I am impressed that the bread actually turned out.
The problem with trying out a recipe for the first time, especially an unconventional one, is that so few people have done it before and so you have no place to go for information to answer the questions you might have, as they arise.
This bread recipe caused me a lot of anxiety during the cooking on Tuesday… way more than any bread recipe has ever done to me in the past. Totally my fault of course because I used a non-traditional method of cooking, but still.. it’s supposed to be an easy and fun experience!
Regardless, even after all that, the bread worked. The recipe takes 5 hours, but it’s a rather satisfying loaf. The bread isn’t so much baked, but more like steamed. I don’t know why this dawn on me to begin with, but that’s why the bread doesn’t come out golden brown.
The texture of the loaf is dense and chewy, but not nearly as chewy as a bagel… almost like sourdough bread textured. The flavour I found to be yeastier than most breads, but not unpleasantly so — if you’ve ever had a Chinese steamed bun, it has that kind of yeasty-buttery scent to it.
The bread is phenomenal cold, straight from the fridge the next day, but I didn’t like the taste and texture as much when toasted. My thoughts are that if you want to eat the leftovers warm, your best bet would be to actually steam it again.
I found that the cold bread tasted especially yummy with: butter, smoked salmon cream cheese, honey or butter with a thin little spreading of miso.
Rice Cooker Bread
1 1/4 tsp yeast
180 ml warm water
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbsp butter, softened
* In a small bowl, mix yeast with water and sugar. Set aside in a warm place for 10-15 minutes to activate yeast.
* In a medium sized bowl, combine flour with salt and milk. Add yeast mixture and stir everything together to form a dough ball, kneading for 8-10 minutes. If the dough feels very sticky, then dip your hands into some flour so that the dough will not stick as you roll it.
* Once you’ve achieved a nice ball of dough, flatten it it out slightly and add the butter to the centre and fold the dough around it. What you want to do is knead the butter into the dough as best as possible by continuously folding it in on itself. It will be rather awkward, but you will eventually get a soft and somewhat sticky & greasy ball of dough that has no lumps. The butter will also help to grease the rice cooker bowl, so that the bread will not stick to the sides.
* Transfer dough ball to rice cooker bowl and place in rice cooker. Set rice cooker to warm and let rise for 1 hour.
* After first proofing, punch down dough, knead briefly between hands and roll dough into a ball. Put dough ball back into rice cooker, turn OFF rice cooker and let rise again for 1 hour.
* For 1st Bake Cycle: Press cook button and set timer for 1 hour. Do not disturb bread when the rice cooker signals that your bread is finished cooking. Leave bread on keep warm setting until the 1 hour timer is complete!
* For 2nd Bake Cycle: Turn bread upside down, press cook button and set timer for 1 hour. Again, do not disturb bread when the rice cooker signals that your bread is finished cooking. Leave bread on keep warm setting until the 1 hour timer is once again complete.
* For 3rd Bake Cycle: Turn bread over once more, press cook button and set timer for final 1 hour. You should know the drill by now, do not disturb bread when the rice cooker signals that your bread is finished cooking. Leave bread on keep warm setting until the 1 hour timer is over.
Guess what? We have bread! :D