I have always said that it's easier to simply buy something in the grocery store, but it won't taste anywhere near as fantastic as if you made it from scratch! I also never thought that yeast would be a staple in my pantry, but boy was I wrong!
My husband brought home 2 large bushels of apples for me to make numerous apple pies, apple butter, and apple-anything-you-can-think-of! I wish I had taken a picture of my mother-in-law's kitchen as there were 5 of us peeling, slicing and chopping apples to make 10 quarts of apple butter. Our mistake? Starting at 6:00pm. 6:00am would have made much more sense.
There was also another stupid mistake--multiplying this recipe by 8 and thinking all of the apples would fit in one of the large pots I own. Nope...try two giant pots.
Last mistake? Not multiplying the oven time. Oh well, lessons learned!
On a different note, that was the 2nd time I made this recipe. The first time, I tried only what was written and it turned out amazingly! Because of that, my advice would be to absolutely make this recipe--but don't multiply it more than 2 times.
Homemade Apple Butter
Total Time: 3 hours, 40 minutes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 3 hours, 20 minutes
- 4 pounds of assorted apples, peeled and chopped (I like Braeburn, Cortland, & Rome)
- 2 cups apple cider
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch ground cloves
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
- Combine apples, apple cider, brown sugar, and salt in a large oven-proof pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.
- Bring to a simmer, partially cover, and cook until apples are soft, about 20 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in lemon juice, cinnamon, vanilla, and cloves. Use an immersion blender to puree the entire mixture (or use a blender to puree small batches at a time. Return the mixture to the pot.)
- Bake, uncovered, stirring every 30 minutes for 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours. (Timing will depend on the type of apples you use. Also remember to add time if multiplying the recipe!)
- Remove from the oven and let cool completely if not planning on canning.
- (If canning) Remove from the oven and turn the temperature down to Warm or the lowest setting on your oven. Place a baking sheet in the oven and put the jars on the sheet upside-down. Boil a small pot of water and place 2-3 brand-new lids in the water. Pour apple butter into canning jars; wipe the top of the jars to make sure it is completely clean; without touching the sticky ring of the lid, place a lid on the jar and fasten with a jar band. Use a towel to tighten the band as much as possible. Set the jar on a flat surface that can withstand heat and do not disrupt the jar. Continue the process until all of the apple butter is gone. The jar lids should "pop" within 15-30 minutes once they have completely sealed.
Basic Italian Bread
Total Time: 3 hour, 26 minutes
Prep: 35 minutes
Inactive: 2 hours
Cook: 51 minutes
- 2 cups water (105-110 degrees F)
- 1 good teaspoon active dry yeast
- 5 3/4 cups bread flour
- 1 Tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten
- 2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
- Place water and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer and and allow the yeast to bloom for 5 minutes.
- Using a dough hook attachment, add flour and sugar to the bowl and mix on low speed until a dough starts to form. Drizzle in the olive oil and add the salt. Beat on medium speed 8-10 minutes, or until a smooth, elastic dough is formed.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, and turn to coat each side. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place away from drafts, for 1 1/2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Remove the plastic wrap and punch down the dough with the heel of your hand. Roll the dough up tightly, sealing the seams each time. Begin forming the dough into a round, elongated shape with rounded (not-pointed) edges.
- Preheat your oven lined with a pizza stone to 425 degrees F. If you do not have a pizza stone, and inverted baking sheet will also do the job.
- Place the dough on a separate baking sheet heavily dusted with cornmeal or semolina flour. Allow the dough to proof, covered with a slightly damp towel, for 30 minutes.
- Brush the dough with egg white and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Using a sharp knife, cut 3 (1/4 inch deep) slashes across the top of the dough, at a 45 degree angle. Spray the dough generously with water from a spray bottle, and place the dough on the pizza stone in the oven. Bake for 3 minutes, spray the dough again, and immediately close the oven door. Repeat a third time. (This is to ensure a crisp golden-brown crust--I did not have a spray bottle, so I used a wet paper towel--I will get a spray bottle for next time and see how the results differ!)
- Bake the dough for 45 minutes or until a hollow thud is heard when the bread is hit with the back of a wooden spoon. (Maybe because I didn't have a spray bottle, my crust started to get almost too brown, so I covered the bread with a piece of foil about 30 minutes into the baking process. Check your bread throughout the baking to see if you also need to cover.)
- Allow the bread to cool slightly before serving with your delicious, homemade apple butter!
Source: FoodNetwork for both recipes