Crock Pot Bread Baking (Fast Bread in a Slow Cooker)

crock pot bread

When I moved to the midwest I was introduced to Crock Pot cooking. I had never even seen a slow cooker before and had no idea the range of foods that could be created in a plug-in cooking pot. Since then I have had everything from No-Peek-Chicken, Swedish Meatballs and Peach cobbler, done in one of these magic devices. When my husband was an art director Aveda they had “crock pot parties,” which meant everyone plugged in their slow cookers at their desks and made a dish to share.  Brilliant! Maybe kids should bring crock pots to school and have healthy food cooking at their desks.

But, bread in a crock pot? Over the years we have gotten requests from readers to develop a method of baking our dough in a crock pot. I had my doubts, lots of them. I didn’t think the slow cooker could get hot enough, I thought it would take too long, I didn’t think it would bake through or have a nice crust and I resisted trying it. I was so convinced it would be a fail. Oh, how wrong I was. The crock pot does indeed get hot enough, and it takes less time than using  your oven, because the rising time is included in the baking. The only thing I got right was the crust, it is very soft and quite pale when it comes out of the slow cooker, but just a few minutes under a broiler and I got a gorgeous loaf. I am a convert and it is just perfect for summer baking when you don’t want to heat up your oven. You could even amaze your friends at work by baking a loaf under your desk!  *

1 pound dough (Click here for our No-Knead 5-Minute Bread Recipe. I used the Peasant Bread from The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, but the recipes from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day would also work.)

Form the dough into a ball and place it on a sheet of parchment paper. Lower the dough into the Crock-Pot (Slow Cooker), mine is a 4-quart, but I think it will work in any size.

Update: I just mixed up a fresh batch of ABin5 Peasant Bread Dough, let it rise for the two hours in the bucket, then formed a 1-pound loaf and stuck it in the crock pot.  So, you can use fresh or refrigerated dough.

Turn the temperature to high and put on the cover. (Not all crock pots behave the same, so you should keep an eye on the loaf after about 45 minutes to make sure it is not over browning on the bottom or not browning at all. You may need to adjust the time according to your machine.)

Bake for 1 hour (this will depend on your crock pot, you may need to increase or decrease the time. If you are using a 100% whole grain dough, you may want to go for a bit longer as well). You will have a fully baked loaf of bread, but the crust is very soft, almost like a steamed bun. To check for doneness I poked the top of the loaf and it felt firm. Before it is fully baked it felt soft and almost mushy when I gently pressed the top.

The bottom crust should be nice and crisp, but the top of the loaf will be quite soft. Some folks desire a softer crust, so you will love this loaf. If you want a darker or crisper crust…

crock pot bread

Stick the bread under the broiler for 5 minutes or until it is the color you like, with the rack positioned in the middle of the oven.

Let the loaf cool completely before slicing. Cutting into a hot loaf is tempting, but it may seem gummy and under-baked.

It is fantastic with butter or as a sandwich. I love this method!

Related Post:

Gluten-Free Crock-Pot Bread – another surprise from my slow cooker

Herb Crock-Pot Dinner Rolls – Making room in your oven at the holidays

Sweet Brioche in a Crock-Pot – in the mood for something sweet

*Check with your crock-pot’s manufacturer before trying this, since some model’s instructions specify that the pot has to be at least partially filled with liquid to avoid safety or durability problems.  And never bake  in a crock-pot unattended.

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821 thoughts on “Crock Pot Bread Baking (Fast Bread in a Slow Cooker)

  1. I tried this out this week. First off – my dough is VERY wet – much like others have commented on. I tried to bake my first loaf straight after the 2 hour rising period, as it was mentioned you could do that. BIG MISTAKE. I think this was because of my wet dough. The dough for the second loaf was in better shape, as it had sat in the fridge overnight. The dough was still quite wet, however. So I went back & watched the video on working with wet dough (thanks for the link!) That helped a lot. Second loaf was a success! I’m looking forward to trying the rest of the dough later this week, as I suspect that it will only improve with time (both the dough & my technique!). This has been really fun & the end result is delicious. :)

  2. Any tips for making Broa (New Artisan Bread p 146) using the crockpot? I’m craving the Portuguese fish stew that’s in the book for dinner tonight, but without an oven for at least a week.


  3. Hi! I love your book, and have successfully made the basic recipe in the oven. I tried it in the crockpot last night – epic fail! Even after an hour and half – the bottom of the loaf was gummy and uncooked. Ended up cooking it for over two hours, and it just did not turn out well. I know the crockpot got pretty hot, because I burned my hand when I went to check the loaf. Any tips?

    • Hi Joannie,

      What bread dough were you baking?

      It is not unusual for some machines to take 2 hours. Unfortunately, it is hard to tell how long it will take until you’ve tried it. Did you open the cover more than the one time to check for doneness at an hour?

      It is very unusual for the bottom to be undercooked. I’ve experienced the top being gummy, but typically the bottom is ready way before the rest of the loaf.

      Thanks, Zoë

  4. I always put paper towel over the bread it keeps a lot of the moisture out. Then I put the lid on.
    Could I use the frozen bread types? Thanks

  5. Hi,
    I would love to try this bread, however, I do not own a Crockpot but a Corning Slow Cooker. Would I still be able to make the bread?

    • Hi Fran,

      My machine is not a crockpot brand either and it works just fine. You may want to check to make sure it doesn’t specify that it needs to cook with liquids.

      Thanks, Zoë

  6. Hi, I just made a 100% whole wheat bread in my slow cooker… After letting proof for a few hours, I “kneaded it” using a silicon spatula, basically folding it over a few times. Then I generously coated it with flour all around (This keeps the inside moist, but makes the dough easier to handle). I then oiled my unheated crock pot and generously coated the bottom with more flour and placed my dough into the crockpot (without any parchment paper). Then I turned the temperature to low. I left my house and returned in about 2 1/2 hours. The bread was perfectly cooked. I just placed it in my toaster oven, for a crispier crust, about 30 minutes.

  7. I LOVE baking bread in my Crock-Pot!!! I have used your Deli Rye dough as well as a Sour Dough concoction of my own and the loafs and dinner rolls come out terrific. And yes, I am one that enjoys a softer, chewier crust! Thanks for all the great ideas!

    P.S. Since there are only two of us, I normally end up freezing half a loaf in individual slices and when defrosted they taste just as good and have as good texture as the original part of the loaf!

  8. Made this last night, with smaller than ‘standard’ loaves. Ate the entire first one hot out of the pot, and had to make another!

    I didn’t have parchment paper, so the first one I used PAM to grease the pot, and the second time I used butter. Both worked just fine.

    I didn’t toast the loaves after, so they were very pale, but still delicious!

    I was worried when first making the dough, because I’ve done this method before, but not for a few years. I just threw everything in the mixing bowl, and then worried it wouldn’t rise because the yeast wasn’t thoroughly mixed in, I used chlorinated tap water, and the room was very cold. The dough seemed to rise just fine, and I like a dense crumb anyway. Thumbs up!

    • Hi. Thank you so much for letting us know. I am so glad that your dough didn’t stick when you used the PAM and butter. That is a great tip!
      Glad you enjoyed the bread.

      Cheers, Zoë

      • Agreed – I get around 4 loafs out of one batch of dough. My favorite? Take a grapefruit size portion, dust lightly, divide into five or six balls, quickly shape to tuck ends under to give some tension to the top, place on parchment paper, not or just barely touching depending on size of crock pot, cover and go! Check frequently after 75 minutes – crock pots are quite variable in cooking temps and times. I go for 190 degrees and then let it rest for 45 minutes. DELISH!!!!

      • Fantastic Dana, thanks for the feedback. Most of the pots can do a decent job, once you get used to their idiosyncracies.

  9. I am just wondering. If you are going to put the loaf in a broiler afterward then when not just bake the bread to begin with.

    Or when the loaf is 70% done, flip it over and continue “baking” in the pot.

    • It’s very quick under the broiler, and optional (for crust appearance). Yes, you could try to flip but no promises as to whether that’s hot enough to brown it nicely.

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