I'm still on my apple kick. The stores and road side stands are spilling over with every variety of apple. Green, yellow, gold, red.. just like the colors of the turning leaves.
This recipe comes from Sarabeth's Bakery in New York. You may be familiar with her preserves. People line up at the bakery to buy this bread and at her restaurant she turns it into french toast. If you make it at home people will line up at your table for a slice. I promise.
Sarabeth's Apple Cinnamon Loaf: makes two big loaves
3 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/3 cup water (105-115 degrees f)
3 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup milk (her recipe calls for whole milk but I used 2% with stellar results)
1/3 cup cold water
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus additional for the bowl and pans
2 large Granny Smith apples (about 1 1/2 pounds) peeled, cored and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
To make the dough sprinkle the yeast over the warm 1/3 cup water and stir. Wait 5 minutes for the yeast to dissolve. Pour into the mixer bowl. Add the milk, 1/3 cup cold water, sugar, egg yolk and vanilla and whisk to combine.
Fit the mixer with a paddle attachment and on low speed gradually add half of the flour, then the salt. One tablespoon at a time add the butter. Gradually add the remaining flour to form a rough dough. Replace the paddle attachment with a dough hook and knead on medium low speed adding more flour if needed until the dough cleans the bowl. Continue kneading until the dough is soft, smooth and elastic, about 6 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead briefly to check the dough's texture. The dough will be slightly sticky. Butter a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise until doubled in volume, about 1 1/2 hours.
When the dough has risen prepare the apple filling. Mix the cut apples, egg yolk, sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
Butter two 8 by 4 by 2 1/2 inch loaf pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper and dust the sides with flour. Set aside.
Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Roll or stretch the dough into a 16 by 12 inch rectangle. Spread the filling over the dough and starting at the top begin to roll up the dough, jelly roll style.
Using a bench scraper or large knife, cut the dough into 1-inch-thick slices.
Now cut these slices in half. It is going to look like a big mess. Don't worry it's going to be great.
Now pile up these pieces of dough and apple into your prepared pans.
Choose a warm spot in your kitchen for proofing the loaves. Place the pans on a cookie sheet. Fill a glass with very hot water. Place the pan with the loaves inside a big plastic garbage bag, place the glass of hot water in the bag, inflate the bag by waving the opening up and down, then close tightly. This will mimic a professional proofing oven. You can also just cover the loaves with a towel and set in a warm place but the proofing oven method works beautifully.
Let stand until the loaves have risen to the top of the pans (the dough will look lumpy) - about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the glass from the pan, then the pan from the bag.
Bake on the center rack (on the cookie sheet) for 35 minutes. Cover the loaves loosely with foil and bake for another 25-30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and an instant read thermometer reads 210 degrees F.
Transfer the loaf pans to a wire cooling rack and let stand for 5 minutes. Unmold the loaves onto the rack. Remove the parchment paper and turn the loaves right sides up and let cool completely.