Artisan Apple Bread

filed under: Bread on September 16, 2018

This Artisan Apple Bread is a family favorite. Perfectly baked every time (it really is easy!) but tastes just like it was baked at a world-class French bakery. Have no fear, Artisan Bread is a fantastic way to show off your baking skills!

Artisan Apple Bread

Artisan Apple Bread

Artisan bread is best defined as who is making the bread. An artisan baker is a craftsperson who is trained to the highest level to mix, ferment, form, and bake a hand crafted loaf of bread. They incorporate the science behind the chemical reactions of the ingredients and use them to create the most optimal environment for the bread to develop. However, it can also be about the science behind the recipe. Artisan bread is all about the ingredients. They typically have flour, yeast, water, and salt. Some add in flavors and herbs like apple or tomato. With all artisan bread, it is important that every ingredient be real and familiar. No chemicals.

Learning to appreciate Artisan Bread is almost as much fun as eating it. I loved pouring over this recipe and others trying to understand everything I could about the process and ingredients.

Speaking of ingredients, I sought out the best I could find for this bread. I got a perfect Granny Smith that holds up beautifully in this recipe. I also picked up some all-purpose flour, yeast, and of course, salt. The basics for this amazing recipe and they did not disappoint!

Artisan Apple Bread Recipe

How to Make Artisan Bread

Now if you have ever been scared off by making real homemade bread, set all those fears aside. This recipe is considered a “no-knead” recipe which means that you don’t have to spend 20 minutes standing at your counter with your arms shaking and wondering why your kids are so quiet. The process of making this bread simply requires a little time, but it’s small bits of actual work.

You begin by making your starter. Mix the flour, yeast, salt, and water in a large bowl. Stir with a spatula to mostly incorporate then use your hands to work the dough a bit. This only takes about a minute, but really ensures that every last bit of flour is incorporated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and then let it sit about at least 8 hours, or up to overnight. (Max of 18 hours.)

How to make artisan apple bread

After 8 hours (and your dough has risen considerably), prepare the apples. I peeled and diced 3 small apples which yielded about 2 1/2 cups of diced apples. I chose to make fairly large bits of apple and I love biting into a big chunk in this bread, but you can certainly make them smaller.

Apples for Artisan Apple Bread

Add the sugar and cinnamon to your diced apples and stir to evenly coat.

Grab your dough and add the apples. Using your hands, work to incorporate the apples. Not every single little apple piece will be incorporated and that’s ok. Just let the apple pieces fall to the sides or place them on top.

Place the dough into a buttered French Oven, cover, and let the dough rise another 2 hours. It should rise noticeably, but not as much as before.

After 2 hours, place the French Oven with your dough into a cold oven. Be sure to set it on the bottom rack and remove the upper rack so that the French Oven will fit nicely and you will have room to remove the lid later. Turn your oven to 425°F and bake for about 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes, carefully remove the lid and allow the bread to bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until the top is beautifully browned, but not burnt.

Remove the French Oven and then carefully let the bread fall out onto a cooling rack. If you tap the bottom of the bread and hear a hollow sound, the bread is done.

Easy Artisan Apple Bread


Now here is my favorite part. Don’t slice the bread. When the bread is cool enough to touch, simply use your hands and tear off a big piece. This bread is meant to be eaten with your hands! And there is something magnificent about how the hard outer crust breaks away to reveal a warm soft interior. You can immediately smell the cinnamon and see the beautiful apple chunks.

Homemade Maple Butter

Not that this bread needs it, but I decided to make a decadent butter to smear all over this fantastic apple bread. And the recipe could not be easier! You just take some butter, add some, brown sugar, cinnamon, and maple syrup and add it to your stand mixer. Mix together and chill until ready to use.

When I tried this butter on the bread I was blown away by how amazing they taste together. The secret was the maple syrup. I used 100% Pure Maple Syrup and love the depth of flavor and sweetness it adds to the butter. I just might have to keep some in my fridge all year long because it goes great on everything!

Apple Bread

Tips for Apple Bread

You may have noticed that this recipe adds cool water to yeast. This is important to talk about because what kind of yeast absolutely matters! To make the addition of cool water work, we need to be using an Instant Yeast. Cool water can hurt Active Dry Yeast, as ADY cells require warm water to reconstitute their walls. As such Active Dry Yeast should not be used in this recipe.

I added apples before the second proofing because of the moisture that apples release. (They could hurt the first proofing.) If you are using dried apples you could add them to the first proofing dough. (I would make sure that you are using seasoned dried apples, ones with cinnamon baked on.) I will mention it again because it’s important, but I prefer a larger dice of apple, like at least 1-inch cubes. I have gone as big as 2-inch pieces and while delicious, it did not look as appealing and took away from the gorgeous bread.

What is a French Oven?

I got the beautiful Crofton Cast Iron French Oven (4.6-quart size) you see in the picture at ALDI. Based on a need for a lighter and easier to care for Dutch Oven, companies took the basic concept of a Dutch Oven and added the enameled coating.  These were then referred to as ‘French Ovens’ to try to distinguish them from Dutch Ovens. French Ovens are just as popular as Dutch Ovens (it’s probably what you have!), but the term French Oven itself never really stuck. So what is a Dutch Oven then? A Dutch Oven is typically made of all cast iron, has a tight-fitting lid, and can be used in the oven, on the stove top, or over an open flame. They are often seasoned inside (like how your cast iron skillet is seasoned) and if so, aren’t ideal for baking sweetbreads after they have been used for savory cooking.

Easy Artisan Apple Bread Recipe

If you want to make a crispy, crusty, gorgeous loaf of Artisan Apple Bread at home, the French Oven is the way to go.  It is the perfect vessel for making artisan-style loaves. The steam that’s created inside the pot miraculously transforms the dough, ensuring the bread’s crust will break into perfect portions and that the inside will be   (Remember, try tearing off a piece before slicing it!)

4.9 from 29 votes
Apple Bread
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Proofing Time
10 hrs
Total Time
1 hr 30 mins

This Artisan Apple Bread is a family favorite. Perfectly baked every time (it really is easy!) but tastes just like it was baked at a world-class French bakery. Have no fear, Artisan Bread is a fantastic way to show off your baking skills!

Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Apple Bread
Servings: 12
Author: Amanda Rettke
  • 4 cups (512g) All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Instant yeast
  • 1 3/4 cups cool water
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Granulated Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Maple Butter
  • 1 cup (2 sticks, 226g) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup (32g) Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 cup (85g) Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. In a large bowl that is not metal, mix the flour, salt, yeast, and water. Stir, and then use your hands or a dough whisk to mix and form a sticky dough.

  2. You will want to work the dough just enough to incorporate all the flour.
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let it rest at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight. It'll become bubbly and rise quite a bit.
  1. Prepare your apples. Peel and dice 2-3 apples so that you have 2 1/2 cups of apple pieces. Place pieces in a medium bowl and add the granulated sugar and cinnamon. Stir and make sure each piece is coated.

  2. Pour the apple pieces into the bowl with the bread dough and using your hand, knead the apple pieces into the dough. Some pieces will not incorporate and that's ok.

  3. Pour the apple dough into the 5qt French Oven that has been lightly greased.

  4. Place the lid on the French Oven and let the dough rise at room temperature for about 2 hours, until it's puffy. It should rise noticeably, but not as big as the first rise.
When You are Ready to Bake
  1. With the lid on the 5qt French Oven, place the bread in a COLD oven. Now set the oven temperature to 425°F.

  2. Bake the bread for 40 to 45 minutes, then remove the lid and continue to bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the top is deeper brown in color.
  3. Carefully remove the bread from the oven, turn it out onto a rack.
  4. When cool enough to touch, tear off a piece, add some Maple Butter, and enjoy!
  5. Store airtight at room temperature for up to a week; freeze for up to 3 months. (Make sure it is completely cool before placing in the freezer.
Maple Butter
  1. In the bowl of stand mixer, mix together the butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, and cinnamon until well blended, about 5 minutes on medium-high speed.
  2. Remove from mixer bowl and drop onto a clean piece of plastic wrap. Wrap the butter tight and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  3. For storage, cover with plastic wrap or waxed paper and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. You can also place in a sealable container or jar for storage.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

I used a 5qt French Oven for this recipe.

This recipe is brought to you by ALDI

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  • Peggy Tress says:

    Very easy and deliciousl! I have e made as apple bread, following the recipe to a tee. The only thing I would change is adding more cinnamon. Today we made it with 1 cup of sharp cheddar shredded, and it is fantastic! Thanks!

  • Kari says:

    This is just the kind of special bread I love to make. Thanks for sharing.

  • Patty says:

    Great bread I am so excited. I am a home made soap maker for 8 years now. I just love it. I also love the out come. So good for our skin
    Thank you fir what you do Patty cake soaps

  • Angie says:

    Could you use bread flour instead of AP flour?

  • Cindy Dobbs says:

    Thank you.

  • Bette says:

    Is there a different baking vessel I could use? Don’t have a French or Dutch oven.

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Bette! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. A large, oven-safe soup pot or stockpot would work for this recipe. Have a great day!

  • Patti Henson says:

    OMG, pulled my first piece off and put the butter on…..yummmmm. So easy and so flippin good. I love all your receipts! Thank you!

  • Patricia Swanson says:

    This recie seemed terrific to begin with, it I turned it into a sour dough variety. I used about 3/4 cup of an active, bubbling starter. I started to omit about 1/2C of the flour and the water, but ended up using it. All in all, the dough was typical of s our dough type-very moist. It rose for about 11 hours before I got to the next steps. I oiled my 4 Qt. Enameled Dutch Oven (round) and put the apples, coated with the sugar and cinnamon (with an extra tablespoon) into the dough.By then, it wasn’t very sticky at all. I plopped it into the pan and baked as directed. It fell right out of the pan, cooled, and we had it for dessert than night. This was. Great recipe nd will make it again soon.

  • Aisha says:

    I didn’t realize I had to let the dough rise for 8 hours, will it bad if I only let it rest for 5 hours instead

  • Hermann says:

    My wife found the APPLE BREAD recipe for me to try. As I don’t have a Dutch / French oven I made anther plan and used a Gugelhupf form. The instruction are perfectly clear and everything went smoothly and easily. I tried 250C for 15 min and then 200C for 30 min (15m) and the bread baked nicely. Next time I will try do 200C for 45 min to try and avoid a too dark crust on the bottom. Well Well Well… pleasantly impressed we were when we had our first sampling. I used honey instead of maple syrup (because we didn’t have any) and the honey flavour came through well and added to the overall pleasure. Thanks for this recipe ….it’s so easy…. now I will try some savoury fillings too.

  • Sneh says:

    Very nice turn out lovely

  • kimberly says:

    With regard to the maple butter, could it be stored in a jar w/ lid in refrigerator and for how long?

    What about making the butter ahead and freezing – how long could it be frozen?

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Kimberly! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. Maple Butter can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. It can be frozen for up to a year. I hope this helps, and have a great day!

  • Katrina says:

    Hi! I love this recipe. I followed the instructions word for word but used a Dutch oven instead. My bread was stuck to the bottom of the Dutch oven and did not slide off like the video. I had to scraped it off and lost a lot of the bottom bread. Did you grease the oven or used another method to keep it from sticking? Thank you for the tip!

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      So sorry that happened, Katrina. You can line the pan with parchment paper to avoid that in the future.

  • Patricia Lynch says:

    I made this today using my new Ceramic coated Dutch oven, it turned out beautifully. This will be my new go to recipe for a Winters day off.

    BTW I used a 3.5 qt dutch oven.

  • Tracy says:

    Thanks for the great bread recipe! I’ve made artisan bread numerous times but the addition of apple and cinnamon was so yummy! The maple butter was a great addition and I don’t usually eat butter at all! I will definitely make this again.

  • Jan Anderson says:

    When I made this in a thinner walled pot, the bottom got too brown. The next time I put a cold pizza stone in the oven to set the pan on. It came out perfect.
    Now my daughter gave me a French Oven. I am going to make this this week end.

  • CAROL P says:

    Made this yesterday! Couldn’t take a picture, it disappeared so fast!

  • I Am Baker Logo

    Brand new recipes that people find kinda acceptable.