Sweet-tart boiled cider and oats team up in this hearty loaf — it's a dream come true for buttered toast and grilled cheese sandwiches. Walnuts add welcome crunch, while High-Gluten Flour adds delightful chewiness. This bread begs to be baked during fall, but you just might find yourself craving it (and baking it) all year long.
To make the dough: In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast, water, boiled cider, milk, oil, sugar, oats, and 2 cups (240g) of the flour. Mix until combined, then cover and let rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.
After this rest (known as autolyse), add the salt, cinnamon, and 2 more cups (240g) of flour. Mix and knead for 5 minutes until a smooth, bouncy dough forms.
Add the apples and walnuts; knead for 3 more minutes, incorporating the apples and nuts. The apples will add some moisture to the dough; it will be stiff at first but become softer as you mix.
Cover the dough and let rest for 30 minutes. Then fold the dough by grabbing the edge inside the bowl, pulling up to stretch, then pressing it into the center to seal. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat this motion 8 to 10 times, until you’ve gone all the way around, stretching and sealing. This step helps build strength in the dough.
Cover the dough and let it rest for 45 minutes. Repeat the folding process as described above twice more at 45-minute intervals.
To shape the bread: Turn the dough out and form into a ball. Place in a greased Dutch oven or baking crock, seam-side down. Brush the top of the dough with the egg wash and sprinkle with oats.
Put the lid in place and let rise for 1 hour, until it looks puffy. Toward the end of the rise time, preheat the oven to 425°F.
To bake the bread: Put the covered crock in the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 400°F, uncover the crock, and bake for 15 minutes more, until the center reads 190°F when measured with a digital thermometer.
Remove from the oven, turn out of the crock, and cool on a rack before slicing.
Storage information: Store in a paper bag on the counter for up to 3 days; freeze for longer storage.