bread / spelt / vegetarian

Apple bread with lebkuchen spices from the Römertopf

After my successful bread and roll making sessions two weeks ago, I started researching on how to make my bread even better. Last year I tried the no-knead bread developed by Jim Lahey which you’ll find here: (http://www.sullivanstreetbakery.com/recipes). This was delicious but I want to use less white flour in my kitchen.

What makes Jim’s bread special is the long fermentation process which means you need less yeast and the fact that you bake it in a cast iron pot. I did this by soaking baking paper, lining the pot (relatively cheap from a certain Swedish furniture shop), tipping in the dough, closing the lid and baking.

The other day I thought about this and came to the conclusion that a Römertopf, or clay cooking pot, would also be great for bread baking. So I bought a Römertopf (Model: Pane)  specifically designed for bread baking. It hasn’t got a lid but I’m on the lookout for a used Römertopf with a lid now.

This apple bread is the first loaf I baked in my new Römertopf loaf pan. The recipe is from http://www.essenundtrinken.de.

Ingredients:

500 g sour apples
3 tbsp lemon juice
100 g sugar (I used cardamom scented sugar)
125g rum raisins (I soaked my raisins in rum for a few hours)
100 g whole hazelnuts (I used almonds)
2 tsp Lebkuchengewürz (see recipe below)
1 tsp cocoa powder
1/2 sachet baking powder
250 g flour

Recipe for Lebkuchengewürz (Source: http://www.chefkoch.de):

35 g cinnamon, ground

9 g cloves, ground

2 g allspice powder

1 g nutmeg, ground

2 g coriander, ground

2 g ginger, ground

1 g mace, ground

Just mix ingredients and store in  a screw top jar. Perfect for Christmas baking.

Directions for making the apple bread:

1. Peel the apples, quarter and core them. Cut into very thin slices (I used my Hungarian cucumber slicer for this, lethal but effective).  Stir in the lemon juice, then the sugar. Leave covered for one hour in a large bowl to draw the juices.

2. Add rum raisins, whole nuts, lebkuchen spices, cocoa powder, baking powder and flour to bowl. Stir everything with a wooden spoon so that all the ingredients are well mixed. You may need a little elbow grease for this. If the mixture just will not come together, I suppose you could add a splodge of apple juice. Just don’t make the dough too wet:)

3. Grease your loaf pan or Römertopf. If you’re baking in a normal loaf pan, then preheat your oven to 190C (convection 170C) and then bake the loaf for 1 hour 20 mins. If you’re using a Römertopf, soak it first for at least 20 mins (I did an hour) and then place in a COLD oven and set the temperature as above. Baking time stays the same. Cover after 50 mins to stop the top becoming too brown.

4. If using a normal baking tin, allow the bread to cool 20 minutes before removing and placing on a cooling rack. If you’re using a Römertopf, allow the bread to cool in the topf until you can pick it up with bare hands. Tip bread lovingly onto a cooling rack.

Leave to cool completely before eating.

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