Saturday, November 23, 2013

The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
& Crock Pot Bread {Fast Bread in a Slow Cooker}

This cookbook isn't what you'd normally find on my kitchen bookshelf. For one, baking scares me. Two, there's a lot to be desired in the color illustrations category, which is a necessity given my disturbingly short attention span. {Thanks again, internet.}

Yet here I am, swearing by this cookbook and floating on a cloud of carb'd bliss. The past three weeks have involved bakery calibre boules, baguettes, and ciabatta - but the true standout is the crock pot bread, a miraculously convenient, oven-free shortcut for holiday cooking. {Note: this is coming from someone who vowed never to become "a slow-cooker person."} 

If you want to impress your loved ones, and yourself, give this cookbook a chance. I'm certainly glad I did. {Recipe below the jump!}

From The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë Francois.

Copyright © 2013 by the authors and reprinted by permission of Thomas Dunne Books.

Crock Pot Bread (Fast Bread in a Slow Cooker)

Everyone loves crock pots, bubbling away with Swedish meatballs, no- peek chicken, or chili. Over the years we’ve had requests for a method for baking our dough in one. Bread in a crock pot? We had our
doubts, lots of them. We didn’t think a slow cooker could get hot enough; thought it would take too
long; didn’t think it would bake through or have a nice crust. So we resisted trying it, convinced it would fail. Oh, how wrong we were (see color photo). The crock pot does indeed get hot enough, and it takes less time than using your oven because the rising time is included in the baking. Straight out of the pot, the crust is soft and quite pale, but just a few minutes under the broiler and you have a gorgeous loaf.

In the summer there is no need to heat up the oven to get great bread, and at the holidays it is a perfect
way to free up much needed oven space. You could even amaze your friends at work by baking a loaf under your desk.

Makes 1 loaf

1 pound (grapefruit- size portion) Master Recipe dough
All- purpose flour, for dusting
Parchment paper, for baking

1. On baking day, dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1- pound  (grapefruit- size) piece. Dust with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter- turn as you go.

2. Lower the dough into a 4- quart crock pot or other slow cooker. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper use.

3. Turn the temperature to high and put on the cover. (Not all crock pots behave the same, so you  should keep an eye on the loaf after about 45 minutes to make sure it is not overbrowning on the bottom or not browning at all. You may need to adjust the time according to your appliance.)

4. Bake for 1 hour (this will depend on your crock pot, you may need to increase or decrease the time). To check for doneness, it should feel firm when you gently poke the top of the loaf.

5. The bottom crust should be nice and crisp, but the top of the loaf will be quite soft. Some folks
desire a softer crust, so they’ll love this loaf. But if you want a darker or crisper crust . . .

6. Remove the parchment paper and place the bread under the broiler for 5 minutes or until it is the color you like, with the rack positioned in the middle of the oven.

7. Let the loaf cool completely before slicing. Cutting into a hot loaf is tempting, but it won’t slice well and may seem underbaked if you break into it before it’s cooled.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you tried the crock pot bread, it is such a great method during the holidays when the oven is full of pie! :) Thanks, Zoë