|warm, moist, yeasty and delicious... from a crock pot!|
I've had a crock pot for years and used it more times than I can count. But before I discovered Pinterest, the craziest thing I've ever done with my trusty little Hamilton Beach was cook some pork ribs. But use it to cook bread? Nah. So you can just imagine my extreme surprise when I found this recipe!
I'm keeping it pretty simple today with my Basic Crock Pot Rosemary Bread recipe but I've included two links on Amazon to really great cook books you can use for more exotic bread recipes to play with: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day.
Let's Get Cookin'
3 cups lukewarm Water (too warm and it will kill the little yeasties)
1 package Yeast (I always use Rapid Rise)
1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons Sugar
Note: You can leave the 1/4 cup of sugar out completely or use a sugar substitute like Splenda, but I adapted the recipe because I like a slightly sweeter bread.
1 1/2 tsp dried Rosemary
1 1/2 tsp Salt
6 1/2 cups Flour (I use Gold Medal Bread Flour but you can use any other type you prefer)
parchment paper and a crock pot
Mix the lukewarm water, package of yeast, salt, rosemary and all the sugar together in a large container with a lid or a large bowl. Even if you decide not to include the 1/4 cup of sugar, the two teaspoons of sugar gives the yeast something to 'eat' and helps make your bread rise better. Stir well to dissolve the yeast in the water. Add all 6 1/2 cups of flour at once and stir until all the water is incorporated.
Once the dough is thoroughly mixed, put the lid on the container but don't snap it closed because the gases from the yeast need to escape as the bread rises. If you don't have a container with a lid, cover the bowl with a clean dish towel, but expect the dough to completely fill the bowl. Let the dough rise for two hours and DO NOT punch it down.
|dough beginning to rise|
If you just can't wait any longer to cook your first loaf, wait for it to rise the initial two hours then tear off a sheet of parchment paper and line the inside of your crock pot. Then flour your hands and the surface of the dough very well because this sticky dough is going to, well... STICK LIKE SUPER GLUE to everything it touches.
Reach into the dough to pull off a piece and form it into a ball that weighs about one pound. This dough is also really, really stretchy as well as sticky, so you may want to actually use kitchen shears to cut off a piece of dough. Place the ball of dough into the crock pot on top of the parchment paper and let it rest and rise a second time for at least 45 minutes.
** This is very important! If you don't do allow adequate time for the bread to rise a second time, you will have bread that looks and feels like a concrete block.
It's Baking Time!
After you have rested the dough, brush the top lightly with some olive oil and sprinkle more dried rosemary and coarse ground salt on the top. Then put the lid on your crock pot and set the temperature on high. I cooked my loaves for 2 1/2 hours because my little Hamilton Beach is not the newest or most powerful crock pot on the market. Start your baking time at one hour then test every half hour to see how close to done your loaf is, adding extra time as needed.
Your baking time may also depend on what type of flour you use. For instance, whole wheat flour is denser and will take additional time to bake. To check for doneness, poke the top of the loaf. It should feel firm, not too soft and mushy, like a steamed bun.
The loaf will be a very light color on top, even when completely cooked, but you can brown it for a few minutes under the broiler for a nice toasty golden color.
|right out of the crock pot|
|after a few minutes under the broiler|
This recipe makes enough dough for three one pound loaves and can be refrigerated for up to two weeks. As the flavors mature in your 'fridge during that time, each loaf will taste a bit more like sourdough.
|refrigerated dough, Day Two|
The end result? Easy homemade bread without all the kneading, punching and fiddle faddling around in the kitchen. And the best part is that you don't have to tell anybody just how easy it was... It's okay to keep a little mystery you know.
|YUMMY CROCK POT GREATNESS!|