A few years ago, I happened to pick up a Farmer’s Almanac and from it I learned about the Native American practice of naming each recurring full moon. I think it’s a lovely way of keeping track of the seasons – the names are so evocative. Like a lot of people, I work indoors so I don’t often think about what’s going on outside. Every month though, I look up which Moon we are in to remind myself that the seasons are changing, mother nature is doing her dance and the universe unfolding as it should. It all makes me feel small, but in a good way. The cares and worries of my life are insignificant when measured against the enduring cycles of nature.
(poetic waxing complete)
Hunter’s Moon 2011 saw me crazy for apples. I made a habit of buying a mixed bag every week at the local farmers’ market. Having so many different kinds of apples on hand was wonderful because it allowed me to experiment with lots of different tastes and textures. I know the idea for this bread started with an apple, but I cannot for the life of me remember how I put all the rest of it together.
What probably happened is I had all these things on hand, got a bug in my bonnet to cook (a very common occurrence) and thought what the heck, let’s see what I can do with this.
Thus was Hunter’s Moon Bread born. It took me several tries to get the spices right, but I luckily had some tasters along the way willing to choke down my less-successful efforts. I think, possibly, just maybe, this is pretty damn good. Now if only I could get the pictures to do the food justice!
(click for printable version)
1 12 oz amber or nut brown beer, at room temperature
2 ¼ tsp yeast (1 packet)
2 Tbs butter, melted
1 Tbs honey or agave nectar
2 c all-purpose flour
1 ½ c whole wheat flour
2 tsp salt
flour for kneading
1 lb mild breakfast sausage
1 large apple, peeled & chopped
2 med yellow onions, chopped
1 Tbs honey or agave nectar
1 tsp caraway seeds
½ tsp rubbed sage
½ tsp salt
¼ c water
8 oz smokedgouda, shredded
3 Tbs whole seed2 orDijonmustard
milk or egg wash for sealing
Prepare the dough: Mix the beer, yeast, honey, and butter in a large mixing bowl. Let it sit until the yeast has dissolved, ~ 10 minutes. Mix flours and salt in a separate bowl then add to the yeast mixture until a dough ball begins to form. Turn the dough out onto a surface dusted with flour. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, adding flour as needed to keep dough from sticking, ~ 5-10 minutes. Place the dough in a large bowl greased with butter, turning to coat the dough, cover loosely with a wet towel and let it rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size, ~ 1-2 hours.
Prepare filling: Cook sausage over medium high, breaking up chunks as you go. Remove cooked sausage remove from pan, leaving rendered fat. Add the onion and apple and cook until tender, ~ 5 minutes. Add the honey, caraway seeds, rubbed sage and salt and cook a few minutes longer until fragrant. Add water to deglaze the pan and cook until the moisture is reduced and the mixture is a slightly dry. Combine the apples and onion with cooked sausage and let cool to room temp. Mix in the shreddedgouda and store in the refrigerator until the dough is ready.
Prepare the loaves: When dough as finished rising, punch down, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly. Let dough rest for a few minutes then divide dough into two equal pieces.
Lightly flour a surface and roll each piece into a 10” x 14” rectangle. Spread half of the mustard on each piece, leaving a 1” border. Next, layer 1/2 of the filling. Brush the entire border with milk. Starting with one of the long sides, roll each loaf tucking in the ends as you go. Pinch seams and ends firmly to seal. Place the loaves, seam side down, on parchment-lined baking sheets. Cover with plastic wrap followed by a hot damp towel and let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled, ~ 30 to 60 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 ° F. Brush loaves with milk making sure to get the entire surface. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, let cool at least 15 minutes before cutting.
To reheat: Cut loaf into 1” slices. Heat a few tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Toast slices, ~ 2 minutes per side, until cheese is melty.
1 This bread is adapted from this recipe for Beer Bread. I love this recipe! It’s so easy and the results are so satisfying. When I’m using this recipe just to make bread, however, I typically replace the all-purpose flour with bread flour. Bread flour makes the loaf chewier.
2 Regular old Dijon mustard will work great in this recipe, but can I recommend this Whole Seed Mustard? It is absolutely AMAZING!!! And made here in the great state ofMichigan.