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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Dutch Apple Bread with Honey Ginger Spread




Whether in the late fall, when the first snow of the season may have started to fall or here, in mid-winter when the nights are still long and it seems like spring is still weeks and weeks away, the fragrance of something apple baking in the oven is a wonderful warming thing.

Generally kind on the budget too. I am blessed to still have apples in my garage-that-doubles-as-a-root-cellar, but the frugal cook should still be able to find some apple specials in local grocery stores. Today's apple bread recipe will stretch only a few apples into a loaf able to satisfy family and guests.

As a basis for my bread, I pulled out one of the few cookbooks I still reference, one I have been using for decades. Dolores Cassella’s A World of Breads, is once again the start for today's baking. As usual, I have adapted her recipe a great deal, but I don't think she would mind. 

Some of the adaptations I have made do contribute a bit to the overall nutrition of the bread--whole wheat flour, orange juice concentrate, dry milk powder, and using apples with their peelings intact. If you don't typically keep dry milk powder on hand, you could use milk instead of the water or just omit the dairy entirely. Because the price of butter has risen so dramatically, I have also shifted to using oil in the recipe as well.

To go with the bread, try the Gingered Honey Spread. This works well on many quick breads or yeast breads fresh from the oven. It can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator for several days.

Oh, and one other thing (today's little kitchen tutorial!): some whole wheat flours are more coarse than others, and there may sometimes be some larger flakes of wheat in the bottom of the sifter. Just sprinkle these into the batter with the rest of the flour; don’t discard them!


Dutch Apple Bread

½ c canola oil
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
3 T orange juice concentrate (see NOTE)
¼ c dry milk powder
1 c whole wheat flour
1 c unbleached flour
1 t soda
1/4 c water
1 c grated or finely chopped apple, cored but not peeled—press the apples firmly in the cup
1/3 c chopped walnuts

(While you can use a food processor to grate the apple, I still like my very old-fashioned flat grater for small amounts like this.)







1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees OR 325 degrees if using a glass pan. Generously oil a 9 X 5 1/4 inch loaf pan. This will make a very high loaf, so you could also oil one or two individual sized loaf pans to put some of the batter in. Just reduce the baking time a bit if you do this, and think of a neighbor or friend who might be cheered by the gift of a little loaf of fresh apple bread.

2.  Cream the oil and sugar until smooth. Stir in the eggs, vanilla, orange juice concentrate, and dry milk powder and beat until light.

3.  Sift the dry flours and soda together and add alternately with the water to the beaten egg mixture. Stir just enough to mix well.

4.  Fold in the apples and nuts.

5.  Turn into a very well oiled loaf pan and bake for about 35 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

6.  Cool in the pan about 5 to 7 minutes before turning out onto a rack to cool. Slices best the next day.

NOTE:  If you prefer, you can omit the orange juice concentrate and substitute 1/3 c orange juice for the water. However, the concentrate provides a more distinct orange flavor. 


Honey Ginger Cream Cheese Spread

3 to 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 T honey
1 ½ t ground ginger

Beat all the ingredients together until smooth. Keep refrigerated. May substitute freshly grated ginger for the ground ginger. If candied ginger is available, finely dice some of it and stir in to the mixture.


Using Juice Concentrates

Readers of this blog may have noticed that I often use small portions of frozen juice concentrates in my recipes. There are several reasons why you might want to try the same approach:
  • I can stock up on cans of concentrate when they are on sale and keep them handy. They don't take a lot of space in the freezer even if I buy three or four at a time.
  • The concentration of the juice can provide a big flavor boost in many recipes where the added liquid of "regular" juice might be a problem.
  • I buy only 100% juice, so these concentrates add sweetness without excess refined (or high fructose) sugars. 
  • You can try out many different juice combinations in recipes. For example, cranberry juice concentrate in this recipe, along with a half cup or so of dried cranberries, could change the flavor emphasis dramatically. 
  • In a pinch, many recipes become more accessible even if you don't have the fresh, canned, or frozen fruit called for handy. For example, a main dish calling for a small amount of pineapple can be made with pineapple juice concentrate to keep the flavor blend even if you don't have the "mouth feel" of the pineapple chunks. Fresh raspberries may be too pricey to make into a quick bread, but a raspberry apple juice concentrate could be substituted for part of the liquid to still have end up with a raspberry bread.
Almost all brands of 12 and 16 oz frozen concentrates are the same circumference as a standard canning jar lid, so I can easily cover the opened can with a tight seal. (Of course, it isn't totally air-tight, so you wouldn't want to keep the opened can for months and months.)




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