Apple Rye Bread [v]

Apple Rye Bread [v]

Nothing says autumn/winter dinner party quite like this apple rye bread.  It has a beautiful rich nutty melt in your mouth flavor that you just can’t get enough of.  Ever since the first time I made this bread, my friends and family now always request it. Problem is, it disappears. Fast.

I wish I could take full credit for this lovely recipe, but I can only take partial.  The original recipe comes from Heidi Swanson’s beautiful blog, 101 Cookbooks.

I made her bread exactly to her recipe the first time, and then decided to make my own modifications for my own taste buds.  Her recipe calls for carrot instead of apple, and while I LOVE carrots, I felt that this bread would benefit with a sweeter more fruity flavor tinted against the rustic rye flavor.  I also cut out the butter, and cut back on the cocoa and coffee.  Result? Well, let’s just say this is now my staple bread recipe.  :)  Y.U.M.

I debated long and hard about putting up this recipe, mostly because I think of it as part of my arsenal… a guaranteed crowd pleaser recipe.  But, my lovely cousin demand….err… kindly requested that I post it.  She also offered to take photos of it for me as a trade for the recipe, and lucky for me, she’s an amazing professional photographer!  How could I turn that down?  So here it is: my famous apple rye bread recipe, and my cousin, Caydie McCumber’s beautiful photos of it.  You should check out the rest of her work, too, she does some pretty kick-ass photography!

makes 2 medium loaves
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (one packet)
  • 1-1/3 cups warm water (105 – 115F)
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon finely ground coffee or espresso beans
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ~2 cups grated apples (about 2 medium, I use fuji, but any apple except granny smith will work)
  • 1-1/3 cups rye flour
  • ~3 1/4 cups bread flour (or unbleached all -purpose flour), plus more for dusting


  1. In a small bowl whisk together the yeast, warm water, and sugar. Set aside until foamy (about 10 minutes).
  2. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the oil, cocoa, coffee, molasses, and salt. Stir constantly until just warmed and combined well. (You don’t want the mixture to be too hot when you add it to the other ingredients).
  3. Using a food processor (or cheese grater if you don’t have a food processor), grate the apples fairly finely, but not so they are mush. (note: you can leave the skins on! adds nice color flecks to the bread).
  4. Add the grated apple and molasses mixture in a large mixing bowl. Mix together well, then add the yeast and mix again.
  5. Add the rye flour, followed by the bread flour (gradually), and stir until you’ve got a soft, tacky, cohesive dough. If you add the bread flour more gradually, you can gauge the texture better and adjust the amount of flour as necessary.  You might not need as much, or you might need more. If you accidentally went overboard with the flour and the dough is too dry, add more warm water a tiny bit at a time.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, until the dough is elastic and springy.
  7. Shape the dough into a ball, place seam-side down into a lightly floured bowl. Cover and allow to rise in a warm, cozy place for 1- 2 hours or until the dough increases in size by at least half. You can let it rise longer than this if you need to also, I’ve let it rise for as long as 6 hours and it’s just fine. (A lightly warmed oven works really well if you don’t have a warm sunny spot in your house… just make sure the temp is not over 110F).
  8. After it’s risen, gently press your fist down into the dough. Turn the dough out again onto a lightly floured surface, and gently form it into whatever loaf shape you’d like… round, oval, long…. Place directly on a baking sheet, and cover loosely with a tea cloth or cloth napkin. Again, allow it to rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in size, at least another hour.
  9. Once it’s risen again, uncover, and place in the oven for 20 minutes at 425F. After 20 minutes, dial back the heat to 350F, and bake for another 20-25 minutes, or until the loaf develops a structured, toasted-bottomed crust, and the loaf sounds a bit hollow when you tap on it.
  10. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 15 minutes on a rack before slicing into it.  Enjoy with jam, honey, butter, anything you fancy!

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