Soft, pillowy brioche bread made right in your crock-pot!
Author: The Crepes of Wrath
Serves: 1 large loaf
For the Poolish:
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
For the Brioche:
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!
Recipe by The Crepes of Wrath at http://www.thecrepesofwrath.com/2013/08/12/crockpotbrioche/