This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please visit the disclosures and privacy policy page.
Nov 7, 2015

Normandy Apple Bread with Levain and Apple Cider

Normandy Apple Bread with Levain and Apple Cider

This Normandy Apple Bread is made with both dried apples and apple cider in the dough. It's name is derived from the apple growing regions of France.

This recipe calls for dried apples, which you make yourself. I used some honeycrisp apples that I found at our local farmers market, and loved them. You an use any tart/sweet apple you prefer. I had a hard time judging how many apples to use to get to the correct amount, and made way more dried apples than necessary. Fortunately, the leftover apples were tasty on their own.

For the apple cider, I used unfiltered, which added an amazing apple-y flavor.

Bread geek talk alert: I used both a stiff levain (a sourdough starter that has a ratio of 60 percent water to flour ratio), and a small amount of yeast. The levain is mixed about 12 hours prior to making the final dough. If your sourdough starter has a different ratio of flour to water, you can either feed a portion of it a couple of times to bring it to 60 per cent, or just adjust the final dough.

Normandy Apple Bread with Levain and Apple Cider

This bread makes incredible grilled cheddar cheese sandwiches. We sliced the leftovers and stuck the slices in the freezer to save for making toast for breakfast. It's wonderful with butter.

The original recipe for this bread can be found in the wonderful book Bread by Jeffrey Hamelman. The book is the quintessential source for bread formulas and is a must own for anyone serious about bread baking.

Normandy Apple Bread Recipe

Makes two loaves
Slightly adapted from Bread by Jeffrey Hamelman, an amazing collection of breads. 



5.8 ounces bread flour
3.5 ounces water
1.2 ounces stiff levain (60 percent hydration sourdough starter)

Dried Apples

3 apples, cored, and cut into pieces
lemon or orange juice

Final Dough

1 lb 7 ounces bread flour
3.2 ounces whole wheat flour
7.4 ounces water
10.9 ounces (by weight) apple cider
1 T salt
1 tsp instant yeast
9.3 ounces of the levain
4.8 ounces of the dried apples


To make the starter:

The night before making the bread, feed you starter with flour and water. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for about 12 hours. 

To make the dried apples:

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. Core and peel the apples. Cut the apples into chunks.
  3. Toss the apples in the citrus juice and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  4. Bake for about 1 to 2 hours, until leathery.

To make the final dough:

  1. Add everything but the apples to the bowl of a stand mixer. 
  2. Mix on low for about 3 minutes with the dough hook.
  3. Check the dough for the appropriate moisture levels. The dough should be tacky, but not too sticky. 
  4. Mix the dough on speed 2 for about 3 minutes. 
  5. Add the apples and mix just until mixed in.
  6. Place the dough into an oiled bowl and let rise until doubled, about 1 to 2 hours. If the dough hasn't risen much after 1 hour, stretch and fold the dough.
  7. Divide the dough in half and shape into two boules or oblong loaves. Cover and let rise for about an hour to 90 minutes. 
  8. Bake the loaves on a baking stone in a 450 degree F oven with a steam pan. After 15 minutes, lower the temperature to 420 degrees F. and bake for 25 minutes more, until the interior of the loaf reaches about 200 degrees F. The boules can also be baked in preheated Dutch ovens. Remove the lids after about 20 minutes. 
  9. Let cool before slicing. 

Would you like to comment?

  1. Karen you're killing me, the Apple Bread with Levain and Apple Cider looks absolutely wonderful and delicious looking, going to copy your recipe and thank you for sharing.

  2. You made your own dried apples!

    Ok, I just developed a serious inferiority complex... wow! that is amazing, I remember needing some dried apples for a recipe and that made me drive around town until I found a grocery store that carried them

    great bread, I love that book!

    1. I actually was going to use store bought dried apples but the store was out of them. Of course they had them the next day!

      If I could only own one bread book (the horror!), that would be the one.

  3. Karen--LOVE this. And thank you for your bread geek talk--need to soak it all up!!

  4. Precisely what I was looking for, thanks for posting.


I would love to hear from you! If you comment anonymously, be sure to leave your name in your comment.