If you like apple cinnamon oatmeal but usually need something more portable or don't want to settle for those nutritionally challenged little packets of mush; this is the bread for you. I originally tried out this bread simply to use up some steel oats I had sitting around and ended up loving it. The kitchen smelled like apple pie and cinnamon oatmeal all day, it was fabulous! The bread is wonderfully chewy and tangy, almost like a sourdough, and makes great toast for breakfast. While it is very good with the special ingredient, boiled cider, you can also use apple juice concentrate instead. The cider is nice and tart and I suspect the bread would be a skosh sweeter using the AJ concentrate. Maybe not quite as strong a flavor but still good. You could always try reducing it carefully in a saucepan first. I love boiled cider - I add a tbsp or two to my apple pies and they finally taste like mom's! I get mine from King Arthur and it lasts practically forever in the fridge. It is also available from Wood's Cider Mill products, the manufacturer. (They also have a cinnamon cider syrup that looks like it would be fabulous over pancakes!) I used dried apples from our local fruit market that were actually still pretty plump for dehydrated, so the bread dough was practically bursting from all the fat apple bits. Next time I might try home dried for an unsulphured option with a little lower water activity. This was a very happy dough and rose more quickly than I expected. It also spread a bit, so be careful on the shaping if you want a piece that will easily fit in a toaster. If you use a toaster oven, you're golden. ☺ There is no added sugar in this recipe except for the optional topping and the natural fruit sugar in the cider so if you are concerned about refined sugar, this is a great treat. Don't tell, but I think I finished ¾ of the loaf myself over the week. It keeps very well and the tiny bit of crunchy sweetness from the sprinkle of turbinado is a great complement to the tangy chewiness of the bread. Enjoy it slathered with good butter (pastured if you can get it - amazing flavor!). Don't kill it with margarine or spread, that stuff's not good for you anyway. ☺ One helpful tip, if you happen to have one of those veggie choppers, like the chop wizard or the generic onion chopper, it works great for dicing the dried apples and toasted pecans. I'm so pitiful at knife chopping... Just close the lid with slow, firm pressure so you don't break it.
Apple Cinnamon Oat Bread
½ cup steel-cut oats (Irish oatmeal)1 ¾ cups (14 ounces) boiling water
¼ cup (2 oz) boiled cider or frozen apple juice concentrate, divided
1 cup (3 oz) chopped dried apples
1 ½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp Instant Yeast
1 ¾ cups white whole wheat flour
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup Baker's Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk
2 tbsp vital wheat gluten
1 cup (3 ¾ oz) chopped, toasted pecans or walnuts
1-2 tbsp turbinado or coarse raw sugar, optional
Combine the boiling water, 2 tbsp of the boiled cider and the steel-cut oats, and set aside to cool to lukewarm. Combine the remaining 2 tbsp boiled cider with the apple pieces, cover, and microwave for 1 to 2 minutes; this will help the apples absorb the cider. (I skipped this step, but remember, my apples weren't incredibly dry.) Set the apples aside.
Add the remaining ingredients to the oat mixture, and stir and knead to make a soft, slightly sticky dough. Knead in the toasted nuts and apples. This is really sticky, so a machine would be helpful for this step. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise for about 2 hours. (Mine was ready in only 1 hour.)
Flatten the dough into an oval on a lightly greased or floured work surface. Place into a stoneware baker, or onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover the loaf and let it rise for 1 hour, or until it looks puffy. Just before baking sprinkle with the turbinado if desired.
Bake according to stoneware baker directions; if you're using a baking sheet, bake at 375°F for 45 to 50 minutes, until the bread is deep brown and its interior measures about 195°F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from the oven, and cool completely before cutting.
Yield: 1 large loaf.
adapted from King Arthur