I look forward to the apple season each year, hoping that my twig-like trees might produce some fruit this year. Spring comes and goes with some blossom but by the time apple season starts in August, nothing much appears. I think the trees are still too young: patience seems to be the key, something that doesn’t come too easily to me. Our local varieties such as Old Somerset Russet and Pendragon seem to be slow to give much of a harvest. However, there are always loads of apples looking for a home at this time of year which is perfect as I like to squash them in my Heath-Robinson apple press for a stock of frozen apple juice, or to make sweet bakes with them. I haven’t tried making a bread with them before so, over to our expert to come up with some simple, semi-sweet rolls which were easy to bake in a cloche, and these are just right.

We’re going all out English with this recipe, using a combination of Stoate’s stoneground flour to maximise flavour and texture. The rye gives these rolls depth of flavour, the wholemeal adds moisture and texture and the white contributes to a lighter finish. It’s best to chop the apples up reasonably small so they cook easily in the Muscovado and cinnamon butter. The cinnamon really brings out the sweetness of the apples and sultanas – and the kitchen will be filled with the smell of buttery, delicious, cinnamon-spiced bread. I love the cloche, it stops the apples for catching and burning, but it also means the rolls are thoroughly and evenly cooked in a constant mellow heat, which accentuates the natural sweetness of this recipes.

Apple and Cinnamon Sourdough Rolls

Mix – the night before

• In a bowl whisk your water and starter together well (if it is very cold you could add up to 50g more starter).

Combine all the flours and salt, mix with a dough whisk until all the ingredients come together into a large ball.

• Cover with cling film or a damp tea-towel and leave to prove in a cool room for 8 – 12 hours, ideally overnight.

Bake - the following morning

• Make the cinnamon butter by mixing the cinnamon, butter and sugar together to form a paste.

• Gently turn your dough out on to a dusted work surface, it is important not to stretch or manipulate the dough too much as this will knock all the air from the dough.

• Spread the cinnamon butter gently and evenly over the surface of the dough, then place the apple cubes and sultanas on top, with your hands gently roll your dough like a Swiss roll. Turn so the seam side faces down and cut your dough with your dough cutter into 7, shaping each into rolls, pinching at the base so they hold together during cooking. Try to handle the dough lightly while you shape it to ensure that the contents remain inside the roll. It doesn’t matter if pieces of apple slightly poke out of the rolls, but try to lightly pinch any exposed sultanas into the dough so they don’t catch while cooking.

• Place the rolls in the base of your cloche that has been liberally dusted with semolina – put one in the centre and the other six around the central roll to form a flower shape.

• Finish with a dusting of flour and cinnamon powder and then replace the lid of the cloche and leave on the side to rise a little more while you preheat the oven to 220C.

• Once the oven is heated, place the cloche containing the rolls into the oven and bake for 10 minutes, then turn the heat down to 190C, and bake for a further 30-35 minutes.

• Once baked and the base sounds hollow remove from the cloche and cool on a wire rack. Once cooled store your rolls in a linen or cotton bread bag or folded tea towel (if you want soft rolls put them into your bread bag while still warm).

Makes: 7 rolls


325g water at 28 degrees
50g 1:1 fresh sourdough starter – that has been refreshed (8 hours before you are ready to bake)
400g Stoates strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
75g Stoates wholemeal flour
25g Stoates rye flour
10g sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon, extra for dusting
40g soft butter
40g Muscavado sugar
1 medium dessert apple, peeled and diced
50g sultanas
Semolina, for dusting


Large mixing bowl
Dough scraper
Dough Cutter
La Cloche baking dome
Dough Whisk

Stoate’s Flours

Stoate’s has been milling quality flour in the West Country for the past 180 years.

Dough Cutter

Professional stainless-steel dough cutter or divider with curved corners for artisan bread bakers

Fresh Sourdough Starter

Fresh sourdough starter from Vanessa Kimbell, taken from a 200 year-old culture in France. It is fed on organic white wheat flour and water and delivered in a convenient pot to keep a small quantity in your fridge between use.

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