The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Triple Apple Custard Sourdough

Shiao-Ping's picture

Triple Apple Custard Sourdough

This sourdough was inspired by MC's fantastic Double Apple Bread at her farine-mc site.  My family is big on apples and when I saw her post I knew I would have to try.    

I used to wonder how apples in a good apple pie don't stick to the pastry.  Last November I was in New York  for a rare Chinese concert of Liu Fang and in one of my sleepless nights adjusting to the time zone difference, I was watching the American Iron Chef Boby Flay in a quest trying to find the best apple pie in America.   In the show, the brown paper bag apple pie won the contest.  Ever since then, my apple pies have seen great successes (I've tried it with frangipani built in, I've tried it with a custard centre, I've tried it with both - they are all good) and even my father-in-law loved it.   I admit this is a convoluted way to explain why I ended up with excess custard in my fridge and why it found its way into this apple sourdough.  To me, custard goes so well with apples.   

While I made my custard bread every now and then (I use custard to hydrate the dough) and my kids love it, I was not sure how my sourdough culture would react to custard.  One would say you don't need custard as sourdough is flavorful enough.  In making this bread, I also resisted using any instant yeast.     

I followed MC's instruction on fermenting the fresh apples for 5 days here with double quantity.  But I am scared of soaking muesli overnight as she did because it reminds me of the many failed gluten-free breads that I used to make.  So, I just used rolled oats in this instance.   

Here is my formula:  

200g rye starter @ 75% hydration

360 g Lucke's Wallaby unbleached baker's flour (11.9% gluten)

50 g rolled oats (and extra for dusting)

75 g shop-bought dried apple slices (chopped)

30 g water

120 g of the sweet , alcoholic juice from fermenting the apples

100 g cooked Granny Smith apple puree

55 g home-made vanilla custard

75 g of the fermented apples, chopped (the rest of the apples went with bacon under griller as part of yesterday's breakfast!)

 9 g salt  

I've been wanting to try David's beautiful San "waa-keen" Sourdough but there is a picture of a crown bread from Auvergne, France, in Leader's Local Breads (page 100) that really took my fancy.  I am not confidant if I bulk ferment my apple-loaded dough for 21 hours, as in David's method, that I would be able to shape it into the crown shape without deflating the dough too much.   So, before all is said and done, I mixed, did 4 stretch & folds in a space of 3 hours, shaped, and then put the dough into my refrigerator just before mid-day yesterday.  Here is the shaped dough before it went in:   


    the shaped dough  

I was however uncomfortable with the varying temperatures in my big old fridge, -1C to 7C (30F to 45F).  It was quite cold last night - the air through my kitchen window registered 14C (57F); I thought, perfect, that's the temp that I want my dough to be in; so at the last min I took the dough out of the fridge (it'd been there for 12 hours) and placed it right next to the window before I went to bed. 

I baked it this morning at 9 (21 hours altogether for proofing!).  And here is the Triple Apple Custard Sourdough (what a tongue twister):  


                           Triple Apple Custard Sourdough  


                                                                                                      close-up 1


                   close-up 2



                                The crust


I am very happy how this sourdough has turned out.  The crumb is as open as I could have hoped for.  The mouth-feel is quite heavy as it is very moist with loads of apples.  Thank you, MC, I know you are travelling at the moment, but you'd be happy with this apple sourdough, knowing how much you like fruits, dried fruits and all that healthy stuff!  And, thank you, David, for your ever detailed instructions in all of your wonderful posts.




Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Shiao-Ping, you are amazing!  In many ways.


ques2008's picture

great stuff you've got.  thanks for sharing.

althetrainer's picture

That's mouth watering!

Paddyscake's picture

You do have the magic touch, beautiful!


Farine's picture

Shiao-Ping, you are just amazing! This apple crown looks scrumptious and I can just imagined waking up to it in the morning for breakfast. I love the shape and I can't resist the crumb... Very tempting. Thank you so much for your kind words but I truly don't think you need anybody to inspire you. You are a very talented baker. Could you pls also post your recipe for the custard? I'd like to follow your example and try a custard bread.

Shiao-Ping's picture

Hi MC,

Thank you so much for your encouragement.

Do you have custard powder in America?  I think custard is more an English thing than American, right?  Or, another version is, the English may claim origin of custard ("Sauce Anglaise) but it really came from the French ("Creme Mousseline"); either case there is a lot of egg yolks in there.  I have stopped making this genuine custard a while ago because it is just too fattening.  I now just use custard powder (which is simply cornstarch with a bit of coloring and vanilla flavoring). 

The instruction that normally comes with the custard powder says for every 1 tbsp of custard powder you add 250 g of milk and 1/2 to 1 tbsp of sugar.  But for the simple custard bread that I made for kids, I use "thicker" custard, ie, 1/2 tbsp extra, plus 1/2 stalk of vinilla pod (or 1/2 tsp of vinilla essence). 

You can substitute shop-bought custard for this (in fridge section).  I have equally good result.  There are sometimes "thick custard (vanilla flavor)" or just "custard."  Either will be fine but you may need to dilute the "thick custard." 

Also, hydration will need to be adjusted.  A rough figure would be 110 - 115% of the weight of water is used for custard.  But you'll have to see with your flour.

Hopes this is clear.


wan ping's picture
wan ping

Hi Shiao -Ping

I want to try your fromula,but what's rye starter @ 75% hydration? and if I mix 1kg of rye flour with 750g water then how much fresh yeast I need to add in the starter? it's this make it rye starter @ 75% hydration?

I really love your Tiger bread, can i have your recipe to try and I am very new in baking,please info me the tips i need to know.

Wan ping

Shiao-Ping's picture

Hi Wan Ping

Thank you for your question.  200 grams of rye starter at 75% hydration is 114 grams of rye flour and 86 grams of water.  However, this is a sourdough starter; there is no commercial yeast.  You may want to read the lessons at The Fresh Loaf here first if this is unclear to you.  Also, here is great article about starter from the wild yeast blog.

My recipe for the mottled tiger bread is posted here in one of the comments.

Hope this helps.  Thank you again for your interest.