Apple Cinnamon Pecan Bread

When you live in San Diego near the coast, it’s easy to have a hankering for a visit to a small, old-fashioned town at this time of year — one you might find on a drive through the mountains and tucked up against the peaks amongst a few pine trees.  In an hour’s time, it’s quite possible to fulfill that desire with a trip to Julian to shop for antiques, enjoy a hearty country meal, and take home a Julian Apple Pie.  Situated just outside the Cleveland National Forest at an elevation of nearly 5,ooo feet, it does snow there from time to time, so if you’re lucky and have chains for your tires, you can check a snow day off your list as well — or better yet — get snowed in so you can stay at one of the cozy B&Bs there.

On the way to Julian, if you blink, you’ll miss the tiny town of Santa Ysabel, but rarely does anyone miss Dudley’s Bakery which has been an institution there for nearly 50 years.  At one point in time, the only way anyone could enjoy their amazing selection of bread was to wait in a line on the weekend with all of the other city dwellers out on a weekend drive.  Now, their bread is available in a wide variety of locations across Southern California.  Lucky for me, our local Henry’s market sells it, and once in a blue moon, I’ll see my favorite Julian Apple Nut bread — a slightly sweet, rich brown boule of bread I love to toast and butter for breakfast.

With that in mind, I decided to make some apple nut bread and was surprised to find that unless I wanted a non-yeasted batter bread, it might not be all that easy.  I wanted chunks of apple, the nice crunch of nuts, and cinnamon, of course.  Something not all that different than a loaded cinnamon roll or even raisin bread  would be perfect — no glaze.

Mmm…

p.s.  I’m supposed to be posting Christmas cookies, but am left posting things I baked before my knee surgery.  With good luck, I’ll be in the kitchen soon, or coerce my husband to do it.  We’ll see!


just a cup of little apples
Apple Cinnamon Pecan Bread

Dough Ingredients

1 c. water

1/2 c. whole milk

1/4 c. unsalted butter

4 c. bread flour

2 tsp. salt

1/4 c. sugar

2-1/4 tsp. active dry yeast

Filling Ingredients

2/3 c. raw sugar or turbinado

4 tsp. cinnamon

2-4 T butter, divided

2 c. apples, peeled, cored, thinly sliced

1 c. pecans

Directions

  1. In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine yeast, 1 cup flour, and remaining dry ingredients.
  2. In a separate container, mix water and milk,  and heat to 110º  F.
  3. Pour the liquid ingredients into the bowl containing the dry ingredients,  and using the paddle attachment, mix on medium for 4 minutes.
  4. Switch to the dough hook, and gradually add enough remaining 3 c. flour to knead  5 to 7 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  5. Turn dough out of bowl, clean the bowl, then lightly oil.
  6. Return dough to the bowl and turn it about to grease top.
  7. Cover and let rise in a warm place free from drafts until dough doubles in size.
  8. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and  punch down.
  9. Divide dough into 2 equally sized pieces, then let rest about 10 minutes.
  10. While the dough is resting, mix the sugar and cinnamon.
  11. Lightly spray two large loaf pans with cooking spray and set aside.
  12. Roll or pat each piece of dough into an approximate 12 x 8- inch rectangle.
  13. Brush each with melted butter and distribute apples and pecans evenly over dough.
  14. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture evenly over the apples and nuts.
  15. With a dough scraper or large knife, chop apples, pecans,  and cinnamon sugar lightly into the dough until apple slices are about 1/2 -inch and pressed into the dough.
  16. Carefully fold the dough over the mixture,  lift and place it into the prepared loaf pans.
  17. Tuck the dough ends under and press it a bit to fit pan if necessary.
  18. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel, and let rise until almost doubled in size.
  19. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown. Brush with additional melted butter.
  20. Allow to cool in pans about 10-15 minutes before removing from pan and then finish on parchment or plastic covered wire rack.

Enjoy warm if you can, but no one would need to twist my arm.

Notes:

  • This recipe is an adaptation of one published by Red Star Yeast.
  • The original directions provide different methods for making this bread, so if you don’t have a standing mixer, please refer to the link above.
  • I didn’t have bread flour, so used all-purpose flour and an additional 4 T of Bob’s Red Mill Vital Wheat Gluten.
  • The original directions ask for the liquid to be heated to a temperature higher than what I’m used to when working with yeast, so I opted for the lower temperature stated above, then used the proofer in my oven which is a steady 85 degree environment.  It took the dough quite a long time to double in size — more than 90 minutes.  Hmmm…
  • On the chopping of the ingredients into the dough:  This was strange.  My dough was quite smooth and elastic, so chopping the ingredients into the dough also chopped the dough which made any type of neat rolling not quite so neat.  I experimented a bit with adding the sugar mixture first, then the apples and nuts on one piece of dough before chopping and decided it all worked better to add the sugar and cinnamon last.  Regardless, it’s not neat and tidy and doesn’t need to be.  Just get it into the pan, holes and all.  It adds to the charm of the finished loaves.
  • When I make this again (and I will) I’m going to coarsely chop the apples and nuts in a bowl, then press them into the dough after adding the sugar to see how that works in comparison.  Just curious.
  • The second rise also too more time than expected — about an hour or so.  In the large pans, the dough didn’t quite make it to the top of the pan.
  • I baked the loaves 40 minutes and got only the lightest shade of brown on the tops, buttered them, then put them back in for an additional 5 minutes to see if I could brown them more.
  • Be careful taking the bread from the pans.  The sugar mixture is quite hot and a bit sticky.  All the more reason to lick your fingers, but you’ll need to for more than the syrupy goodness if you’re not careful.
  • If you leave the loaves in the pan until they’re completely cool, you’ll have to use a knife around the edges to remove it, and depending on how much of the syrup is on the bottom of the pan, they may stick.
  • It slices so nicely, has a lovely texture, holds up in the toaster just fine, and is great for breakfast or a snack.
  • We enjoyed one loaf, then I sealed the second up in a zip lock and put it in the freezer so I can make French toast for Christmas breakfast.
  • Although this bread is nothing like Dudley’s yummy Julian Apple Nut bread, I was quite satisfied with the results.  Very, very tasty!
  • Now I need a trip to the mountains, just because.

22 thoughts on “Apple Cinnamon Pecan Bread

  1. Dropping a line to say I love your blog – been reading it for almost a year now! This bread looks fabulous, but I’m curious why the filling calls for the turbinado. ‘Round here brown sugar would be cheaper, per lb. Would it be the same to sub one for the other?

    1. Hi and THANKS for reading my blog. I get raw sugar in bulk at a small local grocer and love it, keeping it around mostly for my coffee, but also for occasions like this. Brown sugar would have been in the mix if I hadn’t had the turbinado on hand. Sometimes I like to mix a bit of brown and regular sugar. In something like this, it will be just fine. Let me know if you try it and if you get a better rise out of it than I managed. Appreciate greatly that you took the time to comment. : )

  2. I didn’t know you had a knee surgery. I hope you are feeling well :) And with that kind of bread I would want to go to the mountains, too. Can I come along? :D

  3. 1. Clearly, I’ve been out of touch. Your new site looks great!
    2. I love your style of writing.
    3. One of my favorite things to do on a weekend is to take a drive up to Julian & stop at Dudley’s along the way.
    4. This bread looks great!

    1. Thanks, Lori. I still have so much to figure out about all the bells and whistles of this theme, I’ve only tapped the surface. Maybe a New Year’s resolution, right? Wait. I don’t make those. Oh well!

  4. This is such a unique bread!! I’ve never made a sweet-flavored yeast bread, but it’s really festive and would make great presents!! Hope you’re on the mend soon, but in the meantime, keep posting recipes like this bread :)

    1. I know — I was surprised when I started looking for a recipe and really couldn’t find one. Go figure. I really liked it. I need to work on it a bit, maybe try a large round or something. We’ll see.

  5. i’ve never made a yeasted apple bread, but when (not if) i do, i’ll be referencing this–it looks awesome.
    meanwhile, get thee back to normal soon! :)

    1. Thanks — now how could I get tired? Your brand of humor is par excellence! I just get derailed on the visit schedule and then have to trawl through a site to catch up. Enjoyed catching up with yours the other day.

  6. This bread looks divine. I may have to ask my husband to make this recipe over the weekend. It looks perfect for a snowy winter morning. Sorry to hear about your surgery. Hope you’re feeling better soon!

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