Apple Bread with Cider and Not-Calvados (BBB October 2019)

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BBB October 2019 - Let's keep baking! summary: recipe for Apple Bread with Cider and Not-Calvados, based on Jan Hedh’s recipe for Äppelbröd med cider och calvados; translation nightmares; extra dry cider; being a skin-flint; making substitutions; my verbosity: taking ‘long and rambling’ to an extreme; I ♥ Thanksgiving leftovers; information about Bread Baking Babes and World Bread Day;

Bread Baking Babes (BBB): Apple Bread with Cider and Calvados

The winter will be short, the summer long, The autumn amber-hued, sunny and hot, Tasting of cider and of scuppernong; All seasons sweet, but autumn best of all. – Elinor Wylie

BBB October 2019

The nights may be getting cooler, but the sun is still shining, and the leaves have hardly changed colour!

I love the angle of the light at this time of year. Even at midday, there is a golden tone on everything. Especially at the farmers’ markets, with the tables filled with stunningly beautiful squashes, beets, beans, pears, and lovely red, red apples. Apples galore.

screenshot from Artisan Breads by Jan Hedh

screenshot of Apple Bread with Cider and Calvados in “Artisan Breads” by Jan Hedh with photographs by Klas Andersson

How perfect for this month’s BBBabes’ bread!

Follow the instructions closely, and always use kitchen scales rather than risk inaccuracy with a decilitre or cup measure.
Weigh the ingredients on the scales and do not improvise with cup or decilitre measures
– Jan Hedh (English translation: Katarina Sjöwall Trodden), Artisan Breads: Practical Recipes and Detailed Instructions for Baking the World’s Finest Loaves, Preface; Before You Start

And yet, in the English edition of Jan Hedh’s cookbook, the ingredients lists are virtually all in cups and spoons!!

Apparently, the English translation available in UK has weights. But the US publishers are unbelievable!! Willfully backward even… :stomp: :stomp: Do you think they own shares in the companies that manufacture measuring cups and spoons? Is that perhaps why they have made such an idiotic decision? (And. Clearly they haven’t even bothered to read what they are translating!)

Still. What difference does it make? After all, I am a bread-making expert. I don’ need no stinkin’ weights and instructions! :stomp: :stomp:

Here’s how things went with making Jan Hedh’s Apple bread:

BBB apple bread diary:

2 September 19:02 I’m SO relieved! Initially, Kelly was thinking about asking us to make Joe Ortiz’s pain aux pommes (Sourdough Apple Bread) from The Village Baker that calls for “a starter that takes 8-10 days”. Mercifully, in Jan Hedh’s book Artisan Breads, she found a viable alternative for us that only takes 2 days in all from start to finish.

I know me – I would have had a devil of a time planning ahead to make that 8-10 day apple starter!

I actually found what looks like a half batch of this recipe with weights. It’s the same author referenced. Here is
that link:
Kelly, in message to BBBabes

How handy to have the weight measurements. I’m very glad Kelly found the Swedish link!

21:01 I wonder if just apple cider would work as well as Calvados. …I love Calvados, but will I be able to sell using it as anything but a digestif? ;-)
I would say it is mostly for the flavor and would recommend boiled cider as a substitute if you have access, or making your own boiled apple cider by reducing some unfiltered apple cider down to a thick syrup.
– Kelly, in reply, message to BBBabes

4 September 2019, 10:58am Good idea! But. I still don’t know which we’ll use…. We can’t get great apple cider here (even though this is apple country!) – for some bizarre reason, all of the producers seem to be making ridiculously sweet and/or artificially perfumed apple cider. I do NOT understand why they can’t take their cue from France. There are zillions of wonderful dry apple ciders there.

28 September 2019, 18:52 I was staring at the parenthetical weights in the ingredients list Kelly posted and asked her if they were taken from the book? Because, to me, some of them seem a little off.

¾ tsp yeast
2 cups + 1¾ tbsp (499g) dry French cider
3 cups (360g) strong wheat flour, preferable stone ground
1 tsp yeast
1¼ cups (296g) water
6 cups + ½ tbsp (724g) strong wheat flour, preferable stone ground
1 cup (103g) coarse rye flour
3¾ tsp sea salt
1 2/3 cups (~200g) diced apple, Cox’s Orange, Granny Smith or similar
¾ tbsp (11g) butter
2½ tsp (11.5g) demerara sugar
3 1/3 tbsp (47g) Calvados
4 apple slices
– Kelly, message to BBBabes

29 September 2019, 00:32 The [weight measurements] could be off, I used what resources I could find
– Kelly, message to BBBabes

When I was searching about this, I came across a Fresh Loaf post about Jan Hedh’s Lemon bread.

Using “650 g strong wheat flour, preferably stone ground” that is listed there, (the lemon bread recipe in the library e-book calls for “6½ cups + ½ tbsp strong wheat flour, preferably stone ground”) and deciding that 1/2 Tbsp is a negligible amount of flour when measuring with cups and spoons, I came up with the following for dough of the apple bread recipe:

¾ tsp yeast [3 grams]
2 cups + 1¾ tbsp dry French cider [499ml]
3 cups strong wheat flour, preferable stone ground [300 grams]

Kneading: [Actual Dough]
1 tsp yeast [4 grams]
1¼ cups water [300 grams]
6 cups + ½ tbsp strong wheat flour, preferable stone ground [600 grams]
1 cup coarse rye flour [128 grams (taken from Gourmet Sleuth)]
3¾ tsp sea salt [22.5 grams]

1 October 2019, 15:51 I managed to get hold of a library copy of the ebook of “Artisan Breads” and am amazed that there are no weights at all in the recipe for Apple Bread! Especially with the quote from Jan Hedh’s preface, “Follow the instructions closely, and always use kitchen scales rather than risk inaccuracy with a decilitre or cup measure” that appears right beside the image of the apple bread. Wow! Did the US publishers not bother even reading the text??

screenshot from Artisan Breads by Jan Hedh

screenshot of Apple Bread with Cider and Calvados in “Artisan Breads” by Jan Hedh

I think the shaping and add-in directions are somewhat confusing, and the baking instructions are… interesting
– Kelly, message to BBBabes

Just somewhat confusing? I find almost everything in the book entirely confusing – perhaps it can be blamed on the questionable formatting of the e-book – the ingredients lists for the apple bread are almost impossible to understand! I get the “poolish” but what’s with “kneading” instead of “final dough”?

I wonder if I should go into the Fresh Loaf to see if anyone has the Swedish or UK version of this bread? Because, like Kelly, I made guesses about some of the weights.

I might be inclined to go with the measurements on Sara Bakar | Äppelbröd med cider och calvados, och ett fantastiskt tak

And Yay for Google Translate! I think I’ve managed to get the English translation close to being right. Sara said she used Jan Hedh’s recipe:

Redan förra hösten bakade vi det här på Solhaga, men i år har vi ändrat receptet lite. I Jan Hedhs originalrecept gör man poolishen på cider, men vi tyckte att det jäste bättre om cidern kommer in i bilden först i bortgörningen. Detta är verkligen ett bröd utöver det vanliga, och degen luktar helt fantastiskt av cider och äpplen. [We baked this already last fall at Solhaga, but this year we have changed the recipe a bit. In Jan Hedh’s original recipe, the poolish is made with cider, but we thought that it would be better if the cider comes into the picture first in the final dough. This is truly a bread out of the ordinary, and the dough smells absolutely amazing of cider and apples.]

16:07 cut Hedh’s recipe in half and they call for 25 grams of Calvados. They did take it from a different Jan Hedh cookbook but… Yay. It looks like I may have guessed right!

The recipe has been adapted from Jan Hedh’s book, Passionerat hantverk på Olof Viktors. Jan Hedh, pictured above on the cover of another of his books, is undoubtably Sweden’s most famous baker. (Olof Viktors is the name of his bakery and cafe in southern Sweden which is always busy, despite being in the middle of the countryside miles from anywhere.) […] The original recipe used fresh yeast, which is widely available in Sweden but not in many other countries. Fresh yeast does improve the flavour and gives a bit more rise, but on blind tests I found that very few people could tell the difference.
– John Duxbury, | Apple bread with cider and calvados Äpplebröd med cider och calvados

10 October 2019, 14:21 I’m so proud of myself! I actually remembered to buy some apples. The store had a special on beautiful “Gala” apples. Fingers crossed that they won’t be a.) too sweet and b.) break up and turn to mush when cooked.

11 October 2019, 00:14 I’ve been thinking that Calvados will be pricey. I LOVE Calvados, but it’s not exactly a necessity. I think I’ll use some of the inexpensive – but good – Grappa from the almost full bottle that we already have in the cupboard.

When the recipe says “dry French cider”, I wonder if that means hard cider. I wonder if I could get away with using non-alcoholic cider? The hard apple ciders available here are revolting – really sweet (even though they claim they’re dry), and they smell like the most disgusting fake apple perfume. It drives me crazy. There are apple orchards galore in the vicinity. There is no reason to be producing such inferior hard cider! (There is plenty of really good locally produced non-alcoholic apple cider though.)

12 October 2019, 12:18 I mixed the poolish last night, following Sara Wennerström’s (Sara Bakar) idea to add the water to the poolish and the cider to the final dough.

Our local supermarket sells beer and cider now and there were zillions of ciders to choose from. But – no big surprise – there weren’t zillions of “dry” ciders. In fact there were just two “dry” and one “extra dry”. Because we have never been very excited about local apple cider, I chose the “extra dry” that is made from 100% apples.

apples and apple cider

Then, because of the stringent laws here, I had to stand in line at one of the three lanes (out of ten lanes) reserved for “beer/cider”. All I had in my basket was one tin of “extra dry” apple cider, a bag of “natural old fashioned brown” sugar, parsnips for Sunday’s Thanksgiving dinner, and a bag of salted roasted cashews. Did the man with the overflowing cart filled with all fixings for his extended family’s Thanksgiving dinner notice and suggest I go in front of him? Of course not! But, let’s play the Glad Game: I’m glad I got to wait; I was able to a.) admire all the things that family was going to feast on, b.) read (and re-read) every salacious headline on the magazine display by the cash register, and c.) chat amiably with the man behind me who commiserated that if I wasn’t buying that single tin of cider, I could have gone into the express lane.

We tasted the cider this morning. Hmmm. It’s dry all right. Quite dry. But aside from it being surprisingly (for Canadian cider) dry, it’s not at all thrilling. Still, it will be fine in the bread….

And I just noticed!!! Printed right on the cider can are the words “Gluten Free”! Really? Does cider ever contain gluten?! :lalala:

The dough was VERY dry and crumbly. I added extra cider….

The Gala apples are beautifully golden now, holding their shape, and smell great. I loved the whooshing sound of the grappa in the hot pan too.

frying Gala Apples
fried Gala apples

That’s right. I chose to use some of the grappa (that tastes like Pear eau-de-vie!) from the cupboard rather than go to the bank to get a mortgage so we could buy a bottle of Calvados. That’s an awful expense for just 5 teaspoons….

1⅔ cups diced apple, Cox’s Orange, Granny Smith or similar
¾ tbsp butter
2½ tsp demerara sugar
3⅓ tbsp Calvados
4 apple slices
– Jan Hedh, Artisan Breads | Apple Bread with Cider and Calvados

Oh oh. I see that I was supposed to use brown sugar. This is what comes of pencil scrawling the instructions onto a piece of scrap paper… I only wrote down “sugar”. Silly me. Especially because I just bought demerara sugar!

15:43 Just got home from a walk in the beautiful crisp fall sunshine…. The dough has almost doubled; I stretched and folded it and the smell of apples from the cider filled the room. In half an hour I’ll fold in the apple pieces and pre-shape the bread.

17:20 I pre-shaped the bread about half an hour ago and just tightened it up into a round and put it into its basket. Folding those apples in was no picnic. They’re pretty slippery…. And the dough seems to want to split. I closed it up as best I could when I put it in the basket.

Shape the dough into an oblong loaf round and place it in a lightly floured lined proving basket or floured cloth. Cover with a cloth and leave in a warm place for 75-90 minutes until doubled in size. […] Cut up a thin apple slice for the top of the bread. Gently turn the loaf onto a parchment lined baking sheet or peel and gently press the apple slice in the middle.
– BBB October 2019 recipe

Oooops!! Not only did I ignore the instructions to make an oblong loaf, but I completely forgot about the decorative apple piece on top!!

And us with zero apples left… (T used the rest of the apples we had on hand to make a tarte tatin this afternoon). Poor us – we will try to soldier on through. :-) :-)

tarte tatin

17:59 I just realized that the “yeast” in the Swedish version of Hedh’s ingredients list is “fresh yeast”!

I’ve been reading a public library copy of the English translation of Jan Hedh’s book that contains the apple bread recipe.
All the yeast measurements have been translated from weight measurements to spoons, without taking into account that the yeast called for may be “fresh yeast” OR that the conversions from grams to spoons may simply be off. But Hedh does state categorically, “I prefer fresh yeast since I find that the result is better“.

In the very first recipe for “Plain White Bread from Olof Viktors”, “fresh yeast” is specified, and then only for the Starter, calling for “1/4 tsp fresh yeast”. I challenge anyone to measure 1/4 teaspoon of cake yeast!

For the Apple Bread with Cider and Calvados recipe (two loaves), in the English version of the book, the POOLISH calls for “3/4 tsp yeast” (3 grams) and the KNEADING section calls for “1 tsp yeast” (4 grams). In the original Swedish version of the book, the Äppelbröd med cider och calvados recipe, the Poolish calls for 5 g jäst and the Bortgörning calls for “6 g jäst“.

That does indicate that they have translated the yeast from fresh to dry for the English translation. But. I’m pretty sure these spoon measurements in the translation are off!

— To convert from fresh yeast to active dry yeast, multiply the fresh quantity by 0.4. […]
— To convert from fresh yeast to instant dry yeast, multiply the fresh quantity by 0.33.
King Arthur Flour Reference | Yeast

So, let’s see now… click . . . click click . . . click click click . . . Here we go: 5 x 0.4 = 2, and 6 x 0.4 = 2.4. It means for half a recipe, for the Poolish, I should have used 1 gram (1/4 tsp) active dry yeast, and for the Actual Dough, I should have used 1.2 grams (1/3 tsp) active dry yeast. That’s definitely less yeast!!

The really amazing part of all this is Hedh’s insistence about the need for weighing ingredients. Several recipe instructions begin with “Weigh the flour” or “Weight the dry ingredients”. The following phrase appears more than once throughout the book, including at the end of the apple bread recipe!
Follow the instructions closely and always use kitchen scales rather than risk inaccuracy with a decilitre or cup measure. […]
  • Always use good quality digital scales that can be zeroised as you add new ingredients.
– Jan Hedh, Artisan Breads, Preface; Introduction: Before You Start


I’m so glad that I was disobedient and reduced the amount of yeast in the final dough! For half of the recipe, not realizing that she was using fresh yeast, I carefully followed Sara Wennerström’s ( weights but used just 2gm, instead of 2.5gm (The Poolish was madly bubbling this morning!) and then just 1gm yeast in the final dough (as opposed to 3gm that Sara’s version called for.

My bread is “proving” in its basket now (I am most amused by the somewhat eccentric English translation of Jan Hedh’s book) and am planning to bake it in about half an hour.

18:56 The bread is in the oven now. And. Shriek!!! No wonder the dough was so active! I just realized that the “jäst” called for in Sara Wennerström’s recipe (taken from Jan Hedh’s book in Swedish) is fresh yeast!!

According to Swedishfoodpedia | Yeast
1 g of instant/fast/quick/easy-bake dried yeast is equivalent to 3.4 g of fresh yeast.
–, Swedishfoodpedia | Yeast

Which means (let me get my calculator out again… click click . . . click click click . . .) In the poolish, for the full recipe, there should be just 1.5 grams active dry yeast, and in the final dough, just 1.8 grams.

So, for half the recipe, I SHOULD have gotten my handy scale that measures in partial grams and measured 0.7 grams for the poolish (instead of the whopping 2 grams I added) and 0.9 grams for the final dough. Just as Kelly specified!

SHRIEK!! Again!! How can these formulae be so different? (Granted, 0.7 gram and 1 gram aren’t that far off from 1 gram and 0.9 grams. But still. Why on earth would the English language publishers (Skyhorse) be so foolish??

But see? This is why one is supposed to read everything BEFORE starting. :stomp: :stomp:

I actually did end up adding just 1 gram to the final dough because 2 grams seemed like WAY too much. :stomp: :stomp:

And. Luckily, bread wants to be bread and the somewhat overly yeasted bread that is in the oven now smells really really good.

17:16 We just took the hat off the bread. WOW WOW WOW!! Talk about oven spring! And what beautiful little ears at the top where the apple slice was supposed to be.

17:46 The two tiny little scissor snips I put into the top of this insanely lofty bread where the apple slice was supposed to go have disappeared entirely. The bread chose its own places to rip open and there is the most fantastic decoration and ears! And it’s so light-weight!

… I can’t wait until this bread is cooled so we can slice into it! I’m thinking it might be The Perfect Sandwich Bread for Leftover Thanksgiving Dinner.

apple bread

Initially, I WAS going to use wild yeast to make the apple bread, but then was brought to reason. Instead, we decided to make a Tartine Loaf at the same time – just in case the apple bread wasn’t appropriate for sandwiches. Because we NEEEEEEED bread for sandwiches on Thanksgiving weekend!

We could not believe the loft and the ears we got on both loaves of bread. Wow!

Tartine Bread
Tartine Bread (leavened with wild yeast)
Apple bread (BBB October 2019)
BBB Apple Bread (leavened with active dry yeast)

On Sunday morning, we sliced into the bread. The crust was still beautifully crispy (but not too crispy) and the crumb was stunningly beautiful! Even though the apples weren’t all that well distributed. Oooops!

The bread smelled ever so slightly of apple. We tasted the outer piece: Delicious with and without butter! (I have to be honest; it was even more delicious with butter.)

We toasted some. That too was wonderful, with the apple flavour coming through a little more. But we decided to keep the rest of the loaf for sandwiches on Monday. (Like many Canadians, we chose to have our big Thanksgiving Dinner on Sunday instead of Monday. Because, after all, leftovers are almost the best part of Thanksgiving Dinner!)

On Monday, we jumped on our bikes and rode down to the waterfront to admire the fall flowers and watch the last few sail boats racing wildly in the wind on the lake. We sat on a bench and made everyone jealous as we savoured our wonderful sandwiches. This apple bread is indeed The Perfect Sandwich Bread for Leftover Thanksgiving Dinner!

Many thanks for choosing such delicious Bread, Kelly. In spite of me getting a little lost in translation, it turns out to be wonderful!

Here is the final version of the BBB recipe for Apple Bread with Cider and Calvados that we were given. And here is what I did to it, to make half the recipe:

Apple Bread with Cider and Not-Calvados
adapted from the recipe for Apple Bread with Cider and Calvados in “Artisan Bread: Practical Recipes and Detailed Instruction for Baking the World’s Finest Loaves” by Jan Hedh (English translation: Katarina Sjöwall Trodden), using the ingredients’ weights on Sara Wennerström’s ( take on the recipe for “Äppelbröd med cider och calvados” that she got from the actual Swedish cookbook, “Jan Hedhs stora bok om bröd (Jan Hedh’s big book about bread)” – don’t you love the way the publishers change titles when translating?!)

This is an [sic] fantastic bread, tangy, with a strong apple flavour and flaky crust.
– Jan Hedh, (translation: Katarina Sjöwall Trodden

makes one large round loaf


  • 2gm active dry yeast [for the full recipe, was ‘5 g jäst’ in the Sara Bakar recipe; Hedh’s English translation calls for ‘¾ tsp yeast’ – BUT I should have used 0.7gm! (please see notes below)]
  • 150gm room-temperature water
  • flour[for the full recipe, this was simply ‘300 g flour’ in the Sara Bakar recipe; Hedh’s English translation calls for ‘3 cups strong wheat flour, preferably stone ground’]
    • 100gm unbleached all-purpose flour
    • 50gm 100% “no additives” whole wheat flour

Actual Dough [labelled ‘Bortgörning’ for the Swedish versions, translated as ‘Kneading’ in Jan Hedh’s cookbook]

  • 1gm yeast [for the full recipe, was ‘6 g jäst’ in the Sara Bakar recipe; Hedh’s English translation calls for ‘1 tsp yeast’ (please see notes below)]
  • 140gm room-temperature dry cider [for the full recipe, was ‘300 g’ in the Sara Bakar recipe; Hedh’s English translation calls for ‘2 cups + 1¾ tbsp dry French cider’ (we used Ontario Liberty Village “extra dry”)] + extra because dough was dry
  • flour [for the full recipe, was ‘600 g vetemjöl, 100 g grovt rågmjöl’ in the Sara Bakar recipe; Hedh’s English translation calls for ‘6 cups + ½ tbsp strong wheat flour, preferably stone ground, 1 cup coarse rye flour’]
    • 295gm unbleached all-purpose flour
    • 50gm dark rye flour
    • 5gm wheat germ [no wheat germ in original recipe]
  • all of the poolish from above
  • 10gm room-temperature water
  • 9gm seasalt

Apple Mixture

  • 150gm apples, diced (we used Galas)
  • 5gm butter
  • 5gm sugar [was ‘muscovado sugar (unrefined brown sugar)’ in the Sara Bakar recipe; Hedh calls for ‘demerara sugar’]
  • 25gm Grappa [was ‘was Calvados’]


  • 2 apple slices [oops, I completely forgot!! (let’s label these as ‘optional’….)]
  • lemon juice, to stop the slices from browning
  1. poolish In the evening of the day before making the bread: Put yeast, flour and water into a medium sized bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon until the flour is stirred in well. Cover the bowl with a plate and set aside overnight in the oven with only the light turned on (or if it is summer and staying quite warm at night, don’t even bother turning on the light).
  2. mix the dough In the morning of the day you will be making the bread: Check the Poolish to note that it is bubbling madly. Set aside for a moment…. Put yeast into the bottom of a large mixing bowl, and pour cider overtop. Whisk to blend. Add flours, wheat germ, and all of the poolish. Use a wooden spoon or dough whisk to mix these ingredients to make a rough dough. If the dough seems excessively dry (ours was – we’re at the bottom of our 10kg bag of flour!), pour in a little more cider and mix until there are no crumbs. With long time storage, [flour] loses moisture, fat and sometimes weight.
    Old flour desiccates and therefore absorbs more water, so always keep fresh flour at home. Add more water if the dough feels dry.
    – Jan Hedh, ‘Ingredients’, ‘Starters, Proving and Baking’, Artisan Breads

    Cover the bowl with a plate and leave on the counter for about 40 minutes.
  3. apple mixture: Peel, core, and cube the apples and put into a small bowl with sugar to stop them from browning. Put a stainless steel frying pan over medium heat. Add butter and when it has melted, dump in the apple cubes and fry until they are golden. Pour grappa (or calvados if you have it) into the hot pan and be amazed that it whooshes immediately away. Take the pan off the heat and set aside to allow the apples to cool.
  4. adding the salt: In a small bowl, whisk the salt into 10 grams water. Pour the salt mixture over the dough.
  5. kneading: Use one of your hands to squoosh the salt and water into the dough; use the other hand to steady the bowl – this way you always have a clean hand. At first the dough might be a bit messy and seem like it’s coming apart. Persevere. Suddenly, it will seem more like dough than a horrible separated glop. Keep folding it over onto itself until it is relatively smooth. Cover with a plate and leave to rest for about 30 minutes.
  6. stretching and folding the dough: Turn the bowl as you fold and re-fold the dough into the center. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave on the counter (or if the kitchen is cool like ours any time that isn’t summer, into the oven with only the light turned on). Repeat the folding step about 3 times in all at 30 minute intervals. You’ll notice that after each time, the dough will feel significantly smoother.
  7. final fold and adding the apples: Gently pour the apple mixture in an even layer overtop of the dough, and, as best you can stretch and fold the dough around the slippery apple pieces to evenly distribute them (good luck with that…). Don’t they smell good though?
    Press the [apple] mixture into the risen dough. Divide [the dough] into two and form oblong loaves without first making a ball. Place on a teatowel dusted with flour and pull the cloth up between the breads.
    – Jan Hedh, Artisan Breads, Apple Bread with cider and calvados

    After the final time of folding, the dough is now ready to pre-shape.
  8. pre-shaping: Scatter a dusting of all-purpose wheat flour on the board and gently release the the dough from the bowl onto the flour. (When the dough is ready to pre-shape, it will fall out of the bowl cleanly.) Using wet hands, stretch the dough into a longish rectangle, then fold it like a letter (all the while, trying to keep the apple pieces inside), gently patting off any extra flour that might be there. Continue folding until the dough is shaped in a ball. Cover it with a clean tea towel and leave the ball seam side down on the flour-dusted board for about 30 minutes.
  9. prepare the brot-form: Put rice flour into a brotform or basket, and using a pastry brush, distribute the flour as evenly as possible. (If you don’t have a brot-form, you can line any bowl, basket or sieve with parchment paper. You can also use a liberally rice floured tea towel – but then you have to deal with a floured tea towel once the bread is baked). If you do not have rice flour, it is possible to use wheat flour. However, wheat flour wants to stick and makes it more difficult for the bread to be released from the basket….
  10. shaping: Without breaking the skin on the ball of dough (Ha!! Again, good luck with that – those apple pieces are determined to pop out onto the board), use the dough scraper on the sides to tighten it further, by dragging it a small distance back and forth on the board. The ball will become a little smaller. Once it has been tightened, use the dough scraper to place the boule seam side UP into the well rice-floured brot-form. Cover the brot-form with the tea towel, and place an upside down mixing bowl over top to keep the dough from drying out. Leave the shaped bread, away from draughts, on the counter or in the oven with only the light turned on for about an hour or until the ball has almost doubled.
  11. adding the topping: Ooops!!! If you remembered in time, you would have put the apple slices into the bottom of the basket. If you are like me and forgot AND you happen to have apples on hand, you can wet the slices with lemon juice and place them on top of the loaf just before putting the bread into the oven. (Note that I haven’t actually tried this; it just seems like an idea that would work.)
  12. baking: To tell if it’s ready to bake: Firmly, yet gently, press your floured finger on the side of the bread. If the dough springs back immediately, re-cover the loaf and leave it for longer on the counter. If the dough gradually returns back after being pressed, put both parts of the combo cooker (or a cast-iron frying pan and large stainless steel bowl) into the oven and preheat all to 400F.
  13. About fifteen minutes later, remove the hot combo cooker from oven (wear oven mitts!!) and place on a rack or stove top. Take a deep breath, and overturn the shaped bread into the shallow pan of the combo cooker (or the frying pan). Using a lame (or scissors, or serrated knife), score the bread. Immediately put the deeper pan of the combo cooker (or stainless steel bowl) overtop like a hat. Put everything into the oven and immediately turn it down to 375F. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the hat and bake for a further 30 minutes or so, until the crust is a nice dark brown and the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
    Take out the loaves, cool on a wire rack and spray with a littel water for a crackled crust.
    – Jan Hedh, Artisan Breads, Apple Bread with cider and calvados
  14. cooling: When the bread is out of the oven, remove it from the pan and allow it to cool on a footed rack before slicing and eating; the bread is still baking internally when first removed from the oven! If you wish to serve warm bread (of course you do), reheat it after it has cooled completely: To reheat any uncut bread, turn the oven to 400F for 5 minutes or so. Turn the oven OFF. Put the bread into the hot oven for about ten minutes. This will rejuvenate the crust and warm the crumb perfectly.

Serve the bread warm or room temperature. This bread is terrific for sandwiches!


Yeast: It turns out that I was right when I thought “that’s too much yeast!” The Swedish book calls for “fresh yeast” whenever commercial yeast is called for because, as Hedh says in the introduction to the book, “I prefer fresh yeast since I find that the result is better”. At first I thought that the translation also called for fresh yeast, but the translators didn’t know. ( Only the first recipe of the book calls for “fresh yeast”; the others simply say “yeast”.) In the recipe for Olof viktors ljusa bröd (translated as “plain white bread from Olof Victors” in the English version), the Swedish book simply says “jäst” rather than “färsk jäst”.

Sigh… Perhaps, one of these days, I’ll learn to read (and retain). When translated Jan Hedh’s recipe, they switched the yeast to dry yeast, calling for “0.7 g (¼ tsp) fast action dried yeast” in the poolish and “0.9 g (¼+ tsp) fast action dried yeast” in the final dough to make one loaf of bread. They also spelled out how much fresh yeast is called for: exactly how much that is listed in the Swedish book….

This version uses dried fast action yeast, sometimes called “Easy Bake” yeast, as it is widely available. […]
The original recipe used fresh yeast, which is widely available in Sweden but not in many other countries. Fresh yeast does improve the flavour and gives a bit more rise, but on blind tests I found that very few people could tell the difference. If you want to use fresh yeast you will need 2.5 grams for the poolish and 3.0 g for the final dough, whisking the yeast with the liquid before adding it to the flour
– John Duxbury, | Apple bread with cider and calvados Äpplebröd med cider och calvados

So. Next time I make this apple bread, to measure the active dry yeast, I will use 0.7 grams in the poolish and 0.9 grams in the final dough.

(Didn’t I go through all this in early September AND in early October??? How on earth did I manage to forget everything entirely??)

Kneading I always knead by hand because a.) we don’t have an electric stand mixer and b.) it’s what I prefer. So, I cannot help questioning Hedh’s instruction, in the section entitled “Before You Start”, to use an electric stand mixer with a dough hook attachment for kneading. He claims:
Use an electric kitchen assistant to knead the dough. Doing it by hand is hard work and the result is never the same as with a machine since you will never have the stamina to knead it long enough to stretch the gluten properly. I have used an Electrolux and a KitchenAid stand mixer.
– Jan Hedh, Artisan Breads, Introduction: Before you Start

Later in the book he writes, “It takes between 20 and 30 minutes to work a dough until it becomes very elastic by hand“. I can imagine that this may be true if making several loaves of bread every day, but for making one or two loaves, kneading by hand is not at all difficult. nor does it take even close to 20 or 30 minutes, especially if the “stretch and fold / rest / stretch and fold / rest” dough developing methods suggested by more recently written artisanal baking books are used.

Prepare the dough as for French Baguettes with Poolish, p.47. […] [K]nead the dough for 13 minutes on low speed. Add the salt, increase the speed and knead for another 7 minutes or until very elastic.
– Jan Hedh, Artisan Breads | Apple bread with cider and calvados, p.112, French Baguettes with Poolish, p.47

Shaping: I confess that I paid almost zero attention to Hedh’s shaping instructions. Instead, I used the same kind of shaping as we do for making a round loaf, such as Chad Robertson’s Tartine Country Bread.

Divide [the dough] into two and form oblong loaves without first making a ball. Place on a teatowel dusted with flour and pull the cloth up between the breads.
Jan Hedh, Artisan Breads, Apple Bread with cider and calvados, p.112

Say what?!! (I tried to get the Swedish version out of the library, but – no big surprise – it isn’t available from our public library. There is also no “look inside” for the book on Amazon. I thought I might have better success at understanding the shaping method with the original Swedish and Google Translate. …alas, it was not to be.)

Oven Temperature: Hedh suggests pre-heating the oven to 475F. Whoa!! If we did that, we’d blow a fuse in no time! He then goes on to say to lower the temperature to 400F after five minutes of baking and to bake the bread for a total of 45-50 minutes. (If we baked our bread starting at 475F and didn’t blow a fuse, we would have pitch-black bread.)


See how important it is to follow the instructions carefully? :-) :-)

Ha! Once again, I have proven (no pun intended) that bread just wants to be bread!

BBB October 2019

And we LOVED this bread! I was amazed that the rye flour was virtually undectable. I wonder if adding apple cider softens it. The crumb was beautifully soft, with nice uniform holes – perfect for sandwiches!

There’s only one thing wrong with it: There’s none left.

Yes, indeed. It’s great bread! It’s a keeper. Although…. Next time, instead of fighting to get the apple pieces in uniformly, I think I’ll just make apple compote to serve on the side, or inside sandwiches.

Bread Baking Babes BBB October 2019 - Let's keep baking!Sourdough Sunshine Bread

Kelly is the host of October 2019’s Bread Baking Babes’ project. She wrote:

I do love an apple bread. […] [This is] from Artisan Breads: Practical Recipes and Detailed Instructions for Baking the World’s Finest Loaves, by Jan Hedh. […] The description says this is a fantastic bread, tangy, with a strong apple flavour and flaky crust.
I think the shaping and add-in directions are somewhat confusing, and the baking instructions are… interesting, but I’m sure we’ll all figure out our own interpretation.
– Kelly, in message to BBBabes

We know you’ll want to make Apple Bread with Cider and Calvados too! To receive a Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site: make the bread in the next couple of weeks and post about it (we love to see how your bread turns out AND hear what you think about it – what you didn’t like and/or what you liked) before the 29 October 2019. If you do not have a blog, no problem; you can also post your picture(s) to Flickr (or any other photo sharing site) and record your thoughts about the bread there. Please remember to contact the Kitchen of the Month to say that your post is up.

Please note that it’s not enough to post about your bread in the Facebook group. Because of the ephemeral nature of Facebook’s posts, your FB post may be lost in the shuffle. Please make sure to directly contact the kitchen of the month if you want to be included in the BBBuddy roundup.

For complete details about this month’s recipe, the BBB and how to become a BBBuddy, please read:

Please take a look at the other BBBabes’ October 2019 Apple Bread.

World Bread Day Zorra (Kochtopf) has been celebrating World Bread Day for 14 years! She wrote:

World Bread Day, October 16, 2019 On October 16th the time has come again – we celebrate World Bread Day! And you are welcome to join the celebration! World Bread Day is my favorite food day. There’s nothing like getting your home-made bread out of the oven. This feeling, the scent of bread, the crackling crisp crust all this is simply priceless!

  • Bake a bread, take pictures and publish your blogpost on 16th October 2019. Not before and not after this date […] Submissions can only be accepted until October 17.

For more information about how you can participate in World Bread Day, please see


edit 19 October 2019: I cannot believe that I neglected to mention that Wednesday was World Bread Day!! Alas, I’m too late to participate in the WBD 2019 roundup, but I have now, in retrospect, added a link to Zorra’s (Kochtopf) announcement anyway.


This entry was posted in baking, BBBabes, bread - yeasted & unyeasted, bread recipe, food & drink, posts with recipes, whine on by .

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6 responses to “Apple Bread with Cider and Not-Calvados (BBB October 2019)

  1. Kelly (A Messy Kitchen)

    Look at those! Gorgeous! I found that for folding in the apples, I needed to use the bread scraper and that stretched the dough slowly enough that it did not break around them. If I tried to pick up the whole ball and stretch and fold, it ripped on me. I think rye has less flavor than people think because it is normally associated with a strong herb like caraway. I love it either way, but I know you’re not a fan of caraway!

    19 October: I wish I’d thought of that, Kelly! But, knowing me, I would have been too lazy about having to remove the dough from the bowl and then having to put it back in the bowl….
    When we add rye flour to our Tartine bread, we can always taste it. But I didn’t really detect its flavour in the apple bread. I keep wondering if it’s because of the addition of the cider.
    – Elizabeth (I actually love rye bread with added caraway – it’s eggs that I’m not wild about…).

  2. Katie Zeller (Thyme for Cooking)

    Oh, I can definitely see leftover T-Day sandwiches with this. We have such a vast choice of cider here – too bad I can’t send some over…. Too bad it’s not appreciated sufficiently in North America to have good producers.
    Hmmmm, I’ve a mind to go out and get some cider….

    19 October: Do, Katie. Do! And please send us some while you’re at it. Considering the number of apple orchards nearby, it should be appreciated! And there IS decent soft cider here. I confess that, after being disappointed a couple of years ago, we had pretty much given up on getting good dry cider. So I was surprised last week to see that there are now a number of apple ciders from Ontario readily available to us. We’ll try a different brand – one of the “dry” ones that is from a small independent cidery – and maybe, by a miracle, it will taste at least something like our memory of the fantastic French apple ciders we’ve had when travelling in France. – Elizabeth

  3. Simona (briciole)

    Making bread teaching us about being patient, waiting for time to do its thing. What a nice loaf of bread you made! I am intrigued by the use of apples. I have made bread with various added ingredients (corn, carrots, winter squash), but not yet apples.

    26 October: Thank you, Simona! And, yes, the apples are a really nice addition. But I think it’s the apple cider that really makes the bread spectacular. – Elizabeth

  4. Tanna (My Kitchen In Half Cups)

    Gorgeous “ears”! Alas, with good bread the worst thing is it disappears too fast.
    I admire your “soldiering” on without apples for the bread on the outside (I couldn’t figure that out either) and to do a tartaine with leftover apples. Beautiful.
    Yes, I totally get the calvados thing. I found some in Michigan…the bottle was $200, the few tablespoons this called for did not get filled in my kitchen. I know the last bottle I bought didn’t come close to that cost but it’s long gone.
    I don’t think there was enough rye here to come through in flavor.


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