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 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 sweet breads 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!)

4.79 from 14 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 (480g) Baker's Corner Unbleached 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 Baker's Corner Granulated Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Maple Butter
  • 1 cup (2 sticks, 226g) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup (32g) Baker's Corner Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 cup (85g) Specially Selected Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. In a large bowl that is not metal, mix the flour, salt, yeast, and water in a large bowl. 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 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 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

This recipe is brought to you by ALDI

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  • shay grady says:

    This looks and sounds so amazing! so perfect for this time of year also! x

  • Sue says:

    What size french oven? I have a Dutch oven, enamel lined but quite large, will it work for this bread?

    • Amanda says:

      I used a 4.6 qt French Oven 🙂

      • Carol beatty says:

        I have a large stone wear pot with lid from pampered chef could I use that

  • 2pots2cook says:

    So beautiful and comforting !Thank you very much !

  • Lance says:

    Just made this bread. It is fantastic very tasty. Do make the butter adds another flavor profile.

    • Amanda says:

      So glad you enjoyed it Lance!!! And yes, that butter is a must! <3

  • Karen Hill says:

    Can you make this the day before and leave it in the fridge and bake it off in the am

  • Charles Burton says:

    Can you give reference to where I may purchase the French Oven @ 9/19 listed price of $24.99 ? I do not see any key to a sale site. Thank You.

    • Laura Miller says:

      Check an Aldi grocery store near you. That is where I just bought mine.

  • Staci says:

    Where to purchase the French oven for 24.99??

  • Mary A Porter says:


  • mariainnj says:

    Amanda with regular no knead bread you heat the dutch oven in the oven to get it hot first. Are you sure you are adding the bread in a cold dutch oven?

    • Amanda says:

      Absolutely sure. 🙂

  • Linda says:

    This reminds me of an apple fritter! I can’t wait to try it. Thank you for sharing.

    Wishes for tasty dishes, Linda

  • Lynette O'Nan says:

    Where do I get the French Oven for $24.99?
    I really want to try this bread, it looks delicious. Thanks.

  • Debbie M Trevino says:

    I bought my French Oven in Red (beautiful) from Aldi. I haven’t baked in it yet but I did make a fabulous chicken stew/soup in it.

  • Cheryl wilk says:

    Can you use a crock pot ceramic insert
    to bake this?

    • Jackie Clifford says:

      Cheryl: That’s what I used. I unscrewed the lid knob (it melts) and inserted twisted aluminum foil and used that in the oven. Worked perfectly! I went to Aldi to buy a french oven, but the clerk stated when they put it out on the shelves, it went like hot cakes. Sold out that day!

  • Jane Morrison says:

    This recipe is amazing with so few ingredients. I used half white whole wheat and half unbleached white flours. It turned out perfect just like the picture. I used a large oval Corning ware covered casserole to bake it in.

  • Brenda says:

    This came out perfect! I used honey crisp apples popular in my area. I also baked my in my Crofton dutch oven from aldis $24.99. Made the butter also but added a little fresh ground nutmeg. Delicious!!

  • Meg says:

    Q: Does the first 45 minutes in oven include warm up time? Or once it hits 425? Thanks!! Looks amazing!

  • rick says:

    Looked and smelled fantastic coming out of the oven. Unfortunately that is where the love story ends. Despite following directions EXACTLY, the bread was totally stuck to the sides and bottom of my enamel coated dutch oven. AND aside from the apples, this totally and I mean totally tasteless. won’t be making this again. Ever.

    • Amanda says:

      So sorry you had that experience, Rick. The French Oven is supposed to be lightly greased before you place the bread in it. As far as the flavor, it is a basic bread with apples and cinnamon. I’m not sure what your expectations were? We found it (in the 20+ times I tested the recipe) to be very flavorful, especially with the cinnamon sugar coated apples. It’s not supposed to taste like a dessert quick bread.
      Sorry you don’t want to try the recipe again, but I do thank you for trying it and offering your feedback.

      • Karen Otter says:

        Rick. Did you use honeycrisp apples or granny smith? Add 3/4
        More apples. Chop into smaller pieces add more sugar and cinnamon. Rest exactly as recipe. Mine was like a less sugary apple fritter bread! So yummy! You will miss out on a favorite good enough to give as a Xmas present!

  • Sherri says:

    What if you don’t have a french oven?

    • Amanda says:

      You can use a baking sheet.

  • Mary Burt says:

    Can this apple bread be made with soaked flour and sourdough starter? I have trouble eating any bread that is not sourdough.

  • Brooke Capos says:

    Amanda —

    I am accustomed to some shortening in my dough. Also, I haven’t worked with a bread recipe starting with cool water. Please confirm this is all right.


    Brooke Capps

  • Jackie Clifford says:

    I made this bread for home and for work. OMG! It went over so well, people were coming back in my office for more (none left). I usually don’t like cooked apples, but I loved it, especially with the Maple Butter! Delish! Thanks.

    • Amanda says:

      So so glad you liked it, Jackie!!!

  • Tim says:

    Has a anyone added sugar? Bread was tasteless.

  • Charrison says:

    Was really bummed!! The only thing I didndiffernely was bake it in a Dutch oven because I’ve baked artisan bread in it before and it came out amazing. However even with greasing the bottom and sides my bread stuck and was burnt on the bottom. Once opening the bread it was still wet/uncooked around the apples. Not sure where I went wrong.
    The butter came out amazing though!!!

  • Lynn says:

    Instant and Active Dry Yeast can be interchangeable…the only difference is that with ADY, you need to correct the ratio and soak it before adding. Active dry yeast and instant (or rapid-rise) yeast are the two most common yeasts available to us as home bakers. The two yeasts can be used interchangeably in recipes, but active dry yeast needs to be dissolved in water before using while instant yeast can be mixed right into the dough.For dry active yeast you generally need to use half the quantity of fresh yeast stated in the recipe and for instant yeast you need to use 1/4 of the quantity of fresh yeast. So if the recipe has 30g (1 ounce) fresh yeast then you can use 15g (1/2 ounce) active dry yeast or 7g (1/4 ounce) instant yeast instead! Happy baking! 🙂

  • Sandra Krzewinski says:

    This turned out amazing. I actually had a snafu in the beginning added more water then too much water..I ended up adding more flour..followed everything else and couldn’t be happier. Thank you!

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