A bit of a variation on my sourdough bread this week, normally I use about 100 to 150g of oats in my recipe, as by all accounts this helps to keep homemade bread a little fresher (it’s only eaten by my boyfriend and even though I start out thinking I’ll be making a smaller loaf, they inevitably turn out jumbo sized and would happily feed a hungry brood of many…) anyway when I put my hand into the jar of oats I found it was almost empty, just a scant handful at best so I turned to a suggestion by my baking guru Dan Lepard* from his The Handmade Loaf book and added some apple to the sponge mix. The recipe in his books said to grate the apple but I just chopped mine up into small pieces and figured that would be fine.
I covered it all with a tea towel, and then forgot about it so it had the best part of 3 hours to bubble away…then I added some spelt, a glug of oil, a sprinkle of sea salt and slowly began working the dough together. I keep a big bag of bread flour close at hand, and just reach in and add more flour as and when the dough needs it…I used to weigh it but now I find I get a better result by touch and feel (it’s not me being lazy, honest…)
Normally I also add a handful or so of seeds but I don’t know where my head was last week because I forgot to buy any so only the slightest scattering of sesame and sunflower seeds (which were all that were left in the pantry) was added to the sponge.
I let the dough have a good 3 hours to prove, knocked it back and then allowed it a hour to rise back before popping it into the oven…honestly it wasn’t that big when it went in so I was quite surprised when this behemoth came out…it smelt really good and not for the first time I came very close to cutting off a huge wedge and just smothering it with butter but instead I just let it cool before wrapping it up like a swaddled baby and placing it in the bread bin…..
I used it the next morning to make sandwiches for my boyfriend’s packed lunch with goats cheese and some roast peppers, and salad leaves from the garden… he reported back that the apple wasn’t actually very noticeable though the bread was quite sweet (maybe I used too much honey) and that the bread had a lovely soft texture. The bread had those nice sourdough air pockets and was studded with pieces of juicy apple.
This morning it’s been toasted and came out all golden and crisp… (it smelt so good it made my tummy rumble and so I was sort of giving him a sulky look from under my eyebrows while he sat there quite happily munching away on butter drenched toast**….) and it still looked lovely and soft when he had lunch so I guess the proof will be how it is tomorrow (normally I find day 3 is when home made bread tastes a bit dry so if it’s still good tomorrow then I’m thinking now to use an apple again next batch.
*at home we call him The Lepard…he’s so good he deserves those capitals…..pictures of this man’s hands all covered with flour make me swoon almost off my feet.
**For some time now I’ve had a few issues with eating bread (any carbs really make me feel totally rubbish,all achy and tired and bloaty) so I have to just go without them….however I’m perfectly happy to still bake bread, cake and pastry pies and tarts for my boyfriend but every so often I feel a bit grouchy that I can’t have any so that’s when I give him a grumpy face.