What’s Better Than Artisan Bread?

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crock-pot-artisan-rollsA couple weeks ago I ventured into the world of artisan bread making and was delighted to find that it was so freaking simple that there really wasn’t a reason not to make fresh bread. Since then, I’ve made several loaves with hardly any effort at all. The Kid loves dipping pieces into soup, or olive oil, or just eating them plain.

I thought it couldn’t get simpler than that, but I was shown the error of my ways through Pinterest. Someone had pinned a picture from the website of the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes authors themselves! I had no idea they had a website and have been spending many a moment since looking at their goodies. I found that you can actually do the exact same artisan bread, but in a crock pot instead of an oven.

This is perfect for times when your oven is tied up cooking and baking other things like Christmas dinner. It’s also a lifesaver during hot Texas summers when you don’t want to heat up your kitchen by turning on the oven. Not only can you make loaves of bread, but you can also do rolls.

I gave the rolls a try this weekend and they turned out perfectly. I even used them as substitute hamburger buns and I bet they’d make a killer panini. Before you try the crock pot version, make sure to read your manual. Some crock instructions say that you can only use recipes with liquid so that the crock doesn’t crack from being heated dry. I have a crock pot with a metal liner so I was fine with baking rolls without liquid. Your mileage may vary so make sure to check first.

Crock Pot Artisan Rolls

rolls-in-crock-potFollow the recipe for regular artisan bread and mix the dough in your container. Let it rise for the 2 hours and pull the dough out onto a floured cutting board. I smooshed the ball of dough out into a rectangular shape. You don’t have to be exact with it and you aren’t kneading it. Just kinda pat it out into a big rectangle that’s about 2 inches thick or so.

Dip a knife in flour so the dough doesn’t stick to it and cut your rectangle into 12 equal sized pieces. Line a crock pot with a piece of tin foil lightly sprayed with non-stick spray. Put the 12 dough pieces into the crock pot. Cover the crock and turn it on High. Cook the dough for about an hour until they are crusty on the top. They won’t be brown but they will be dry and firm to the touch.

Remove the rolls by just taking out the tin foil with the rolls right on it. Place the rolls on the foil on a cookie sheet and put under the broiler for a couple minutes until the tops are browned. This last step is purely optional and for aesthetic purposes only. You can also brush the tops with a little butter first before browning. I didn’t bother with the butter.

To change up the flavor, I decided to use 2 Tbsp of fresh chopped rosemary from my garden when I mixed the dough. You can also use other herbs based on what you’ll be serving the rolls with – thyme, oregano, rosemary, sage. All of those are good options as well as just plain old non-herb flavor. If you use dried herbs instead of fresh, make sure to use about 1/3 of the amount since dried is stronger in flavor.

I’m so excited that this worked and can’t wait to try out some of the other recipes on their site. Can you say brioche? 😉

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