"The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude." Julia Child

Thursday, January 9, 2014

rosemary asiago slow cooker bread

For many of us, the "artic vortex" ushered in frigid weather. Homemade soup and a warm slice of bread are great ways to combat the bone-chilling cold. But, if like me, you're having a hard time getting your dough to proof in the extreme cold, this slow cooker method is a great way to level the playing field. In the extreme heart of summer (dare to dream), this method will help keep your house cool.

You'll enjoy this recipe if you're a fan of the unlimited bread served at Macaroni Grill. Luckily, it isn't nearly as salty, and the fresh rosemary, asiago, and pepper help create an upcycled flavor profile.

Yield: 1 large loaf
3,390 calories per loaf
Active time: 15 minutes
Total time: 345 minutes

6 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup low fat buttermilk, lukewarm
1 cup lukewarm water
1 cup grated asiago cheese (or a semi-hard cheese or your choosing)
1 tablespoon yeast
2 tablespoons sugar (I used turbinado)
1 tablespoon sea salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon ground pepper

1. In 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup, combine the lukewarm milk, water, yeast and a pinch of sugar. Set aside for 10 minutes. Be sure not to over warm the milk because if the liquid is too hot, the yeast will die and your bread won't rise.

2. In your stand mixer bowl, except for the cheese, combine the remaining ingredients and "stir" until a shaggy dough forms.

3. Add the cheese and knead, on a speed of 2, until a cohesive dough forms, about 5 minutes. If your dough seems dry, add additional water 1 tablespoon at a time. This dough is very tight, so towards the end my mixer had some problems kneading the mass. If you have a 225, 250 or 325 watt mixer, I recommend halving the recipe.

4a. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a parchment lined slow cooker.

Or option b, which may be unnecessary as the low temperature, roughly 200 degrees, of the slow cooker allows the bread to proof as it bakes. But, in researching different slow cooker recipes, I noticed that the loaves were a little flat, so I added in this step so the gluten could get moving. If you go with option b, I would half the recipe because as the bread begins to bake, it may expand beyond the capacity of your slow cooker. I opted to tent it with aluminum foil (placing a layer of parchment paper on the bread) to get an humongous sized loaf. Go big or go home, right?

4b. Shape the dough into a ball, place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, cover with a towel, and set aside for 90 minutes. Place the ball into a parchment lined slow cooker.

5. Turn the slow cooker to highest heat setting and bake until the internal temperature reaches 190-200 degrees. This will take about 3-4 hours given the size of this recipe. You'll want to begin checking the internal temperature of the bread at after 2 hours have elapsed, in about 30 minute increments. (A 1 lb recipe would take about 2 hours.)

after about 1 hour

the "solution"

6. Brush with an egg wash, coarse kosher salt, and brown under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, just enough to give your bread a nice crust.

Original recipes found here and here.

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