Y’all, my friend Anne is a culinary genius. I just love her recipes and her website, Quick Easy Cheap and Healthy…she’s frugally minded, just like me. When lots of frugal people get together, watch out! Today, Anne is tickling our fancy with Crock Pot Bread. Oh baby….take it away, Anne!
I’ve been a big fan of the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day method, for a long time now, almost from the minute it was originally developed by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois a few years back. Anything that simplifies the bread-baking process is a wonderful thing, in my opinion, so I was quite excited when Zoe posted a brilliant new idea for baking bread on the Bread in 5 blog.
The brilliant new idea? Baking the loaf of bread in the crock pot.
In the crock pot.
Did I mention it was brilliant?
This just might revolutionize my bread-baking adventures. I mean, think of all the advantages:
- No heating the oven as high as it will go, thereby wasting gas (and money)
- No half-hour pre-heats in said hot oven to pre-heat the stone or cast-iron pan
- No fussing with steam baths
- Rise & bake in the same pot
- No heating up the kitchen in the middle of summer
So I set out to experiment with this new bread-baking method with a hefty amount of skepticism, but with hopeful anticipation as well.
The verdict? I found it an incredibly easy way to bake a delicious loaf of bread. Bread connoisseurs might complain about the lack of crustiness in the crust, but I happen to like a softer crust myself, so I thought it was perfect.
I used a sourdough bread recipe for my loaf of bread, but I think you can adapt this method to any bread recipe you have. I’ll give you the recipe that I used, but feel free to skip down to the baking method to give it a try yourself with your own favorite bread recipe.
Sourdough Bread in the Crock Pot
- 150 g sourdough starter
- 300 grams purified water
- 450 grams white whole wheat flour
- 8g salt
To Make the Dough
- Stir the starter, water, and flour in a stand mixer with the dough hook until thoroughly mixed.
- Let it rest for about half an hour, then sprinkle in the salt and knead it for 5-10 minutes.
- Then place the dough in a buttered bowl and turn it over so the buttered part is on top.
- Go run errands and play with your kids while it rises.
- After it’s been rising for a while, and appears to be more or less doubled, punch it down and let it rise some more.
- When it’s getting late and you need to bake it or else… proceed to the next step. (Note: I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t do the rising in the unheated crock pot like Zoe does with the artisan bread. I just used my mixing bowl because it was easier for me at the time.)
To Bake the Bread in the Crock Pot
- Either line the crockpot with a large sheet of parchment paper, or grease it thoroughly – until it shines!
- Shape your dough into a round or oval loaf and gently place in the middle of the crock pot.
- Let it rest for 20-30 minutes (unless you’re kind of in a rush), then slash it twice with a sharp knife.
- Put the lid on the crock pot and turn it on high. The amount of dough in this recipe took about 2 hours to bake through, but a smaller loaf would bake in around an hour. You can tell it’s done when the top of the dough responds only slightly to gentle pressure. It shouldn’t feel mushy, but firm to the touch.
- When the bread is finished baking, turn the crock pot off, and remove the crock from the pot.
- Allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes, then release the bread to cool completely on a wire rack.
Anne is the wife to a wonderful, caring husband and mommy to two wildly-tender little boys. She loves all things Jesus, music, natural, nutritional and chocolate. And coffee. She loves coffee. She was born smack dab in the middle of 11 children and loves being able to stand out amongst the big crowd with her corner of the blogosphere, Authentic Simplicity, where she blogs about how to make healthy food without losing money, time, energy… or your sanity. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, where she posts the latest fun thing that catches her eye.