Apple Cinnamon Bread

Apple Cinnamon Bread
Apple Cinnamon Bread, sliced and ready to serve.

Back in April when COVID-19 isolation began in our area, I was already deep into research and testing of bread recipes. One of those was Apple Cinnamon Bread. As with most of the breads I made that month, this came from a basic artisan bread dough recipe I adapted from Zoe Francois. For this loaf bread, I slightly modified her apple cinnamon sandwich bread recipe, opting to use a sugar-free sweetener and adding a little more cinnamon than her recipe called for. 

I rarely make loaf bread, because I’m not really set up to do it properly. For starters, I don’t own a bread stone. But I adore apples and cinnamon, so I was excited to try this…. It was probably not worth breaking one of two stone baking sheets I owned at the time and thought I could get away with using, but definitely delicious. If you have or are thinking about investing in a baking stone, I would definitely recommend adding this bread to your baking list. If you have opinions on the best baking stone, please add in the comments!

We ate slices toasted and buttered with our breakfasts and as a snack. It was quite nice as a bread for a ham sandwich. I also made French toast with it – yum! I used Granny Smith apples, but you could substitute any good baking apple. I just happen to like the sweet-tart crispness of Granny Smith so I usually have some on hand. If you find choosing apples for different purposes confusing, this Farmer’s Almanac article provides a useful guide for choosing apples and how to measure them. You’ll also find some recipes!

What I like about Apple Cinnamon Sandwich bread is straightforward: four simple ingredients plus four simple additives equals one delicious loaf of bread.  For the dough: flour, yeast, water, and salt. For the bread: apples, cinnamon, sugar and a little egg for an egg wash. Skip the egg wash to make this vegan-friendly. I have on my “to do” list to experiment with a gluten-free option … oat flour sounds appealing, like apple-cinnamon oatmeal in a bread loaf. Yum!

The saddest thing about this recipe is that I still haven’t bought that bread stone so I’m waiting to make it again.  You could probably make it without a stone, but the stone ensures the bread is evenly baked and has a perfectly browned crust. 

Because this only uses a portion of a batch of dough, you’ll have plenty left over … to make another loaf, or naan, or a braided bread, boule, baguette … and more. You can play around with this recipe and create your own favorite. For example, sub out apples with cranberries and cinnamon-sugar with brown sugar and throw in some pecan pieces. Or go with Apricot and almonds. Whatever you do, enjoy the process, from the heating of water to the very last bite.   

“Cinnamon and sugar and a second chance….how could that not be a sign?” ― Jean Brashear

Ingredients

For dough:

Use a melon-sized piece of artisan bread dough.

TIP: I recommend using white or a blend of white and whole wheat rather than only whole wheat for this recipe.

Additional flour for rolling

Oil or butter for loaf pan

1 TBSP water

For filling and topping:

1 apple, diced 

1 cup finely chopped walnuts

6 TBSP sugar substitute (e.g., Splenda) or sugar

3 tsp ground cinnamon

For egg wash: 

The white of one egg

Prep time: 

For dough: about 5 minutes prep and 8 hours rise time (if not using pre-prepared dough)

For loaf: about 15 minutes prep and 3 hours set, bake and cool time

Yields:  one loaf

Directions

For filling:

Core and dice apple.

Mix together sweetener and cinnamon in small bowl and set aside.

For loaves:

Lightly flour the top of the dough and cut about 1/4 to 1/3 of the dough for a loaf, about the size of a melon. Flour surface of parchment paper, pizza peel or similar and place dough. Flour and roll out to about 1/4 inch thick rectangle. 

Lay apples on dough. Reserve about a tablespoon of the cinnamon mixture. Sprinkle the rest of the mixture over the apples.

Press the mixture into the dough, stretching the dough if needed. 

With the long edge of the rectangle facing you, roll from the side closest to you to the end of the dough. Roll gently if needed to help seal the roll. Place the rolled end down. Pinch and shape the ends similar to a baguette end. Then fold the rolled dough like a letter.

Set the loaf fold-side down into oiled or buttered loaf pan. (Use neutral flavored oil.) Cover with plastic wrap or flour sack cloth and let rest for about a 90 minutes, or proof in oven on proofing setting about 30 minutes.

Place baking stone in middle rack and preheat oven to 375 degrees.  

Whisk egg white and water and brush with a pastry brush over the top of the loaf. Sprinkle remaining cinnamon mix over the top of the loaf.  Run a serrated knife across the center of the bread lengthwise, about 1 to 1 1/2 inches from edges of bread loaf.

Bake about 45 minutes until the loaf is brown and firm. 

Transfer to a wire rack and remove the loaf. 

Cool, slice and serve. 

Apple Cinnamon Bread at a glance.
Apple Cinnamon Bread at a glance.

Serving Suggestions

Serve toasted as part of a breakfast or use in a sandwich. Would be great with ham or chicken, or a sweet-relish based chicken salad. Try creamy curried pumpkin soup as a side.  Use slices for French Toast.

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