Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Bread Alert: Cashew Apple Sandwich Bread

Some days you just want something familiar. A hot cup of coffee, a book you've read a few times, a nice terry-cloth robe....
Today, I really wanted a good sandwich bread. Something soft and chewy without the rough texture of a peasant bread. But I still wanted it to be novel. The result is a delicious whole wheat bread made with milk, sweetened slightly with apple butter and textured with cashews.

Sponge:
  • 1 c whole wheat flour
  • 1 c white flour
  • 1 package yeast
  • 1 c water
  • 1 heaping tbsp organic apple butter (no added sweeteners/preservatives/etc)
Combine dry ingredients in a big bowl and sift together. Add water and apple butter and stir to mix. Cover with plastic wrap, and let it sit for 24 hours. (You know, you could let this sit for far less if you wanted; I just love the flavor of a well-fermented sponge.)

Mix:
  • 1 c cashews
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 c whole milk
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2-3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1-2 cups bread flour
Add the non-flour ingredients to the sponge and stir. Gradually add the whole wheat flour until the dough becomes stiff enough to knead with your hands. Turn the dough out onto a surface floured with bread flour and knead for ten minutes, adding bread flour as needed to reduce the stickiness and make the dough workable.
After it's kneaded, place the dough in an oiled bowl and let it rise until doubled in bulk, about 75 minutes or so. Oil two loaf pans. Punch down the dough, divide it into two oblong torpedos and press them into the loaf pans. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled again, about one hour.
After 40 minutes of rising, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Bake until the bottoms sound hollow when tapped -- 30 minutes in my oven.

Notes:
  1. Once again, I forgot to preheat the oven. It's amazing I can do anything at all considering how absent-minded I am!
  2. The milk really did seem to keep the bread soft. Even the crust is nice and soft.
  3. The texture is very rich and buttery, and the loaves came out nice and light. It's so much better when they don't collapse in the oven. I wonder if I timed it just right, or if it would have had an even better "spring" if I'd gotten them into the oven 20 minutes earlier. Regardless, they came out delicious.
  4. This was one of my worst dough divisions ever. One loaf is nice and big, the other kinda tiny.
Photos:
The sponge, after a day of waiting, has nice bubbles and a great beery aroma.

The ball of dough is formed.

Rising was nice and uneventful. One of these days I'm going to do a time-lapse movie of this part.

Second rising, in my favorite warm spot
Just out of the oven.

Nice air holes, great flavor, this one's a keeper!

4 comments:

nightingale said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
nightingale said...

Hello,
could anybody tell me what is apple butter?
I only know cashew-nut butter in this context.
American recipes can be very mysterious. It took me 20 years to find out about a "vegetable pear"(from a Louisiana cook-book).
An Australian told me it was likely to be Christophine, chouchou or chayotte. They seem to uses mor French words down under ...
Thank you

rouftop said...

Hi Nightingale,
Take a look at this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_butter
It's delicious!

rouftop said...

Also, I've never heard of a vegetable pear. :-)

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