When some of us on the Down to Earth Simple Living Forums who were new to cooking sourdough were discussing whether it was possible to cook a loaf in the slow cooker, one of the members said she had successfully produced a loaf or two during a heatwave when it was too hot to turn the oven on so I thought I would give it a go following her instructions. I think she actually made her dough in a bread maker first but I just followed Celia's instructions on Fig Jam and Lime Cordial which I had used for the previous two loaves with success.
I got the dough to the stage where it was covered with clingwrap which had been rubbed with a little olive oil first and I waited for it to rise in the slow cooker before turning it on.
When it had risen I put a tea towel under the lid to catch the drips and turned it on to high and it was supposed to cook for two hours or so or until the internal temperature of the bread was 200C. Well, I didn't peek until the two hours were up and when I took the tea towel off I noticed that the light wasn't on which was strange. At first I thought that perhaps it had something to do with the fact that it was 36C or so and there was some kind of cut-off switch that had kicked in to prevent over heating but really, why would a slow cooker have that anyway??? I took the temperature of the bread and it was only 180C which was a bit strange considering that the cooker had been on for two hours.
Then I realised that my 20 month old slow cooker had died!
Of course it was out of warranty as I didn't take out an extended one due to the fact that I don't use the appliance all that much except perhaps once or twice a week in winter when I make soup and it was supposedly a reliable brand anyway. However, I put the lid back on and let the bread sit for another hour or so before taking it out in the hope that it might cook a little more.
It had a hard brown crust on the bottom and sides but, of course, there was none on the top and I read on some blogs that others who had cooked theirs in the slow cooker as well had then put it under the griller to brown the top. I didn't do that as I was a bit 'over it' by that stage and when it had cooled I just sliced it up and put it in the freezer. It will be toasted anyway so not having a top crust won't be a problem.
So now I need to buy a new slow cooker. Can anyone recommend a reliable brand as I may not go with the same brand again? How I wish I still had my old Crock Pot from the 1980s. Why on earth did I get rid of it??? Sigh and double sigh!
I will be glad when we get back to our usual mild weather as there are only so many visits to air conditioned shopping centres that one can make without wasting the entire day. Yesterday I saw some storm clouds coming in from the west but they just went over us and we didn't get a drop of rain.
Perhaps our Northern Hemisphere friends might like to share some of their snow with us.