The Newbie Cook
- 16,892 forkfuls since 16.Oct.10
Making everything for the first time
My friend, Kim, a first-time baker who wants to learn how to cook, joined me last Wednesday in Apartment #2’s kitchen. We chose to make caramel apple bread instead of the originally-planned pumpkin cinnamon rolls because I forgot to buy any pumpkins. Donna Currie has a lip-smacking recipe in SE’s Bread Baking and it didn’t look too complicated (er… hopefully).
We made a few minor mistakes like peeling and grating the apples before they were supposed to be mixed into the dough, which made them turn brown very fast. The biggest mistake was putting twice the amount of apples into the dough. By the time we realized that half was supposed to go into the filling it was too late. My bad! It was me who was reading the recipe. *headesks*
Me: Um, Kim… @_@ I think half of that was supposed to go into the filling.
Kim: Oh no! ^o^
Me: No wonder it’s so wet.
The wet dough refused to rise. It was just my third try at making bread so I didn’t yet understand the physics between yeast and dough yet so we wasted a lot of fruitless hours waiting for it to rise. In the end, we just added a lot of flour. We even called a friend (Jovett) and asked for more flour.
We didn’t have a fancy stand mixer so we kneaded it pioneer woman style: with our (very clean) hands. By this time, we had enough dough for 3 loaves of bread so I made extra filling. As usual, we had to use a substitute for an ingredient. In this case, we couldn’t find dulce de leche so we used commercial condensed milk instead.
To kill time while the dough was rising, we watched movies in Jovett’s apartment. We might as well since we already stole her flour and some of her apples. But we were nice and helped her cook dinner. 🙂
Kim was afraid that the bread would be a total failure. But after an hour of baking, I took the bread out of the oven, ran back to Jovett’s apartment with one loaf and two oven mitts (ignoring weird looks from the girls at the poolside) and sat down to have a late but very filling dinner with the girls.
It was certainly a nice, quiet night. And, yes, the bread turned out very well. The 6 hours of kneading, waiting, mixing, more waiting and more kneading did pay off! We even had enough to bring to Kim’s mom and my dad.
Caramel Apple Bread
From Serious Eats: Bread Baking
1 cup apple cider
2 teaspoons instant yeast
13 1/2 ounces (about 2 1/2 cups) bread flour, divided, plus more as needed
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 pound Jonathan apples (about 2 medium)
2 tablespoons olive oil
About 7 ounces dulce de leche
1/2 cup peanuts, chopped
1 tablespoon butter, softened (optional)
In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the apple cider and instant yeast. Set aside until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add about 2/3 of the bread flour and stir to combine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 1 hour.
Add the remaining bread flour, sugar, and salt. Knead with the dough hook on low speed until the dough starts to become elastic, about 5 minutes.
Peel one apple, and working quickly so the apple doesn’t go brown, grate it directly into the bowl, stopping at the core. Continue kneading dough on low speed until the apple is completely incorporated. Add flour as needed, until dough is supple and elastic, but no longer sticky (about 1/4 cup). Add olive oil and continue kneading until the oil is completely incorporated. Form the dough into a ball, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and return to bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until doubled in volume, about one hour.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
Add dulce de leche and peanuts to small nonstick pan and heat slowly on medium-low heat. As the caramel begins to melt, peel remaining apple, core, and cut into 1/4-inch dice. Add to caramel immediately before apple begins to brown. Cook on low for one more minute and remove from heat.
Turn dough out onto floured work surface. Knead it briefly and form into rough square. Using rolling pin, roll dough into approximate 9-inch by 16-inch rectangle. Spread the caramel mixture onto the dough leaving 1/2-inch border along long edges and 2-inch border along short edges (rewarm caramel sauce as necessary if it is not spreadable)
Starting with one of the shorter ends, roll up dough jellyroll style, tucking in sides as you go and ending at the short end hat was left uncovered. Seal seam and the ends, and place in the prepared loaf pan. Cover loaf with plastic wrap and set aside to rise until doubled, about 40 minutes.
Uncover loaf, slash on top as desired, and bake at 325 degrees until golden brown, about 45 minutes. For a soft brown crust, take the loaf out of the oven about five minutes before it is finished baking, and spread butter over top of loaf. Return loaf to oven and bake for the final five minutes. Cool loaf for five minutes in the pan, turn it out, transfer to a wire cooling rack, and let it cool completely before slicing.