Monday, November 19, 2012
Apple Cider Bread
I was first introduced to the concept of apple cider bread a few weeks ago when a loaf of it found its way from the local deli to the break area at work. Somewhere between snack and dessert (and OK I'll admit it; I've had it for breakfast), this is one of those dense, moist breads that could no doubt easily and deliciously transfer into muffin form.
I carry the curse of the label reader, though, and by the eleventh unpronounceable item on the list, I realized that despite the innocent clear plastic wrap and the cutesy little sticker trying hard to sounds like someone's actual grandmother rather than a brand name, this was just another edible food-like substance. It was a shame though. It really was good.
Deconstructing the apple cider bread and rebuilding it with natural ingredients proved a challenge in an unexpected way: all the really out there sounding stuff I decided were probably just preservatives and could be omitted altogether. What really got me was the vagueness of the ingredients. Things like "spices," "sweeteners," "flavoring," and "leavening." How does that count as an ingredients list? Why don't they want me to know what's in their bread? Is it because it's Grandma's Super Secret Recipe that's been passed down for generations, or is it just because it's made with whatever's cheapest on the market that day?
I think I just answered my own question. Anyway, here's my take on a great dessert bread with a New England touch. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Let me know what you're eating this week in the comments section!
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter, melted
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups apple cider
1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease the bottom and sides of a loaf pan.
2. Whisk together flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a small bowl.
3. In a large bowl, mix together butter and sugar, then add eggs one at time, followed by maple syrup, vanilla extract, and cider. Blend well.
4. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients until the mixture has a smooth but slightly viscous consistency, a little thicker than cake batter.
4. Bake for about 45 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.
5. Let cool and then gently detach the cake from the edges of the pan with a knife. Flip it over onto a plate, then reflip to serve.