Slow Cooker Bread
If you are a homemade bread fan, I want you to save this recipe, make it when you have some extra time, and let me know if you agree with Cliff…it makes your home taste like a bakery or in his words, a Subway restaurant (random, I know). I was craving a rustic bread that could be enjoyed as toast, a panini, or just warmed with some butter. It may have taken over a month, but I guess I joined the isolation baking club that has been taking over social media. I love the concept of cooking “low and slow,” which is why the crock pot is front and center in our house. When I traveled more for work, it was a life saver to prep in the morning, hit the road, and have something delicious waiting when I got home. You can’t just leave slow cooker bread for the day, but I think it is a great way to make bread from scratch with little to no maintenance. This recipe makes a bread with mild crust and light, slightly spongy interior that we just love. Note that we enjoy an artisanal appearance, so the slight dip in the middle just added to its charm. If you want a more uniform finished product, you can insert a loaf pan into the slow cooker, or bake in the oven.
Slow Cooker Bread
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour keep a few extra tablespoons on hand for brief kneading
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water 1/4 cup reserved for yeast fermentation
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 packet active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/8 cup olive oil for keeping dough moist for kneading
- Proof the packet of active dry yeast by combining with 1/4 cup warm water, at a temperature between 105 and 110ºF. Add one teaspoon of granulated sugar and stir. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes so the yeast activates and doubles in size.
- In a bowl or stand mixer, combine flour and yeast until combined. Then add apple cider vinegar, honey, salt, and remaining water. Stir for a few minutes, until the mixture is consistent and no more dry flour is visible.
- Allow to sit for about 30 minutes to allow the flour to absorb liquid and flavor.
- Lightly oil your work surface and hands, and knead dough for about 5 minutes. You can use a stand mixer with a dough hook. The dough will be wet, but should be "springy" and resume its shape after manipulation.
- Add the dough to parchment paper and form into a ball (it will be difficult to do, so just keep it in a similar shape. Lift the parchment paper with dough and add to the slow cooker. Cook on high for about 2 hours, or until the interior temperature reaches about 200ºF.
- Once the bread is firm to the touch, transfer the parchment paper and bread to a baking sheet. Place under broiler set to about 475ºF for about 5 minutes to brown the bread. Pay close attention so as not to burn bread. Remove and allow to cool on cooling rack until ready to serve.
- TIP: Transfer the bread to a cast iron skillet for a rustic presentation at your next gathering.