Apple Walnut Sourdough
Pain Normande. What is it? That’s hard to say, really. I did a little research and the most I could find out was that in the Normandy area of France, bread is often made with apple cider, the alcoholic kind. Sometimes, it even has dried apples in it. I’m not sure if it is a specific type of bread or if it is a category of bread. Unfortunately, all the recipes I found were all different and since I do not have the funds to go to Normandy to find out for sure, I kind of made this one up.
Originally, I was just going to use boiled down apple cider and dried apples, but I happen to have an intense love of sourdough bread with walnuts in it, so I decided to let them join the party as well.
I took a half gallon of regular apple cider and boiled it down until there was about a pint. I figured this would give me a more concentrated apple flavor in the bread, and I did not want to use the very expensive bottle of Calvados that I have. Sometime, I may try this with hard apple cider.
The dough has a little whole wheat flour and rye flour in it to give a more hearty flavor. It was a bit stiff and really chock full once I’d added the dried apples and walnuts.
But, they baked up nicely, though with less oven spring than I would have liked.
I always love how walnuts turn bread purple. Thankfully, even though the dough was stiff, it rose fairly well, so the crumb is not too dense. It might have been a little looser had I opted to give it an overnight rise in the fridge, but I wanted the sourdough flavor to be less pronounced.
This is recipe was inspired by a pain normande recipe from this book and also various ones I saw while looking around. I think it’s pretty good, especially toasted. It’s a sweeter bread than most sourdoughs because of the cider. Hmmm, I wonder if that might account for the less than enthusiastic rise. I may fiddle with this a bit more, but I’ll include the recipe here in case anyone wants to try it and also so I won’t forget it!
Apple Walnut Sourdough
1/2 gallon of apple cider
Place the cider in a pot and boil it down until you have about 2 cups. Cool completely.
7 ounces of boiled down cider (see above)
10 ounces water
8 ounces dried apples
1.5 pounds bread flour
4 ounces whole wheat flour
4 ounces rye flour
1 Tablespoon salt
8 ounces walnuts, toasted
16 ounces 100% hydration sourdough starter.
Combine water and boiled cider in a large mixer bowl. Add the sourdough starter and stir to break up the starter. Add bread flour, whole wheat flour, and rye flours and stir on low speed either by hand or with a dough hook until a rough dough is formed. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.
Add salt and knead on low for 5-8 minutes or until smooth. Slowly add the dried apples and knead until evenly distributed. Then, add the walnuts and knead another minute. You don’t want to break up the walnuts too much, so if they aren’t getting incorporated evenly, remove the dough from the mixer bowl and knead in the walnuts gently by hand. Transfer the dough to a large oiled bowl. Cover tightly and let rise until almost doubled, about 4-6 hours.
Divide the dough in half, shape into rounds or ovals and let rise on pieces of parchment or well floured willow rising bowls (brotforms) for another 3-4 hours.
An hour before you want to bake, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F with your stone in it. Slash your bread and slide them onto the stone with a few inches of space between the loaves. Throw a few ice cubes into the oven or spray the inside with water and close the oven door. Bake for 20 minutes. Shift the loaves around to make sure they bake evenly, and then bake for another 15-20 minutes. The loaves may become very dark. If you think they are getting too dark, lower the oven temperature 25 degrees. When the loaves are done, they will sound hollow when you thump them on the bottom. Let cool completely before you slice it.
Makes two large loaves. This recipe is easily halved if you only want one loaf.