|The finished product - rice cooker yeast bread.|
Since moving to Japan six years ago, I have not had an oven. Yes, I know I can get one, but I don't want to give up the counter space, and I don't want another thing I have to lug with me when we move. But, I do find that I crave homemade bread. Dense, heavy breads made with dark flours that go well with cheese don't really exist here. Oh, they do if I go to a specialty bakery, but I'm relatively lazy. When I want my bread, I don't want to ride the train for an hour and a half to find it's sold out or not what I really wanted.
My friend Hitomi, as she often does, came to the rescue early on with a recipe for green tea bread in the rice cooker. I made it a few times and then got to thinking, why not do a yeast bread? So, I looked to the Tassajara Bread Book for their basic recipe, and then got down to business. It's easy, but a little time-consuming.
3/4 Tbsp. dry yeast (1 packages)
2 Tbsp. sweetener (honey, molasses, or brown sugar)
2 cups whole-wheat flour (substitute 1 or more cups unbleached white flour if desired)
2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. and 2 tsp. oil or butter or margarine*
1.5 cups additional whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour for kneading
|The sponge, bubbling away.|
Cover with a towel and let the dough rise for 45 minutes until doubled in size. I usually set mine in the sun or next to the coffee maker when it's still going.
|Doubled in size, basking in the sun.|
|Punch it real good.|
|After the punching.|
Let the dough rise for another 40 to 50 minutes, or until doubled in size.
|Cut the dough in half.|
|Waiting to rise for the last time.|
Wrap the other circle in wax paper, pop it in a ziploc bag, and set it in the freezer for later.
Turn on the rice cooker and run it for a full cycle. When it beeps that it is done, turn the loaf over and turn on the rice cooker again. When the loaf sounds hollow and is golden brown, it's done.
|Just eat it...|
**Another Caveat Alert: I knead the dough longer than ten minutes. I enjoy the process, and I find that to achieve that smooth-skinned feel, I need more time.