This fluffy homemade apple bread is perfect for sandwiches, grilled cheese or just eating toasted and slathered with butter. It’s not a sweet bread, but rather a sandwich loaf studded with apples!
Activate the yeast. In a large bowl using a whisk or the paddle attachment of a heavy-duty electric mixer, combine the yeast, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, warm water, warm milk, and 1 cup of the all-purpose flour. Beat until smooth, about 30 seconds.
Prep the apples and nuts. Allow the mixture to rest while you peel and dice the apples. Add the apples and walnuts (if using).
Add remaining ingredients. Add the butter, salt, egg, cinnamon, and nutmeg to the bowl. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and the 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour. Mix well. Add the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, until a soft dough that just clears the sides of the bowl forms. If you are doing this by hand, you may need to switch to a wooden spoon.
Knead the dough. Switch to the dough hook and knead for 4-5 minutes, adding additional AP flour 1/2 tablespoon at a time, if necessary, to prevent sticking. If kneading by hand, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-6 minutes. If any of the fruit falls out, simply push it back in. The dough is ready when it’s smooth to the touch and springs back when pressed.
Allow the dough to rise. Grease a deep container with about 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil. Place the dough in the container, turning once to coat with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.
Deflate the dough. Gently deflate the dough with your fingers and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 3 equal portions, and roll each portion out into a smooth, thick strip about 15 inches long, with the ends slightly thinner than the middle. Lay these ropes side-by-side, not quite touching.
Braid the dough. Beginning in the middle and working towards you, braid the lower half of the three ropes. To braid, alternately move the outside ropes over the one in the center – left over, right over, left over – until you come to the end. Now go to the other side of your working space and braid the other half, this time moving the outside ropes under the center one. Braid tightly – you don’t want any gaps.
When you finish braiding each side crimp the tapered ends together, then tuck them under. (Check out my challah recipe for a step-by-step to braiding bread, it is the exact same method used here.)
Allow the bread to rise again. Using your hands, lightly grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with about 1/2 teaspoon olive oil. Transfer the braid to the pan. Pat your hands on top of the braid so that any oil on your palms is transferred to the dough. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until the dough has doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Preheat your oven. About 30 minutes before baking, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake. Place the loaf pan on a rack in the center of the oven and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until browned and the loaf sounds hollow when you tap it with your fingers.
Cool. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes in the pan, then transfer the bread to a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before slicing.
Keywords: sandwich bread, apple bread, homemade bread, bread for sandwiches