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How to Bake Bread in the Crock Pot


     People say the internet is more than 95% a waste of resources, because it doesn't offer any new information, just rehashes the same over again. This is true, in a way, except that not everyone knows everything, so sometimes it can be better to follow some blogs and learn as we read along.
     The other day I found a simple technique to bake bread in the crockpot. Having never known about this technique before, it has really made me rethink what kind of appliances I had wanted for my future dream outdoor kitchen. Before Crock Pot Bread, I had wanted a convection oven so I could bake bread without heating the whole kitchen and using all that electricity. Convection ovens are, after all, known to use less electricity than standard ovens. Wood-fired ovens are a lot of work, and propane ovens or grills are just as costly if not more so than standard ovens, plus the hassle of replacing tanks.
     One other great thing about Crock Pot Bread - if you are making standard round (artisan-style) loaves, then as long as you have parchment paper you will not have to scrub any loaf pans or even the inside of the crock.
     Perhaps discovering an appropriately-sized portion of dough for use in the crock is the hardest part. The dough should be about one pound in size, which is about the size of a grapefruit. Ensuring the optimal size helps to make sure the interior of the dough reaches a high enough temperature to baked thoroughly, a temperature of roughly 190-200 degrees F. Pictures is a smaller loaf, so the baking time has been adjusted to match. Most crockpots with loaves of this size need at least a good hour on the High setting to bake all the way through.
     Since the inside of the crockpot remains moist, a heavy/thick crust does not form on the top of the loaf. This may invalidate that lazy baker's tap test to check for done-ness. Some would check the bottom of the loaf. I just like to wing it, myself, and remove from the heat when I think it's probably ready.

Chrissy's Basic Recipe for a 1 Pound Loaf of White Bread
3 cups of flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup milk or water, can be powdered milk.
1/4 cup butter or oil

     This particular recipe needs no additional kneading or rising time, unless that is your preference. The dough will rise as the slow cooker warms up to temperature. This basic recipe can have any number of tasty additives incorporated into the dough before baking, such as blueberries, raspberries, herbs and spices, garlic, onion, etc. Pictured is cheddar cubes and ham slices.

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