I am feeling bright eyed and bushy tailed this morning, which is a welcome respite from how I was feeling last week. Kramer and I even had a chance to relax all day yesterday, which is one of the first Sundays in a while that we didn’t push ourselves to go out just one more time before the work week rolls around. We woke up early, ordered bagels (because it’s Sunday and that’s the law in New York), had our coffee and then Kramer worked on some homework while I did some serious cooking, followed by dinner and the highly anticipated season premiere of Breaking Bad. I know that almost all of you watched it. Wasn’t it nuts? I definitely always forget how much I enjoy the show until it’s back on the air. Walt is unhinged, people. It’s glorious. And poor Hank. I never thought I’d say poor Hank, but I really do like that character. Only seven more episodes left, people, so savor it while it lasts. Why does everything I love up and leave me? We finished Orange is the New Black last week, too, which is without a doubt one of the best shows on right now. Netflix knows what its doing. I’m not sure what to start up next. I feel like I’ve scraped the bottom of the new television show barrel. Maybe we should give Fringe another chance. Any suggestions?
Now onto more widely recognized foodstuffs: brioche! I was at home the other weekend with a few hours on my hands, so I decided to pull together a loaf of bread. I didn’t, however, want to turn my oven on. I therefore thought I’d go a little nuts and try bread in the crock-pot. I honestly had no idea how this was going to turn out, but I figured that heat was, indeed, a major factor in baking bread, so maybe this would work. Well, surprise, it did! The only issue I found with baking bread in the crock is that the top doesn’t brown nicely like it would in the oven, but that is to be expected and is of little concern once you slice a piece off and slather it in butter and a little sea salt. I was flabbergasted that it worked. I suppose I don’t really know that I was expecting…maybe it wouldn’t rise properly, maybe it would rise way too much, maybe it would be soggy…there were a number of things that could have gone wrong, but they definitely didn’t. Kramer was shocked when I proudly showed him my loaf of crock-pot brioche, and we ate it throughout the week and shared with some friends when they came over one night. “I made this in the crock-pot!” I exclaimed. They were decidedly less enthusiastic than I was when discussing how the bread was actually made, but the rest of the loaf was finished off that night, so at least I know that everyone enjoyed it. This brioche is just as light, fluffy and buttery as one made in the oven, but the fact that you don’t have to sweat in the dead of summer in order to have freshly baked bread is pretty damned incredible. Try it and see for yourself!
Danny and Jeff.
This is what happens when you get 2 beers for $5 at the Gowanus Yacht Club.
Now, time for brioche. First, make your poolish and let it sit for an hour.
Once that is gone, you can get your dough going.
After the dough has formed, allow it to rise for 2 hours.
For pull-apart bread, roll the dough into separate balls. I recommend just leaving it as it is, though. Bake for 4-5 hours on low or 2 – 2 1/2 hours on high.
Can you believe you can really make bread in your crock pot?
It’s pretty awesome.
- ⅓ cup 1% milk, warmed to 110-115 degrees F
- 1 package (2¼ teaspoon) active dry yeast
- 1 egg, beaten and room temperature
- 2 cups bread flour, divided
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1½ cups bread flour (plus an additional ½ cup).
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- First, make your sponge by mixing the warm milk and the yeast. Allow them to combine and foam - they should sit together for 5-8 minutes. After that, add in the beaten egg and 1 cup of bread flour. Mix to combine, then add an additional cup of bread flour and let it sit on top; do not mix it in. Leave the bowl, uncovered, for 1 hour.
- After an hour, using a kneading hook, add in the granulated sugar, then add in the eggs, one at a time until combined, followed by the salt and 1 cup of flour. Once everything has combined, add another ½ cup of flour and continue kneading for 10 straight minutes, until the dough is elastic and slaps the sides of the bowl. It seems like a long time, but just keep on going.
- After 10 minutes, add in your melted and cooled butter, a few tablespoons at a time, alternating with an additional few tablespoons of flour, until fully incorporated, letting your machine run all the while. Once everything is combined, transfer your dough to a well buttered crock-pot. Cover the crock-pot with the lid and let the dough rise for 2 hours. I covered my crock-pot in parchment paper so the bread would lift out more easily, but I think you will be fine if you just butter the pot very liberally.
- Once the dough has risen, you can roll the dough into balls for pull-apart bread or you can leave it as it is. I rolled mine into balls, but next time I think that I will just leave it as it is. Turn the crock-pot on low for 4-5 hours or on high for 2 - 2½ hours. The bread will go through one more rising process then bake during this time. You can then put the bread under the broiler to color the top, if you want, but I think that defeats the purpose. The bread will be light, buttery brioche without ever turning on your oven!