Thursday, January 19, 2012

Crock Pot Bread

So I've got this really great slow cooker recipe book, but I hardly ever use it.  For some reason, I remembered today that I once read a recipe in it for white bread that seemed fairly easy, and I had a craving for freshly baked bread, so I thought I'd give it a try.  I was really pleased with how well it turned out.  The recipe really was very simple, and I'd definitely make this again.  Here's the recipe for anyone interested.

Slow Cooker White Bread

2 tsp granulated sugar
1 1/4 c. warm water
envelope active dry yeast (1 scant tbsp)

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 tsp salt

1 cup all purpose flour

Start by stirring the warm water and 2 tsp of sugar together in a large mixing bowl.  Sprinkle with the yeast and let it sit for 10 minutes.  After the 10 min, stir to dissolve the yeast.

Then add the 2 c. flour, 2 tbsp sugar, oil and salt.  The directions said to "beat", so I used my hand mixer, and that seemed to work okay.  Basically, beat on low to moisten, and then beat for 2 minutes on high.  After that, work in the remaining 1 cup of flour.

You'll need to grease the bottom of your crock pot, preferably a 3 1/2 quart size one.  I'm not sure what would happen if you tried to use a bigger one.  Dump the dough into the crock pot.  Layer 5 paper towels between the top of the crock pot and the lid.  Note that this does not say between the dough and the lid.  You don't want the paper towel on top of the dough, but resting on top of the pot.  Now put a wooden match or other thin object between the paper towel and the lid to allow steam to vent.  I used two round toothpicks stacked on each other, and it worked just fine. 

Cook on high for 2 hours, but apparently you're not supposed to open the lid for the first 1 3/4 hours.  I'd recommend checking it at the 1 3/4 hour mark as I think the full two hours was almost slightly too long.  One side of my loaf ended up just a touch crispier than I like my bread.  When it's done, loosen the sides with a knife and turn it out to cool on a rack.  I also brushed the top of it with butter because I like the taste of it, and it helps to keep the crust soft.

The only drawback, and it's more an aesthetic thing than anything else, is that the top of the bread doesn't get browned.  I'm actually discovering that I like this because I always find that homemade bread crust is really crunchy, but this way, it's not.  Also, you'll end up with a round loaf, but that doesn't bother me.

Here's the final product:

The taste is good, like bread.  The consistency has a slight cake-like quality to it, but not so much that you feel like you're eating cake instead of bread.  I found it almost a bit sweet tasting, so I think next time I would use slightly less sugar and maybe a bit more salt.  I'm pretty sure you can get store-bought bread that's just as sweet, if not sweeter, than this, so it's definitely not too sweet.

Overall, I was quite pleased with the outcome, and I'm looking forward to trying the whole wheat version, as well as maybe some of the other breads/cakes that are in this book.  If any of you try it, I'd love to hear what you think!

Friday, January 06, 2012

I miss coffee...

Well, I figured it was high-time I posted at least a little something so that those faithful few who keep checking back here will know I haven't died from morning sickness.  What follows will probably be some pretty random thoughts, mainly because pregnancy hormones have the unfortunate effect on me so as to pretty much completely destroy all creative and coherent thought.  Hence the lack of posting. goes...

As a major answer to many prayers, my morning sickness actually seems to be easing off.  *knock on wood...a lot...*  In response to this, I've backed off on my Diclectin, and I'm only taking it in the evenings before bed now.  Maybe this is why my brain feels clear enough to post today.  Hmm...  I hadn't dared hope that I'd start feeling better before at least week 20 because that's how long it took with Kaylee, but here we are, week 15, and I think it's been almost a full week since I've had to make that mad dash for the toilet first thing in the morning.

I'm trying a new recipe for supper tonight.  Further proof that my stomach is cooperating enough that I actually feel like eating something other than mashed potatoes.  Huzzah.  It's a turkey casserole, which we've never had before in this house, so we'll have to see how it turns out and what the response is from the peanut gallery.  I don't have high hopes on the children liking it much.  Oh, well.  I tried.

Tim's run has undergone some slight changes so that he should be home every other weekend now.  Numerous benefits from this, but the one I can think of now is that he'll actually get to come to church with us on occasion.

Well, there goes the timer for supper, so the randomness ends here.  Oh, and the reason for the title?  I really miss my morning coffee, but this pregnancy has totally changed all my tastes around, and the very thought of coffee is enough to make me feel slightly nauseated.  *sigh*