Back when this whole COVID business started, it seemed all my friends were passing around recipes for making bread in the slow cooker. I really couldn’t see the point. Baking bread in the oven is not difficult. Then we hit a heat wave and ran low on bread. No way did I want to turn the oven on or walk down to the store. So I got online and looked at a few recipes. Seemed like my regular recipe would work so I tried it. The bread rose well and had good taste and texture, but the loaf was round so the slices were not standard sandwich size and shape.
You can use the following recipe or substitute your own. It’s the technique that gives it that lovely golden crust, without having to finish it under the broiler of your oven.
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1/8 cup melted butter
2-3 cups flour*
butter for greasing slow cooker and hands
Pour water into a large bowl and sprinkle yeast over it. Sprinkle sugar and salt over yeast. Wait for the yeast to come to the surface—should take around 5 minutes and resemble beige blobs. Stir in butter and two cups of the flour. Continue to add flour. Once it’s too hard to stir, grease your hands and work it in by kneading the dough until it becomes smooth and pliable and is no longer sticky.
Cover the bowl with a towel and let the dough rise until a finger poked into it leaves a permanent indentation. You can skip the rising if you’re in a hurry but the bread comes out better if you don’t. Punch the dough down and roughly form into a round.
Generously grease and flour the bottom and sides of a four-quart or six-quart slow cooker. Place the round of dough in the bottom. Cook for 90 minutes to 2 hours on the high setting. Keep an eye on it without lifting the lid if possible to see how it’s doing. Once the sides look brown, run around the outside of the bread with a spatula and remove it from the slow cooker. Flip it over and put it back in, top side down, for a further 15 minutes. That’s the secret—lots of grease in the crock pot and flipping the bread over for the last 15 minutes.
* all-purpose or bread and pastry will work but don’t use self-rising flour