Kitchen Adventures: The quest to make good bread

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By Becca Owsley

I have a love and hate relationship with bread. I love to eat it but have problems every time I try to make it.

But the misery in making it doesn’t take away from bread’s delicious goodness.

Let’s just take a minute to think about how wonderful bread is in all its forms. No matter what shape it takes — biscuits, rolls or loaf — it’s always good.

When you go out to eat at a new restaurant, one of the first thoughts people have is usually, “I wonder what kind of bread they have.”

If you go to an Italian restaurant and they don’t sit down a basket of bread on the table, it just feels wrong.

When someone asks you if you need more bread, the answer is almost always, “yes.” Even when you really don’t need anymore, you always want more.

As much as I enjoy eating bread, you’d think I’d be better at making it. But I’m not.

Biscuits and rolls usually are fine. It’s loaves of bread I have issues with.

Most of the time, the bread isn’t done in the middle, which is frustrating because it always smells so good while baking.

In a search to find an alternate way of making bread to improve my skills, I found a recipe for Rosemary Olive Oil Crock Pot Bread.

It looked promising. But other recipes have looked that way and failed.

This recipe is relatively easy to prepare and only needed one hour to rise.

Don’t worry if you can’t find fresh rosemary. What’s in the spice isle works just fine.

After putting it into a slow cooker, it was supposed to take two hours to bake. This is where I found a problem. The loaf looked nice but didn’t seem done inside. So I left it in for another hour.

After taking it out of the slow cooker, I followed the recipe author’s tip in putting it in the oven on the broil setting for a few minutes to brown the bread on the outside. But don’t put it on the top rack under the broiler like you would do when toasting. Put it on the middle rack so it doesn’t burn.

It wasn’t my best bread-making result, but it wasn’t the worst either. The only problem was it still was a little doughy in the center, but only the very center.

The rosemary added nice flavor, especially if you dip the bread in olive oil. In short, it’s worth a try.

Becca Owsley can be reached at 270-505-1741 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.

Rosemary Olive Oil Crock Pot Bread
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 packet dry active yeast (2 1/4  teaspoons)
1 1/4 cups warm water
1/4 cup fresh rosemary, chopped, divided
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt, divided

In a large bowl, mix together the water, yeast and sugar. Let sit 10 minutes. The mixture should become bubbly.

Stir in half of the salt (1/2 teaspoon), half of the rosemary (2 tablespoons), the 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and all of the flour. Mix until fully combined. Work it together with your hands, if necessary.

Lightly grease a large bowl and place the dough in. Cover it with a kitchen towel and leave the dough in a warm, draft-free area. Let it sit and rise for one hour.

Remove the dough from the bowl and gently roll it into a ball on a floured surface. Let it sit for another 20 minutes.

Set the slow cooker to high. Line it with two pieces of parchment paper, leaving at least two inches hanging out of each side. Place the dough in the slow cooker and sprinkle it with the remaining salt and rosemary.

Drape paper towels over the top of the slow cooker and then put on the lid. This should capture any moisture that would sit on the lid and prevent it from dripping onto your bread.

Cook the bread for two hours then remove it from the slow cooker. It most likely will still be pale on the outside. It tastes great this way, but I like to put mine on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and put it under the broiler for a quick three to five minutes to get a crunchier, darker crust.

Let cool before slicing. Serve with extra olive oil drizzled on top.

Source: www.hostthetoast.com