As a child, I remember Grandpa Bob coming by on the weekends with bags of groceries for our family. He and grandma would go to the commissary and always get a few things for us too. My parents often struggled with finances so it was always very appreciated. Grandpa was a diabetic so he liked to live a little through his grandkids. There would always be a sugary treat; vanilla ice cream, windmill gingerbread cookies…and sometimes a delicious apple nut bread that he would drive over an hour to get. When he bought the apple nut bread, he always bought several loaves. To pass out to family and friends.
My other grandparents (his in laws), and my aunt recalled receiving loaves of this delicious apple nut bread from Grandpa Bob too. That was just how he was. A giver. He would do anything to help a friend. I remember him bringing us this bread until I was 14 years old or so. That was around the time he was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). The disease took away all of his independence. No more weekend drives, no more stopping by to see family and friends. It was so heartbreaking. Grandpa passed away before I ever thought of asking him where his favorite bakery was that made that special bread.
I wanted to share this childhood memory with my children and so I decided to recreate the bread to the best of my memory. A delicious light, pull apart bread with diced apples, a buttery cinnamon filling, chopped walnuts, and drizzled in glaze. This bread has quickly become a family favorite and I am so happy to be able to share it with my children! Even though Grandpa didn’t make his bread, we still named it after him since he inspired it.
I turned to my basic white bread dough for a base. It is my “fool proof” recipe that turns out amazing every time. I knew it would work great for this apple nut bread too.
I like using my kitchenmaid to make my dough and use the dough hook instead of kneading. If you don’t have one, just use a hand mixer or wooden spoon and knead on a floured surface just like you would for any other yeast bread dough.
Grandpa Bob’s Apple Cinnamon Nut Bread
2 cup water ( warm )
4 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1/4 cup Sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Canola oil
5 1/2 cup bread flour
1/2 cup butter
1 c. brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoon cornstarch
4 apples ( peeled, cored, diced )
1 cup walnuts ( chopped )
1 c. Powdered Sugar
1 tablespoon butter ( softened )
2 tablespoon milk
In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water, and then stir in yeast. Allow to proof until foamy (about 5 minutes). Mix salt and oil into the yeast. Mix in flour one cup at a time. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
While dough raises, make your filling. In a saucepan, heat butter and sugar and cinnamon on medium heat until melted. Add vanilla and cornstarch and stir until mixture begins to simmer. Add apples and cook on low for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in walnuts. Set aside.
Gently punch down dough and divide into two sections. Roll one section out into a 12×15″ rectangle. Spread half of the filling on your dough. Using a pizza cutter, slice your dough into 15 squares. 4 slices along the 15″ side and 2 slices down the 12″ side.
Grease 2 bread pans with shortening.
With a spatula, stack your squares 3 or 4 at a time and begin filing them into the pan on their sides. This will get messy and that is ok. Just scoop them up and get them in the pan. Repeat with the other section of dough in the other bread pan. Let loaves raise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
Place a baking sheet, lined with foil, under your pans to catch any drips.
Bake in a preheated oven @ 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Lightly cover pans with foil (tent them) and bake for an additional 30-35 minutes or until tops are light brown and firm.
Cool (in the pans) on a cooling rack for 25 minutes before removing bread from the pan. After 25 minutes, gently turn pans onto their sides and remove the bread. Handle carefully, as this is a pull apart bread.
Mix ingredients for glaze, adding milk 1 tsp. at a time until it reaches desired consistency. Drizzle bread with glaze.
Enjoy one loaf and feel free to give the other one to a friend to keep the tradition going!