My Memere was convinced that only in Canada, did they know how to make a decent bread flour.
“It is,” she would say, “the only way to make a perfect loaf of bread.” And so, whenever Pepere made his travels to and from Canada, he would always show up with big bags of white, powdery flour. In return, Memere would produce the most perfectly white, fluffy loaf of bread. It was above and beyond extraordinary.
And then, over time, a very sad thing happened. Pepere discontinued his regular, annual trips to Canada. Yes, he went back every now and then, but it certainly wasn’t often enough to keep stock of Memere’s beloved Canadian bread flour. And so, without a choice, she was forced to introduce King Arthur to her kitchen.
Memere still baked her bread on a weekly basis. It was still the star of many delicious sandwiches. And people continued to beg her for a spare loaf (or two.)
But she was convinced that her bread would never be quite the same. “It’s not white!” she would say. “A good loaf of bread should be absolute white.” I nodded my head as if in agreement, taking a giant bite of my hot-from-the-oven slice, knowing that she would just disapprove if I disagreed with her statement.
But in all honestly, I could see no faults in her fluffy loaves of bread. Not a thing.
To this day, I’ve never tasted bread quite like Memere’s—and I’ve eaten my fair share of bread. But there’s just never been anything quite so fluffy, so white, so perfect.
Of course, there are times when you’re not necessarily looking for a fluffy white loaf of bread. Times when you want a slice of bread to offer you more than a hint of sweetness. Times when you want doughy, chewy and walnuts to marry in one, delicious bite.
It is for those kinds of times when this is your bread.
Chopped Apple Bread
This bread does not require any fancy skills or special flours. What it does require is an entirely free afternoon. A cup of tea, some fuzzy socks, and your favorite music.
A good sense of humor, the willingness to get messy, and an appetite for good bread doesn’t hurt either.
Chopped Apple Bread—adapted from Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads
This fabulous recipe makes two loaves; one for now, and one to toss in the freezer for later. It’s delicious when served as-is for the first 2-3 days. And once it dries out just a bit, it makes for a delicious French toast. Enjoy! 😀
- 4 c. whole wheat flour
- 2-1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 pckg dry yeast
- 1 Tbsp. salt
- 1/2 c. dry milk
- 2-1/2 c. hot water
- 3 Tbsp. butter
- 2 c. apples, chopped into 3/4 inch cubes
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 c. walnuts or pecans, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1/3 c. brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
- Grease two medium loaf pans (8×4”) with buttered wax or parchment paper.
- In a mixing bowl, combine 3 cups flour with the dry ingredients. Pour in the hot water and stir in the butter. With strong strokes, beat the batter 100 times by hand.
- Add flour, 1/2 c. at a time, to make a dough that can be lifted from the bowl and placed on the work surface.
- Turn the dough onto the work surface and knead with a push-turn-fold rhythm. The dough will become elastic and smooth. If sticky, add sprinkles of flour. Knead for 10 minutes.
- Place dough in a greased bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and set aside to double in volume, about 1 hr.
- Punch down dough and pace on floured work surface. Roll and press the dough into an 18” square, about 1/2” thick. Let dough rest for a few moments.
- Spread chopped apples on surface of dough. Pour beaten eggs over apples. Add the nuts. Sprinkle on the sugar and cinnamon.
- Fold dough into package. Chop dough into pieces about 1” in size. Place pieces in prepared loaf pans, two-thirds full.
- Cover the pans with wax paper and set aside to rise slightly above the edge, about 40 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375. Place in oven and bake until rich golden brown, about 35-45 minutes. Test for doneness with a toothpick. Turn hot bread onto metal rock to cool. It will be somewhat fragile while hot. ENJOY! 😀
Question: What is your most favorite kind of bread? Pesto bread!!