Slow Cooker Citrus & Spice Holiday Bread

Make bread in a slow cooker? Yes! This easy recipe from Shauna Sever is easy to make and frees up space in the oven for that holiday turkey and all the fixings.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
  • 4 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, plus more for shaping the dough
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice

Directions:

In a bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the water, granulated sugar, and yeast. Let rest until bubbly, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a heatproof measuring cup, combine the milk and butter. Heat in the microwave until very warm to the touch and the butter has melted, about 1 1/2 minutes. (You can also do this in a small saucepan over low heat, being careful not to let the milk boil.) Whisk in the brown sugar and orange zest.

When the yeast has begun to foam, add the flour, salt, and spices to the bowl. Pour in the milk mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms.

Fix the mixer with a dough hook, and knead the dough on medium speed until soft, smooth, and elastic, 5 to 7 minutes. (Alternatively, you can knead the dough by hand on a lightly floured surface for about 10 to 15 minutes.) Briefly remove the dough from the bowl, spray the bowl with nonstick cooking spray or oil it lightly, and replace the dough in the mixer bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow it to rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the cooker on high for several minutes. Line the sleeve of a 4-or-5-quart slow cooker with parchment paper. Remove the risen dough from the bowl and carefully place it on top of the parchment. Cover the slow cooker. Cook until the bread springs back when lightly touched in the center, and sounds hollow when the bottom and sides are tapped, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

To brown the top, lightly brush the surface with 1 tablespoon of melted butter, and broil on high for 3-5 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

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