Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Last month, when I was still pondering whether or not to turn on the A/C (we try not to use it before June), I needed to bake bread and didn't want to turn on the oven and add extra heat to the house.
I don't have a bread machine (that I could put outside or in the garage so it wouldn't heat the house), and for a brief moment, I thought of running to the thrift store to get one, since they seem to always have a few on their shelves. But then I thought of my slow cooker. I remember there used to be recipes for bread cooked in coffee cans in the original round Crock-Pots. That wasn't really what I wanted, but I looked online for something more "traditional" and found THIS RECIPE. It can be cooked in coffee can, but I have an oval Crock-Pot and the loaf pan I normally use fits in it just fine.
I "baked" the slow cooker bread out in the garage. The crust is not quite as dark as it would have been in the oven, but otherwise it turned out to be a nice loaf of bread. It was a little on the dense side, probably because I the humidity dictated that I add additional flour to the dough. I think under "normal" conditions, the next loaf will be lighter in texture.
What's more -- I didn't add any heat to the house baking it. This may very well become our staple bread for the summer.
I've copied the recipe verbatim for you; my changes are in red.
Couldn't Be Easier Slow Cooker Bread
Yield: 1 loaf
1 tbs yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk or buttermilk (I used kefir)
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs oil (I used extra light olive)
2 tbs honey (I used agave nectar; just trying something new as a sweetener)
1/4 cup wheat germ (I omitted because I didn't have any on hand)
2 3/4 cup whole wheat hard bread flour (I used a 50/50 mix of all-purpose and white whole wheat flours)
Grease a deep metal or glass bowl or 1 lb. coffee can. Set aside. In bottom of slow-cooker place 1/2 cup water and a trivet or some crumpled foil. Turn on high to preheat.
Dissolve yeast in water. Combine milk, oats, salt, oil, honey, egg and wheat germ in a mixing bowl. Add yeast mixture. Mix in flour and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. (I have a Bosch mixer and dumped everything in all at once and mixed. You should mix the dough according to what works best for you and/or your mixer.)
Turn dough immediately into bowl or can and cover *loosely* with foil. (I sprayed the foil with pan spray first, then laid it gently on top of the pan; it's there mostly to keep the condensation on the lid from dripping on the dough.) Place can or bowl in crock on trivet or crumpled foil. Cover and bake on high for 3 hours. (Mine temped out done (200°F) after just two hours.) Top of bread will not necessarily brown.
Just 15 minutes work time! A great way to have nutritious, fresh bread with a minimum of fuss, especially for small families. You don't waste oven energy for just one loaf of bread. Nice for a hot summer day.
Note: During the baking process some of the water in the bottom of the crock will condense on top of the foil covered bowl. Some will escape when occasionally lifting the lid (e.g.: when placing bowl in crock or when checking on the bread-- try not to check it too often). It's important that the bottom of the crock does not go dry. If you find your bread takes longer than 3 hours to bake you may need to add some hot water to the bottom of the crock.
Recipe published: Spring, 2000
Posted by Annie Jones at 7:15 AM