This fantastic recipe is via Cider Culture (which has a TON of great cider recipes and cocktail ideas). We claim nothing about this one besides the cider we made. Here's the original recipe with tons of tips, and a great video. One thing we did discover? The loaf pan might make all the difference.
Thanksgiving week can be hectic, mix the dry ingredients (store airtight) and make the salted maple butter in advance to make this quick bread easy for an anytime snack to serve arriving guests, or a coffee break while you finish up cleaning. If you're not hosting, drop off a still-cooling loaf a few days in advance to help your host get through prep. Taste of fall with apple and maple, delightful crunch from the oats on top, tender crumb, and arrives with its own butter!
We tried this recipe two ways — one loaf with Treehorn Dry, and one with Treehorn Ginger. There is a lot of flavor already in this recipe, so using Treehorn Ginger didn't seem to make a big difference. That said, the loaf pans we used to cook them sure seemed to make a difference. The pan used with Treehorn Dry batter is a very high-quality and well-known ceramic baking dish maker, and happened to be a much narrower and tall dish. It resulted in a much more tender crumb. The dish we used to bake the Treehorn Ginger version is also nice, but wider and shallower. Was it the dish shape? The dish quality? Who knows??! But we would recommend Treehorn Dry, and tall and narrow loaf pan!
For Maple Cider Bread:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder (seems like a lot, but just roll with it)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup — we used Canadian Grade 1 Light, but a darker syrup would give nice caramel notes
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided
12 ounces hard cider, room temperature — we made two batches, one each with Treehorn Dry and Treehorn Ginger
1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
For Salted Maple Butter:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Kosher salt, to taste
Flake salt, for serving (optional, but highly recommended)
Note — see more on this below, but for the butter, depending on where you are on the sweet preference spectrum, we found some fun alternates!
Full instructions on Cider Culture. Oven 375F, mix dry, add wet, barely combine. We added the cider at the very last minute on both so the carbonation could make little air pockets of tenderness in the bread. Add to dish, spread oats and butter. Recommend pressing down a bit on the oatmeal topping so it sticks a tad better post-cooking.
Back to the dish shape — it's entirely possible that the carbonation of the cider contributes to the fluffy tenderness, and the bubbles have that much less time to escape in a taller dish. We mixed the wet ingredients in mere minutes apart, and they cooked in the same oven.
Headed into the Oven
Coming out of the oven
Our oven may cook a little warm, but the bread was done in much less time than the 45 minutes in the original recipe.
Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then on wire rack. If not eating immediately, the minute the loaf is cooled, wrap tightly in plastic to preserve tenderness. While cooling, mix salted maple butter. Even at room temp it can be a little hard to spread — microwave for a scant 5 seconds to smooth it out. The flake salt topping is definitely recommended. If you're not into the sweeter end of things, either reduce the maple syrup in the butter a skosh, or do what we did and add smoked paprika with the flake salt on top for a more savory taste. Heavenly! Cinnamon, kampot pepper, even Himalayan pink salt would all be fun variations.
Recipe by Dish Works