Sourdough apple bread

This bread is made with a sourdough starter from apples that have been fermented in water-kefir. It was originally inspired by a Joe Ortiz recipe in his book The Village Baker which takes the better part of two weeks. By fermenting the apples in water-kefir and then following my basic water-kefir sourdough bread recipe I've considerably shortened it to just three days.

The apple starter

Provided that your that water-kefir has a good quick to it your apples will ferment beautifully in one day only.


Put the grated apples to ferment in the jar, add your sweetener, and cover with freshly made water-kefir. Cover the jar and leave overnight in a very warm place. I put mine in the airing cupboard. Then feed your water-kefir grains with another teaspoon of whatever sweetener that you are using, and top up with water. For more details about this check it here in my basic water-kefir sourdough bread recipe.

The apple sourdough starter

When your apples are bubbling away nicely and have a nice heady scent you are ready to start making your bread with them. Normally this fermentation step takes one day with me.


In a medium bowl mix the flour with your lively apple brew and add enough water-kefir to get a thin batter. Cover and leave overnight in a very warm place. Mine goes back to the airing cupboard. Again don't forget to feed your water-kefir grains with another teaspoon of whatever sweetener that you are using, and top it up with water.

The sponge

So the following morning you are going to add to your apple sourdough starter, which should be bubbling away nicely, quite a good lump of flour. Ingredients:

4 cups/ 500 g: strong unbleached white bread flour 1 tea spoon: concentrated apple juice/ honey/ maple syrup 1 cup/ 240 ml: water-kefir, see text

In a medium bowl mix your starter with the above ingredients. Mix the whole thing vigorously with a wooden spoon, cautiously add enough water-kefir to make a nice working dough. Knead it until elastic, cover with a damp cloth or plastic, and leave for a few hours in a very warm place. Mine goes back to the airing cupboard. In the afternoon, if everything goes well, it should look a lot bulkier and spongier, and if so you are now ready for the last stage. Otherwise wait until the next day or, if you are in a hurry, add a bit of bakers yeast in the next stage.

The dough

You are going to add to this dough lightly cooked apples. They will be added after the dough has risen and this will be terribly messy but it works. Just oil tins very thoroughly and hope that the bread will not stick to them too much. If you think that your dough isn't rising that well, then add a sachet of fast action bakers yeast .


3 loaves


Oven at 220º C, 425º F, gas mark 7.

Tip the sponge in a large pre-warmed large bowl and add it to the flours, salt, and oil. Slowly add enough water-kefir to obtain a good kneading dough. Knead vigorously until the dough is soft and elastic. Cover with plastic or damp cloth, and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled. Meanwhile peel and slice your apples then very lightly sauté then in butter, they must keep their shape. Leave aside to cool. When the dough has risen knock it down on a well floured board. Spread it and incorporate the cooled apples as best as you can. Divide in three equal portions, put them in well oiled tins. Cover again, this time with oiled cling film so that when you remove it doesn't stick to the dough and deflate it. Again, let the bread prove in a warm place. When well risen, remove the cling film and bake in a very hot oven for about 35 to 40 minutes or until it sounds hollow. Cool on racks.

I usually make this bread with our own Golden Noble apples, my next choice would be Cox Orange Pippin. However any other good flavored apples will do. It is a scrumptious bread, well worth the effort and the best apples that you can get hold of.

Pear bread is even better. Follow the recipe above by replacing them with the apples. Good luck and do let me know of your results!

Date: 5-12-2005

Author: Maria Fremlin

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