‘Tis the season for the slow cooker to make its annual trip from the lower cabinet near my sink to its rightful place upon my already cramped breakfast bar. (Typical Manhattan Apartment Life, yo.) I know most people will use their slow cooker year round, but I’m strictly an autumn and winter user. It’s just how I roll. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I’ve been searching the World Wide Interwebz for new and unique ways to use my slow cooker beyond just making soups or shredded meats. Creating slow-cooker desserts intrigues me, but I’m looking outside of the realm of that, for now. On a well-spent work lunch break, I stumbled upon a recipe for slow cooker bread. BINGO! This was the unique recipe that I had been craving! Via Kleinworth & Co., I decided to give their recipe for Slow Cooker Black Bread a roll. (Get it? Roll? Yeeeah, I love those bad puns. Bless you if you continue to read this post. Ha!)
Now, the first time I made this recipe, I questioned it. I followed its directions and measurements to an absolute T, minus using instant coffee (or any coffee!) in my mix. I would like to think that that simple omission wouldn’t affect the integrity of my dough. That being said…by the time I got to the step in which I had to knead the dough, it was nothing short of batter in my bowl. Granted, I was doing this by hand and not with a dough hook; with the insanity of my post-bedbug extermination coming to a close, I still have my Kitchen Aid mixer tucked away in a place that’s not easily accessible. The original recipe called for 2 & 1/2 cups of flour, total. By the time I was finished adding in additional 1/2 cup increments, I was up to 4 cups of flour! By that point, I had achieved a kneadable texture. Also, the cooking time on the original recipe definitely varied from the time I took to bake it (90 minutes in the original vs. 2 hours for mine), however, that didn’t shock me since all slow cookers are not made equal.
You know what? WHATEVER. I ended up making rolls that were so delectable, the trial and error was worth it. These rolls are wonderful! The molasses and chocolate infuse them with the most wonderful smoky sweetness! I brought them over to a friend’s house for his parents and brother, and they were all fans as well! I’m glad they enjoyed them. I wouldn’t want to be kicked out of their house. 😏 I think these rolls would be a hit on any dinner table in these cold months ahead, especially at Thanksgiving. *hint hint*
Of note, these babies are WONDERFUL slathered with some homemade pumpkin butter, also cooked up in my slow cooker! (On a different occasion though, but of course.) I made some based on this recipe by Practical Stewardship, and I can absolute vouch for it. Mmmmm!
Slow Cooker Brown Bread Rolls
(Recipe adapted from Kleinworth & Co’s recipe for Slow Cooker Black Bread)
(Makes approximate 10 – 12 rolls)
– 1 cup warmed milk, dairy or non-dairy
– 1 tablespoon rapid-rise yeast
– 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
– 2 & 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (see Before We Get Started…)
– 1/2 agave nectar
– 1/4 cup honey
– 2 teaspoons molasses
– 1 tablespoon cocoa
– 1 tablespoon sugar
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1/8 cup old fashioned rolled oats (optional, to sprinkle on top of rolls)
Before We Get Started…
– As I mentioned in the prelude, the amount of dough I used to create this differed a fair amount from what I used based on the original recipe. After trial and error, I’d say to start with using the aforementioned 2 & 3/4 cups of flour. If the bread dough still seems too sticky to knead after Step #3, add more flour in 1/4 cup increments and mix until the dough yields a kneadable texture.
– Feel free to use 3/4 cup honey in place of the 1/2 cup agave nectar & 1/4 cup honey mix.
1.) Line slow cooker with a large piece of parchment paper and carefully mold to the outline as best as possible. Lightly spray parchment paper with cooking oil or use one tablespoon of vegetable oil and spread with basting brush or clean paper towel.
2.) Heat milk in a mircowave or a small saucepan until just warmed to the touch; do not allow milk to bubble. In a large bowl, add warmed milk and sugar, then sprinkle yeast on top. Do not mix; wait five minutes for yeast to begin to bloom, then mix until combined.
3.) Add part of the flour (1 & 1/2 cups), salt, butter, and molasses to the yeast mixture. Stir until combined, then let dough rest for 5 minutes. Add the remaining flour, cocoa, agave nectar, and honey. Stir until combined; at this point, the dough should start to take on a doughier and kneadable consistency. (Please see Before We Get Started… if your batter is still a little bit sticky.)
4.) Sprinkle flour on a flat, clean surface. Turn dough onto surface and knead for 10 minutes or until dough is uniformly elastic. Sprinkle dough with additional flour when kneading, if necessary.
5.) Pull off pieces of dough and shape into rolls, rolls should fit in palm of your hand, about twice the size of a golf ball. Place rolls together in parchment paper-lined slow cooker; it is fine if rolls touch. If you have a smaller slow cooker (such as I do!), it is fine to layer the rolls if not all of them can fit on a singular level. Conversely, you can wrap additional dough tightly in plastic and store in the fridge to bake later. (Such as I DID.) Sprinkle dough with (optional) oatmeal.
6.) Cover rolls and turn on slow cooker to High. Cook for 90 minutes; if rolls are still tacky to the touch or do not not have hard exteriors, cook for up to an additional 30 minutes. These rolls should be finished by the two hour mark!
7.) When rolls are finished baking, turn off slow cooker and remove top. Allow rolls to sit for 10 minutes before removing. After 10 minutes, remove and place rolls on a wire rack to cool. Eat immediately after cooling or wrap firmly in plastic wrap to maintain freshness.