That’s right, bread in a crock pot! The more I use “Kate” (see my previous post on why I have named my crock pot) the more I truly appreciate all that she can do.
I mean, we all know that crock pots are great for roasts and cheesy Velveeta dip, but don’t short change yourself. There is a whole world of foods you can make. (Try squash and apples or pumpkin pie oatmeal).
I came across a recipe for slow cooker bread on Pinterest (where else?), but was sorely disappointed that no where in the recipe did it talk about using a slow cooker. The bread was made using the traditional oven. BOR-ING! So that got me wondering if it was even possible.
After a quick Google search, I found a few recipes using the crock pot, but all of them were so labor intensive (the benefit of using a crock pot is to decrease my workload, not add to it). I did find a recipe for a 5-minute Artisan Bread which is similar to a recipe I have made several times, but it was still cooked in the oven. I came across a crock pot bread recipe that actually listed out the proper methods (however, you have to take the time to make traditional bread dough- No.Thank.You!). Remember, “Kate’s” role is to make my life easier, not more complicated. So, I set out and combined both recipes.
I used the 5-minute Artisan Bread recipe (it makes 4 loaves) with some modifications and cooked it in the crock pot. Please make note, I am not a trained baker, so I really was throwing up a Hail Mary pass and hoping it worked. This recipe would be great for hot summer days that you don’t want to heat up the oven, or a time that your oven is full (Thanksgiving) and don’t have room for baking bread.
The recipe is incredibly simple. It is a no-knead recipe. I will note, that it takes 5 minutes to make up, but it does have to sit and rise for several hours (you can let it sit for up to 2 weeks in your fridge). So you still do have to plan ahead, but the active time is only 5 minutes.
In a large glass measuring cup, measure 3-cups of hot (not boiling) water. Stir in 1-1/2 tablespoons rapid rise yeast (about 1-1/2 packets).
Stir in any add-ins. In my case, I couldn’t just make a “regular” loaf of bread. I added 4 cups of shredded cheese (I did half cheddar and half pepper jack). Here is where you can get creative (but remember, this recipe makes 4 loaves of bread). Mix until all the wet and dry ingredients are combined. No need to knead! The bread will be moist and sloppy-looking. This is how it is supposed to look.Cover the dough with plastic wrap (leave a little opening to let the gasses escape). Let sit for at least 2 hours (up to 5 hours) at room temperature until the dough begins to flatten on the top or to fall. Place the dough in the refrigerator (covered) for up to 2 weeks. The dough is easier to handle if it has been refrigerated for at least 3 hours, but you can cook it right away. The longer the dough sits, the better the flavor (a definite bonus if you are planning a large gathering). Do the prep before and let the crock pot do the work the day of.
To bake in the crock pot, first turn your crock pot on HIGH to get it warmed up a bit. Lay down a piece of parchment paper and sprinkle with cornmeal. Take the dough out of the fridge. Sprinkle with a little flour or cornmeal (rubbing flour on your hands is helpful too as the dough will be sticky). Remove 1/4 of the dough (I cut the dough into quarters and scooped out one portion) and shape into a ball using extra cornmeal as needed to prevent sticking.
Using a serrated knife, cut slashes in the bread 1/4 inch deep. Any pattern will do, I chose 3 parallel lines.
Move the parchment and dough into the crock pot making sure to smooth the parchment paper out towards the edges. Put the lid on leaving a small gap to let the moisture escape (no soggy bread for us!).
Cook for 1-1/2 – 2-1/2 hours (depending on your crock pot). The bread is done when has reached an internal temperature of between 190-200 degrees F. Go ahead, get out your thermometer and check.
The bottom and sides will be crusty and the top will be a bit softer. If you desire a crusty top (as we do), then go ahead and broil it in the oven for 2-3 minutes until golden brown.
Cool completely then slice.
Slow Cooker Artisan Bread
Makes 4 loaves
All you need:
3 cups hot (not boiling) water
1-1/2 tablespoons active yeast
1-1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
6 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
All you do:
- In a 4-cup liquid measure, combine water and yeast.
- In a large mixing bowl, add salt and flour. Mix to combine.
- Add water mixture to the flour mixture and stir until all ingredients are combined. The dough will be sticky.
- Cover loosely for 2-5 hours until dough rises flat.
- Use immediately, or place in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 2 weeks.
To cook the bread:
- Turn the crock pot on HIGH.
- Lay down a piece of parchment paper and sprinkle with cornmeal.
- Take the dough out of the fridge and sprinkle with flour or cornmeal (rubbing flour on your hands is helpful too).
- Remove 1/4 of the dough (this recipe makes 4 loaves) and shape into a ball using extra cornmeal as needed to prevent sticking. Place the remaining dough back in the fridge for a later use (covered).
- Lay the dough on the parchment and use a serrated knife to cut slashes in the bread 1/4-inch deep.
- Move the parchment and dough into the crock pot making sure to smooth the parchment paper out towards the edges. Put the lid on leaving a small gap to let the moisture escape.
- Cook for 1-1/2 – 2-1/2 hours (depending on your crock pot). The bread is done when has reached an internal temperature of between 190-200 degrees F.
- Broil in the oven for 2-3 minutes until golden brown.
- Cool completely then slice.