I enjoy looking around on Pinterest from time to time and have tried several tips and recipes I have seen there. I was intrigued recently by a pin which told how to bake Artisan No-Knead bread in the crockpot. I went right to the Artisan Bread in Five site and read the article there and was even more interested in trying this technique. I mixed up a batch of Peasant Bread dough (page 46 in the book) and refrigerated it overnight. The next afternoon I cut off a piece of the dough, shaped it into an oval and placed it in my parchment lined crockpot. After it rose and baked for about an hour and fifteen minutes it seemed to be done when I touched it and took its temperature.
After the initial baking in the crockpot the loaf of bread looked pretty pale and anemic. It reminded me of brown and serve rolls if you are familiar with those. The older Betty Crocker cookbooks actually have directions for making brown and serve breads. To brown the bread the recipe recommends that you put it under the broiler for about 5 minutes. I was afraid that might be too hot so I just baked it at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes. Next time I will try the broiler method.
This wasn't a great time saving technique, but there are several advantages to this method:
1. No fiddling with a screaming hot dutch oven.
2. The dough rises and bakes in the crockpot.
3. The bread can be baked in the crock and then browned later if desired.
4. The shorter baking time in the real oven would help keep the kitchen cool on hot summer days.
We really enjoyed this bread and I plan to use this technique again in the future. The outer crust of the bread is not as crisp as bread cooked in a Dutch oven, but the interior of the bread was moist, chewy, and had a very good flavor. The leftover slices made great sandwiches the next day.
Another idea from Pinterest that I have tried recently was freezing buttermilk in an ice cube tray. I have been freezing it in one cup containers for a while. Many recipes such as biscuits, pancakes, waffles, etc. call for buttermilk in one cup increments. Our favorite Ranch Dressing calls for just 1/4 cup of buttermilk. I saw a pin recently that suggested freezing cream in an ice cube tray and thought that this would work great for buttermilk too. Just two cubes will be enough for a batch of dressing. DD Megan told me about these lidded ice cube trays which she has been using to make baby food for little Maddie.
Have you tried any ideas you have read about on Pinterest?
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