So, let's say you're a student. You live in a residence, and they probably don't allow hot plates. You definitely can't have an oven. But you love baking bread! Well, never fear, I have the answer. Rice cooker bread. Rice cookers are usually ok to use in residences because they have an auto-off (or at least auto-don't cook anymore) so that you won't burn anything down. And the bread they make is just delicious.
This will take you anywhere from 3-5 hours, so make sure you budget yourself enough time. Prep time is about 30 mins, then two 1 hour rises, plus 1.5-3 hours of baking depending on yuor rice cooker.
Step 1: Ingredients
Gather your ingredients. You'll also need a rice cooker. Fancy ones are probably better, but mine is the simplest they come, so yours can do it too!
1.5 cups flour
5 grams yeast
21 grams sugar (about 1.5 tbsp)
6.5 grams salt (about 1.5 tsp)
21 grams butter
180 ml water
once you've made it a couple times you can adjust the ingredients to taste, or add in your own secret ingredients. This is a very flexible bread, its taste is not very strong, so it could easily take on other flavours. A saltier or yeastier bread goes very well with chilie, by the way.
Step 2: Mix Dry Ingredients
Before you start, put your 5g yeast in a bowl or cup and add a pinch of sugar and a little (maybe 1/4cup) warm water. Let it proof for aroud ten minutes.
Mix them up into the bowl of your rice cooker. Yeah, right in there! You don't really need any more than three dishes for this bread, I love it.
That's your flour, salt, and sugar.
Step 3: Add Wet Ingredients
Add the water, milk and yeast. Just dump them right in along with the dry ingredients.
Step 4: Mix
This is probably the longest step. You've got to mix this stuff up, and since it's in your rice cooker (probably non-stick) bowl, you don't want to use a mixer. You'll scratch all the non-stick off! Just mix it by hand. People have done it that way for thousands of years, don't be a baby. I'm serious, i hate whiners.
Knead it for about 8-10 minutes, adding a little more flour if it seems too wet. The end result should be a coherent ball of dough that isn't too sticky. Form it into a ball.
Step 5: Add the Butter
This gets its own step because it's so much fun, and important too! Grab your butter, slap it on the dough ball, and knead it in. Knead it in your rice cooker bowl, as this will grease the bowl as well. This is making your bread so delicious that you will have to beat people off with a stick. You could sell it for a dollar a slice! Butter!
Knead it until the butter is all in there and there are no lumps. Your dough should stll be in a coherent ball. It's now ready to sit around for a while.
Step 6: 1st Rise
The first rise is 1 hour. I suggest you use this time to clean up your dishes. Just leave the bread (in the rice cooker bowl) somewhere warm. I've used the rice cooker (on warm setting) a couple times and it works very well.
Let the dough sit undisturbed for an hour, and it will double in size. This is because the yeast in there is eating up the starch and sugars in the flour and breathing out CO2. The CO2 dissolves into the dough, and either escapes, or expands the air bubbles in the dough that were there from mixing. Your dough gets bigger!
Step 7: Punch It Down
DON'T PUNCH IT! You just need to pick it up, and drop it from about 50cm. Do it a couple times and your dough will return to its original size. It's now ready for the second and final rise. Let it be in a warm place.
Step 8: Second Rise
Same as the first. Just leave it alone for 1 hour, and it will puff back up to double its size. Yeast is amazing.
Step 9: Baking Begins!
The original instructions i received for this bread (from Yakitate Japan, an anime about baking that I love) say you should bake it for an hour the first time. I've found that, probably due to my rice cooker's total lack of brains, it only needs about a half hour, and not even on Cook for all of that time. You'll have to be close by to monitor it every now and again to make sure the bottom doesn't burn. Just try and get a feel for it.
I jam an eraser into the switch if i think it should be on cook longer than it wants to.
i don't think you need to see pics of my rice cooker on. It looks just like the rice cooker in every other picture so far except the light is red. And, i didn't take any pictures for these steps. Sorry.
Step 10: Flip and Bake Two
This is the second baking period. It is also supposed to be 1 hour, but it isn't for me. The cooker you use probably makes all the difference here.
Flip your bread out and turn it upside down. Throw it back on Cook!
Step 11: Flip and Final Bake
You're so close you can smell it. Actually, by now, you've been smelling it (and hopefully loving it) for anywhere between 1 and 2 hours already. You are a lucky dog. Final bake is the same length of time as the first two.
Step 12: Why It Works, and EAT THAT SUCKER
Let it cool a little first.
The reason this works out ok is this. In a conventional oven, the bread is cooked by the hot air that circulates aroudn the oven. In a rice cooker, the bread is cooked by the pot that touches it directly. Since the pot is transferring more heat than the air, it doesn't need to get as hot. So what if your rice cooker only goes up to 110 Celcius? You can still bake great bread!
hit it with a little of that butter first, holmes. It's better that way.