Yes! This is something I have tried a few times, with varied success. This recipe, from healthybreadinfive.com, does the trick.
Artisan Bread (basic recipe)
3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tbsp yeast
1 1/2 tbsp salt (I used 1 tbsp)
6 1/2 cups flour
Mix ingredients together with a spoon in a large bowl. No need to knead!
Cover loosely with a towel and let rise about two hours, up to five hours.
Dough will be sticky. Add just a little flour if needed to shape the dough into a round and place on a heavy baking tray.
This makes two one-pound batches of dough. Refrigerate or freeze half of it for another day.
Let rest about 40 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees, twenty minutes. Place bread in oven with a pan of water on the lower oven rack.
Bake 30 minutes until browned and crisp.
Crock Pot Version
following the recipe above:
Place a sheet of parchment paper in the crock pot.
Place half of the recipe, shaped into a round on top of the parchment paper.
If you are saving half for another day, it works well to put the other round on a sheet of parchment paper, slide it into a gallon zip lock bag, refrigerate, and it is ready to go for the next time.
Cover, cook on high, about an hour, check - when top of loaf feels firm it is done (my crock pot takes about two hours)
This gives a loaf with a soft crust. If you want it crispy, run it under the broiler for five minutes (watch it carefully)
This is a great way to bake bread. The timing is not critical. You can go for a walk, read a book, run to the store, get lost in a project, work in the garden - and when you come back, the house smells incredible and the bread - mmmmm!
Yesterday, I took the other half of the dough and made bread sticks.
Roll the dough out into a long rectangle. This will require more flour to keep it from sticking.
Spread butter and parmesan cheese on the rectangele.
Fold in half. Roll out again into a long rectangle.
Spread with butter and parmesan, again.
Repeat two more times.
Using a pizza cutter, cut the rectangle into long strips.
Pick up each strip, twist it into a spiral - perfection is not the goal here!
Place on greased cookie tray.
Let rise about 45 minutes.
Bake at 350 degrees, about twenty minutes until slightly browned.