Monday, 30 July 2007

Dan Lepard's Apple and Oats Bread

In order to expand my bread baking knowledge I have been raiding the three libraries in my vicinity and thus was able to track down a couple of books I had always wanted to read: first of all, Dan Lepard's "The Handmade Loaf" which I read from front to cover with great delight. Finally, I found a book that features many different recipes for rye bread - quite unusual for an English-speaking author. I gladly read about his "less is more" kneading techniques and his way not to flour the work surface but to oil it. It works much better that way for me!

However, before trying some of his recipes, I first had to revive my still frozen sourdough culture. Luckily, the little boys did survive their long sleep in the freezer. However, although feeding them daily in the beginning, I was never quite sure about their potency. Therefore (and because I didn't want to pour excess sourdough down the drain) I upped the amount of sourdough liberally. Not sure if that's what you should do - that's why I've included the original amounts so everyone can decide which way to go.

This Rolled Oat and Apple Bread is incredibly moist although you can hardly guess which ingredients are responsible for its long shelf-life. In case you have trouble finishing a loaf in time - this is your recipe. The slices also make excellent toast. My favourite toppings are either jam and honey or a soft cheese...hmmm...
This bread is also my entry for The Bread Baking Day #2 - Bread with Fruit. This new food blogging event was invented by Zorra and this time hosted by Columbus Foodie.

The second bread baking book I was looking forward to is Rose Levy Beranbaum's "The Bread Bible". In the beginning, I felt a bit put off - this much acclaimed food writer is tackling the subject in an almost scientific way which seemed to destroy the whole mystery about bread baking. Stop, stop, stop, I then thought, isn't that exactly what you were looking for? Ah, right... Once I got accustomed to her very thorough way of explaining things I learned a lot about certain details that had always left me puzzled. For example, I now know that fan-baking is entirely wrong for bread because you speedily lose all the self-injected steam and create an environment too dry for your bread. Since I switched to the classic bake setting, my breads finally have a good crust on the bottom (which had always been too soft) and I finally got to enjoy this mysterious crackling sound of the crust as the bread cools down. I believe that's called "the crust sings" and that absolutely describes my feeling when hearing it. Thank you, Rose, now I believe that there's nothing better than a healthy dose of perfectionism!

The third book in my library-collection is Maggie Glezer's "Artisan Baking Across America". I'm not finished yet and haven't tried any recipes but stay tuned!

PS: Being a "little bit" behind with my blogging, I thought I had better include another of Dan Lepard's breads. This chewy rye-based bread is his Five Grain Bread (although it was only a Four Grain Bread in my case). It really reminded me of the hearty breads from home and was eaten in no time...

Rolled Oat and Apple Bread

The ingredients

50g rolled oats
100g boiling water
200g peeled and grated apple (equals one big apple)
75g water at 20 degrees Celsius
250g white sourdough (original recipe: 100g of Dan Lepard's white leaven)
1/4 tsp dry instant yeast (original recipe: 3/4 tsp fresh yeast, crumbled)
300g + 3 heaped tbsp bread flour (original recipe: 250g bread flour)
1 tsp salt (orginial recipe: 3/4 tsp fine sea salt)
rolled oats for sprinkling
(Dan Lepard also suggests an egg wash which I simply forgot but the bread browns beautifully in any case)

Pour the boiling water over the rolled oats and let soak for five minutes while preparing the other ingredients.

Add the grated apple, the leaven, the extra water, the yeast, and mix everything together with a wooden spoon. Stir in the dry ingredients. (Dan Lepard mixes the dough quick-bread style but I prefer to do it all in one bowl - less dish washing...)
Mix until you have a soft sticky dough. Cover and leave for ten minutes.

Rub 1 tbsp of oil onto your work surface and knead the dough for ten seconds. (Between kneading Dan Lepard always returns the dough into the cleaned and lightly oiled mixing bowl - I just put the bowl over the dough on the work surface to prevent the dough from drying-out).

Knead the dough once more for ten seconds and shape it into a smooth, round ball.

Either return dough to bowl and cover or again put the bowl on top of the dough as a cover. Leave for one hour at 21-25 degrees Celsius.

Lightly flour your work surface and shape the dough into a loaf. Final rise: Either leave the loaf seam-side down on a piece of baking paper or put the loaf seam-side up into a proofing basket. Leave for 1.5 hours or until almost doubled in height.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 210 degrees Celsius (conventional). I also like to put in an extra baking sheet to splash on some water at the beginning of the baking process. This helps to create steam for a nice rise and good crust.

At the end of the final rise, I like to brush my loaf with lots of water, sprinkle some flour on top, rub it in, and brush with more water. This is similar to a glaze and results in a shiny surface after baking. It also helps to glue on toppings like rolled oats.

Bake the loaf in the middle of the oven. Splash a cup of water on the lower baking sheet during the first five minutes. After 30 minutes in total, lower the temperature to 190 degrees Celsius and bake for a further 15-20 minutes. The loaf should be golden-brown, feel light in weight and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

The source
Adapted from "Dan Lepard: The Handmade Loaf"

The hint
This bread tastes best on the second day. On the first day, the crumb is almost sticky with moistness and you can feel pieces of apple. On the second day, the flavours will have combined beautifully. This loaf has an incredible shelf-life and will stay fresh for a week (I store my bread in a fabric bag made out of a tea towel). However, it's also delicious when toasted.


Mia said...

That is just BEAUTIFUL.

Eva said...

Oops, reading your comment I just realized that I forgot about my little test post..;-)
Hopefully, I'll be able to post the recipe tonight - stay tuned!

Nora B. said...

Hi Eva,
I think I had a slice of this when we had dinner at your place. From my memory, it was very good. Actually, ALL your breads have been very good. I am savouring the one you made yesterday. Can you please tell me name of the bread again? Is it made of yeast or sourdough starter? Merci!

Eva said...

Hi Nora,
Glad to hear that you enjoy my bread! The one I gave you is "pain de campagne" made with a sponge starter (cheat's sourdough so to speak) - I've blogged about it in March. You'll notice that yours looks quite different. I was a bit surprised because I didn't think that changing the oven setting would make such a difference in colour. This time I let the sponge ferment for about 3 hours (instead of 8) so that might have made a difference, too.

Anh said...

Excellent! Dan Lepard is one of my heroes! :D :d :D (as you know!)

Eva said...

Thanks Anh, Dan Lepard's book is just lovely! I was really happy that he features so many rye breads. Will have to try many more recipes...

Patricia Scarpin said...

Eva, I love baking bread and can't wait to see the other wonderful recipes you'll make!

I did not know one could freeze sourdough.

Eva said...

Patricia - I could spend all day baking bread, if I had the time... There are still so many recipes on my to-do list...
Freezing sourdough is no problem - this way you can store it for a long time (although I don't know if there's a limit?). Some of the wild yeast dies, the rest goes to sleep. However, since all that reading I know that even dead yeast cells have a task as they help to improve the flavour.

Anonymous said...

The bread looks delicious!
I have Dan Lepard's book too. But until now I never baked a bread out of it. His kneading technique sounds so complicated. :-( But you convinced me to try it soon!

Eva said...

Thanks Zorra! The description maybe sounds a bit long but the bread actually doesn't require a lot of work. So far, I've only made two of his breads but I'm the others will be equally delicious!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Eva, I've tried sending you an email but the message returned... :(

Helene said...

Beautiful bread! A friend just gave me a sourdough starter and that thing is wilder than wild. I love Lepard's book and I hope to make more of his breads.

Eva said...

Patricia - I had trouble with my account but switched the provider - please try again!

Thanks Helen - Have fun with your starter! So far, my starter has behaved nicely and didn't make a mess in my fridge..;-)

Nora B. said...

Eva, I just read your post. I like your book reviews. I still haven't bought any cook books since I've been in Australia... but now you've reminded me to check out the libraray (I only go there for academic journals...boring...). I miss making bread - it's been a while, so I really should get back into it. Thanks for the inspiration.

Eva said...

Nora - I'm probably the worst library customer you could imagine: I always renew my loans as often as possible because I don't want to give the books back... If I hadn't (finally) decided to buy one of David Lebovitz' books that are going out of print, then I would definitely buy Dan Lepard's book. It has everything I was always looking for..;-) I'm determined to use my book voucher before going on holidays - maybe you'd like to come with me some time next week?

Nora B. said...

Eva, ok....I'm coming with you!
p/s: so you are the one who has been hoarding all the good books.... ;-p

WokandSpoon said...

Wow - your bread looks perfect! Did it keep for many days? everytime I make bread, it doesn't last that long - it tends to get very dry.

Eva said...

WokandSpoon - The trick with the soaked oats and grated apple works perfectly! I'm sure you could find a way to adapt it for your favourite bread recipes. Furthermore, if you use sourdough, your bread will keep much longer. Using a poolish or a biga as a starter is also a good method to extend the shelf-life. Happy Baking!

Tatter said...

Beautiful picture, Eva!

Eva said...

Thank you very much, Tatter!

Anonymous said...

Your bread looks fantastic. I haven't baked much from Dan Lepard's books, but now I think I really should.

Eva said...

I can really recommend it! I just ordered a copy so I don't have to go to the library all the time...

Marcus said...

I made the Five Grain yesterday (though like you it was actually 4 grains, as I didn't have any millet), and it is a stunning bread, rich and tasty. Am also a fan of Dan's stuff ;-)

Eva said...

Hi Markus, thanks for stopping by! I've also made the "Four Grain" a while ago, should make it again - although I still haven't gotten any millet yet..;-)