parchment. Leave a few inches of parchment extending over the wide edges of the pan. Use these parchment handles to remove the Apple Pie Bread from the pans after baking.
- To make the Apple Pie Bread add to the bowl of a stand mixer the butter, milk, eggs and yeast. Attach the whisk attachment to the mixer and mix until the eggs are broken up and throughly incorporated. Stop once to scrape down the yeast from the sides of the mixer, mixing the yeast into the liquid ingredients. A few, small clumps of yeast will remain on top of the liquid. Remove the whisk attachment and the bowl from the stand mixer. Add both flours, sugar and salt to the bowl. Return the bowl to the stand mixer and attach the bread dough hook attachment. Mix on low speed to thoroughly combine the wet and dry ingredients. Stop to scrape down the side and bottom of the mixer bowl. Once all the flour is mixed in and the dough comes together turn the mixer to medium-low speed and mix for five minutes. Transfer the dough to the buttered bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place to proof, until almost doubled in size, for 1-1-1/2 hours.
- While the dough rises, prepare the Apple Pie Bread filling. Toss the chopped apples with the lemon juice and spice. On medium heat, melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the apples and stirring occasionally, cook, until the apples can be pierced with a fork. Do not overcook. Stir in the brown sugar, coating all the apples. Remove from the heat to cool.
- When the dough is almost doubled in size, deflate in the bowl by using a flexible bench scraper or large rubber scraper. Scrape the dough down from the outside edges of the bowl toward the center of the bowl, turning the bowl as part of the process, making sure all the dough has been deflated. (Alternately, the dough can be deflated on a lightly floured work surface.) Scrape all the dough from the bowl unto a lightly floured work surface. With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough out in a rectangular shape, 1/3” thick, about 18” long. The shape and thickness does not need to be precise. Spread the cooled apples evenly across the surface of the dough. Sprinkle 3/4 cup of the walnuts across the apple covered dough. Then spread the beaten egg evenly across the top of the dough. Fold the long sides of the rectangle into the center of the dough. Repeat with the other long side of the rectangle. With a bench scraper or knife cut the dough into random 1-1-1/2” pieces. Place the pieces in the prepared loaf pan. Scoop up any stray pieces of Apple Pie Bread filling and add to the loaf pans. Make sure the apple pie filling is distributed throughout the loaf. For loaves of even size push the dough into the corners and edges of the loaf pans. Sprinkle the loaves with the remaining walnuts, pushing them down into the dough.
- While the Apple Pie Bread proofs heat the oven to 350°. Let proof for thirty to forty minutes. When ready to bake, the dough will peek over the rim of the loaf pan and have a slightly domed top.
- Place both of the loaf pans in the center of the oven with at least an inch between them. Bake the loaves for 25 to 30 minutes. Check the Apple Pie Bread after 20 minutes, if the edges are browning too quickly, tent with foil. When done, the Apple Pie Bread will have a toasty brown top crust, sound hollow when tapped and the internal temperature of the bread will be 190°. Let cool five minutes and remove the Apple Pie Bread from the pans by using the overhanging parchment as handles. Or loosen the loaves from the pan with a table knife or small off-set spatula. Place on a cooling rack to finish cooling. For perfect, almost crumb free slices wait until the bread has cooled completely to slice.
This is the first of three posts I am publishing as a citizen blogger to receive the reduced conference rate for the International Food Bloggers Conference 2017.
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