Hard Cider Bread

The fall weather has arrived which means that I can take up homemade bread baking again.  This recipe came about in a “lets throw a few ingredients into a bowl and see what happens” kind of way.  Followed by a “it’s too warm and I don’t have the time to bake” period in the back of the fridge.  I got around to baking the dough two week after I initially mixed it together.  It could have possibly done with a little more proofing, but I was in a rush to bake it.  It was proofed enough to yield a light, soft, uniform crumb, and crisp crunchy crust.  Texture-wise it was a delight.  The flavor-wise it was….. unique.  It wasn’t bad, but you could definitely taste the fruitiness of the hard cider, and the alcohol contrasted a bit with the sourdough flavors built up throughout the dough’s prolonged life at the back of my fridge.  I’m thinking this might be a good bread for an apple and sharpe cheddar grilled cheese.

Ingredients:

  • 24 fl oz Hard Cider
  • 6 tsp Yeast
  • 4 tsp Salt
  • 5-6 cups Flour
  • 1/4 cup Maple Syrup

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl combine the 2 cups of flour, the yeast, and the salt.
  2. Pour in the hard cider and syrup.
  3. Mix everything together for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add in the remaining four, 1/2 a cup at a time, until the bread begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  5. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes.
  6. Place the dough into a greased container, and store it in the refrigerator for a few days.  This allows the flavors to deepen and develop, but you can also choose to skip this step and bake it on the same day.
  7. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, and divide the dough into two equal halves.
  8. Roll each half into a large ball.
  9. Place each ball into a proofing basket or set on a baking sheet, cover, and let rise (~2-3 hours if you have refrigerated your dough).
  10. Preheat your oven to 400 F (~204 C).  If you are using a baking stone, make sure it’s in the oven to preheat.  If you do not have a baking stone you can use a dutch oven.
  11. Before you place your bread in the oven, fill a shallow oven tray with ice cubes and slide it onto the bottom shelve of your oven.
  12. Tip your bread onto the heated baking stone or dutch oven.
  13. Score your bread using a sharp knife or razor.
  14. Bake for about a hour.

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