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 28 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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  • Psr says:


  • Barbie Lawrence says:

    Thank you for sharing. I’ve enjoyed making breads and pastries for 47 years. I’m looking forward to trying this.

  • Judy Whalen says:

    Can this recipe bee converted to gluten free?

  • Dixie says:

    What size French oven do you suggest?

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Dixie! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. We used a 4.6 quart French Oven. Have a great day!

  • Charlotte Baterdok says:

    Sounds so good. What size of French Oven do you use?

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Charlotte! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. We used a 4.6 quart French Oven. Have a great day!

  • Annie says:

    Just 1/2 teaspoon of Instant yeast for 4 cups of floor ?

  • Judith M Arri says:

    What size French Oven did you use? THis looks amazing.

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      We used a 5qt size. Will update the recipe to reflect that!

  • Lisa Spencer says:

    You don’t state what size french oven to use. Please edit.

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      We used a 5qt size. Will update the recipe to reflect that!

  • Hiromi Masuda says:

    do not have a French Oven, any suggestion as to what I can substitute?

  • susanne Penk says:

    Haven’t made this yet, but It sure looks great and can’t wait to try it. Do you have any with less Sugar? for people that can’t have all that sugar?

  • Mylene says:

    What if i don’t have a French oven? Can I just use a regular baking pan?? Thank you.

  • Donna Myers says:

    I am anxious to attempt your Artisan Apple Bread recipe but. did I miss the size of the french baker? Is it a two quart or more? Thank You in advance!

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      We used a 5qt size. Will update the recipe to reflect that!

  • Christine says:

    What size Dutch Oven do you use for this recipe. I will have to purchase one. Looking forward to trying this bread!

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      We used a 5qt size. Will update the recipe to reflect that!

  • Carole says:

    Sounds wonderful. What size is the French Oven?

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      We used a 5qt size. Will update the recipe to reflect that!

  • Deb says:

    OMG this sure looks yummy! Can’t wait to make it! And with the maple butter for sure! I looked through the recipe but didn’t find the recommended size of French Oven. I have two round French ovens, one bigger than the other. Just want to make sure it’s big enough to rise without issue. Thanks

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      We used a 5qt size. Will update the recipe to reflect that!

  • Deb says:

    BTW….thanks for explaining the difference between a Dutch oven and a French oven. Always thought I had Dutch…now I know they’re French. Thanks

  • Dorothy Newkirk says:

    How large of a French Oven is a good size for this recipe or what size just to have one on hand?

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      We used a 5qt size. Will update the recipe to reflect that!

  • John says:

    Just and old happy grandpa style man who has had is apron on for 60 years and counting. In making the Apple bread would it not help to add a Tbls of flour to cover the apples also. They would cling better to the dough. Depending on the wetness of the dough. Variables are always there and much is always done by sight and feel. My apple bread is in its last stages. Looking forward to the tasting of your recipe.🎨j

  • Gidgette says:

    What size french oven do you recommend?

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      We used a 5qt size. Will update the recipe to reflect that!

  • Laura says:

    What can I use instead of a french/dutch oven?

  • Bea says:

    Wonderful. Especially with the maple butter spread.i used my Dutch oven.i placed parchment paper on bottom of pot.

  • Maryann says:

    Awesome and easy. I added walnuts.

  • Kati Connell says:

    This recipe is misleading. It does not take 90 minutes. It has to profe for 8 hours

  • Pat Montgomery says:

    Loved it.
    A few less apple pieces for my taste & bread seemed a little flat. Thinking a little more salt would work.
    Do you have a recipe for herb & garlic artisan bread
    Also would like a cheese herbed artisan bread.
    Your recipe worked the way it should so would trust these additional recipes as well.
    Thanks in advance

  • Louanne says:

    I make two loaves of this bread every other week. One with apples and one without. The version without reminds me of New Orleans style French bread – delicate crisp crust and fluffy inside. I bake the without version in a long covered clay baker. Apple bread is our favorite breakfast bread.