Are you ready to get your mind blown?
For those of you with fancy schmancy bread makers, this won't be a big deal. I am not fancy enough to own one so I'm pretty over the moon about fresh bread in the summer without turning my house into gross hot ickyness.
Now this bread is essentially steamed, so it doesn't have the same texture as the average run of the mill artisan loaf of bread. The bread is a lot more moist. We prefer this bread toasted, as it is a bit too moist for our liking otherwise. Sometimes I'll even toast the bread, slap some cheese and garlic powder on it, pop it under the broiler for a few minutes and call it lunch. It's sort of like an open faced grilled cheese sandwich. Yummers!
What is great is that the recipe makes enough dough for about 3 loaves, and the dough keeps in the fridge, uncooked, for about 2 weeks. Whenever I'm in the mood for fresh bread I just tear into the dough and plop a blob in the slow cooker. I'd like to say it's instant gratification, but I'm happy to wait two hours for bread that doesn't cause the AC to go into cardiac arrest.
Peasant bread in the Crockpot from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
3 c luke warm water
1 1/2 T yeast
1 1/2 T salt
1/2 c rye flour
1/2 c wheat flour
5 1/2 c unbleached flour
mix yeast, salt and water in 5 qt bowl. Mix in remaining dry ingred without kneading. You can use a stand mixer with a hook if you want. Cover with plastic wrap or a lid that does not have an airtight seal. Let stand at room temp for 2 hours. You can use it now, but it is easier to handle when cold. Refridgerate and use before 14 days. break off about 1 lb/grapefruit size ball. Shape it into a ball, stretching surface of the dough around to the bottom of the ball. Rotate the ball as you do this. Place in crockpot lined with parchment paper. Cover placing kitchen towel under lid to catch condensation. Bake for 45 min on high or until the bread feels firm to the touch.
My crockpot took 2 hours so you'll have to do a bit of experimenting with your first loaf. I got 3 loaves from the above recipe. If you use a larger crockpot you will have a flatter loaf.
For some reason my slow cooker never gets the bottom of the bread nice and crisp. I prefer a slightly crisper crust so I place the loaf, bottom side up, on a cookie sheet in the middle of the oven and broil for 5 minutes. I figure 5 minutes of oven time is doable for fresh bread.
Let the bread cool completely before slicing.