Apple cider bread

Apple cider bread

How to Cook Bread
1 large loaf
Peter Cassidy

This is a great picnic loaf. Served with a chunk of good strong Cheddar and fruity chutney, or spread with oozing, ripe Brie and topped with thick slices of smoked ham, little else is needed except a bowl of crisp salad and a cold beer.


Quantity Ingredient
100g dried apples
400ml medium-dry cider
30g soft light brown sugar
60g unsalted butter
25g fresh yeast
225g strong white flour, plus extra to dust
225g malted brown flour
1 teaspoon salt
oil, to grease


  1. Chop the dried apples into small pieces, using kitchen scissors and put into a medium saucepan with the cider and sugar. Slowly bring to the boil over a low heat, stirring occasionally to encourage the sugar to dissolve. Lower the heat and simmer gently for 2–3 minutes.
  2. Cut the butter into small pieces, add to the pan and stir for a few seconds until melted, then remove from the heat. Allow the mixture to cool, then drain over a bowl, to separate the apples from the liquid. Set aside the apple pieces for later.
  3. Put the yeast in a small bowl and add 2 tbsp of the cooled liquid. Mix together until smooth and creamy.
  4. Mix the flours and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour the yeast mixture into the well and add the remaining liquid, swilling out the yeast bowl with some of the liquid. Mix to a soft, pliable dough using a cutlery knife.
  5. When the dough leaves the sides of the bowl, gather it together in your hands and, on a lightly floured surface, knead for about 10 minutes until smooth.
  6. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with lightly oiled cling film. Leave in a warm place for about 1 hour until doubled in size.
  7. Flatten the dough out on a lightly floured surface with the palm of your hand. Place the drained apple pieces in the centre of the dough and gather the edges to completely encase the apple. Knead to knock out the large air bubbles and to evenly distribute the fruit, about 5 minutes. You may need to use a little extra flour, as the apples are quite moist and will make the dough sticky.
  8. Sift a light covering of flour over a baking sheet. Shape the dough into a tight ball and place smooth side up on the baking sheet. Flatten into a circle about 4cm thick.
  9. Cover with lightly oiled cling film and leave to prove in a warm place until risen to at least half its size again, and if you press the dough lightly with your finger, it leaves only a small indentation. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200°C. About 10 minutes before it will be ready, make several deep slashes across the top of the loaf at an angle, using a very sharp knife.
  10. Sift a dusting of flour over the top of the loaf and bake in the oven for 35–40 minutes until browned. Turn onto a wire rack; it should feel light and sound hollow when tapped on the underside. If not, return to the oven to cook for a further 5 minutes. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
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