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 (Here is 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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If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it with others using one of the social sharing buttons above. Thanks, Jeff and Zoë

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

      • I have never tried using a paper bag instead of parchment paper. My instinct tells me it wouldn’t work. But you probably could just spray the cooker with spray instead.

      • Hi Tony,

        You may be safer to use a piece of foil, since you never know what the sack has been treated with. If you use the foil be sure to sprinkle it with a bit of cornmeal so the dough won’t stick.

        Thanks, Zoë

      • We were out of parchment paper last night, so we tried a piece cut from a paper grocery sack. (I had remembered the recipe on the Making Light blog, “Brown-Bagging Your Apple Pie,” so I figured if the bag wouldn’t burn in the oven it certainly wouldn’t in the crock pot.) We made sure to cut it small enough that it didn’t travel too far up the sides of the pot.

        It actually worked pretty well! The only downsides were: it *might* have been responsible for the bread taking 2 hours instead of 1; and it stuck a little to the bottom of the bread, so that we had to scrape a few shreds off. Next time I might use a little cornmeal or flour to prevent the sticking — if I haven’t gone to the grocery for more parchment paper first.

      • Hi Nicole,

        Had you baked it in a crock-pot with parchment, before the paper bag experiment? I bet the paper bag didn’t have as much to do with the 2 hour baking time. It may be that your crock-pot just has different heat settings and it takes longer to bake.

        Thanks! Zoë

      • Just reread Zoe’s reply. As to what the bag has been treated with: we thought of that, and finally just took the risk because the bag was from a local natural grocery that’s usually pretty good about things like that.

      • Hi Zoe! This was our first time trying your crock-pot method, so we didn’t have any other experience for comparison. You are probably right about the bake time being a function of our crock-pot rather than of the (slightly) thicker paper bag paper.

        Tomorrow I’m going to do it again, and I still don’t have any parchment paper in the house, so hopefully a little flour or a spritz of spray-on olive oil will help with the sticking. (Taking the crock-pot in the car sounds like a great idea — I’ve got a long early morning drive, and I’m going to surprise my carpool with breakfast!)

    • This is parchment paper. It’s great to stop the bread from sticking to a pot or when baking something in the oven.

    • Hi Pat,

      Looks like many folks came to your rescue on this one. :) But, I still added the word “paper” after the “parchment,” for those that aren’t familiar with it. You want parchment and not wax paper.

      Thanks, Zoë

      • Point of interest: in Australia it’s called Baking Paper, or sometimes Greaseproof Paper (or the most popular brand: “Glad Bake”). I use the stuff for all kinds of baking – pizzas and oven fries, things like that.

    • That is called Parchment paper. It can be found at grocery stores or even Target stores. It is different from waxed paper. I use it all the time with various breadmaking.
      C

  1. I tried this and I had a problem with condensation on the lid dripping on the crust. I overcooked the bread because I thought that it wasn’t cooking but it was just the moisture. Any suggestions?

    • I haven’t tried this yet although I’m eager to with the hot weather coming. Perhaps sticking a toothpick under the lid to get rid of some of the condensation during the cooking would help?

      • Nikki, Mariola: The steam helps with the crust, usually. In this case, it might allow all the heat to escape. Might be worth an experiment.

    • Hi Ruth,

      How long did you bake the bread? If your machine is building up lots of moisture, just lift the lid a couple times during baking, for just a second, to allow the steam to escape.

      Thanks, Zoë

      • I have made desserts with crusts in the slow cooker and have found that the placing a towel under the lid is the solution to condensation falling onto the crust.

  2. I have to bake a dozen loaves of bread for an event next weekend. I own 2 crockpots and have access to 2 more. Next week just got a LOT simpler.

    • Brandi: We’ve only tested with “lean” doughs (those made without a lot of eggs and sweetener). Though it might work with those too– might need a lower temp, and couldn’t broil at the end.

  3. LoVe..lOvE…LOVE this idea! It sounds sooo YUMMY! I will have to try this…easier than getting out my bread machine…Thank You for this idea..

  4. Can you use any bread recipe or is there a web site that has them? I love fresh bread but do not want to store another big piece of kitchen equipment so this would be great..

      • I’m in the military and travel a lot. Many times for long periods of time. For this reason, I don’t have my ABin5 book with me and end up having to (like Cheryl) use store-bought dough for bread. I purchased the book quite a while a go and now have a tablet that I carry with me everywhere I go. Do I need to purchase the ebook to use on my tablet or, having already purchased the book version, is there a way to get a free (or, at least, discounted) ebook version?

      • Miguel: There is not a free or reduced-price version available from publishers at this point. But this business is evolving so fast, no one really knows what to expect. The website and its recipes are always available to anyone with Internet access, for free.

    • Hi Cynthia,
      I’ve made gluten free bread in the crock pot twice now. The first one was from a King Arthur mix that was refrigerated and went in cold, the second was a Bob’s Red Mill cinnamon raisin mix made up just before use so it was room temperature. I have the Rival Cake’n Bake pan insert so I oiled it with olive oil, lined it with parchment paper (oil both sides of paper), placed the vented lid on and put all in the crock pot with the glass lid on. The cold dough had no steam but the room temperature one had condensation under the lid. Because of the pan insert it didn’t affect the bread as it ran down the outside into the crock liner.Both breads took about three hours to be completely done in the center via the knife test. Both were a little dense but far from door stops, good flavor & texture. The parchment paper really made it easier to get the bread out of the pan. I let it cool about 20 minutes, turned it over and it slid out like butter. Nice crust, crispy but not overdone and the cinnamon bread was dark so I didn’t mind it not having the browned look on top. I have a bread machine but it takes up a lot more space than the crock so I might just find room for it in a cupboard.If you don’t have a pan insert for the crock you could use a smaller cake pan or ceramic souffle type pan instead.

      • Ann: Glad to hear it works w/gluten-free as well, we may put our own up soon…

  5. I tried it yesterday with fresh dough (after two hour rise). I will try it again soon with refrigerated dough. It took 2 hours to bake 2 smallish loaves in my big oblong crock pot. I poked the loaves for doneness several times and each time I wiped the condensation off of the lid. The loaves are indeed pallid, but they taste great. This is now my method of choice for the hot Memphis summer!

  6. oh my goodness!! I have HBin5 but haven’t tried the recipes yet. Now I just HAVE to try this.
    I used to bake all our bread when I had all my kids home, at least 6 loaves once a week … and I really love a loaf of hot bread..Mmmmmmm
    But now that I am working FT I rarely have time to engage in those old culinary skills for just the 2 of us.
    I look forward to trying this…. just be brave.. just be brave… and try these new ideas.

  7. I was just wondering if you can use frozen bread dough or frozen rolls that have been thawed? Thanks! =^..^=

    • I used frozen bread it worked great Thawed in refrigerator overnight and put in crock pot in morning one time later in afternoon so it wwas fresh for dinner another day

  8. I’ve now used this method twice and I LOVE it for two reasons: I don’t have to heat up my kitchen with the oven AND the rest time is removed. The bread also comes out really soft and works great for sandwiches. I love that!!! The bread takes about 1.5 to 2 hours in my crock pot depending on the size of the loaf I shape but that’s totally ok with me! THANKS AGAIN for this great post!

  9. This worked great! I tried it the second time with my pullman pan in the crock, and that worked awesome too. I’m going to use this to cook bread outside in the summer so my house doesn’t get hot. Thanks!

  10. Would this work for your gluten free bread recipes? I’d LOVE to be able to make that here in the hot and sticky South during the summer!

  11. This is neat. I’m going to give it a try, for sure. Thank you for sharing the information. I’ll be featuring this blog on my News of the Day this evening.

  12. Do you think there are any modifications needed for the HBin5 recipes?

    This would be great at mothers tiny beach park model.

    Angela

    • Hi Angela,

      As I mentioned, the 100% whole grain breads may not rise as much and the breads may take longer to bake, but otherwise it will work just great.

      Thanks, Zoë

  13. For the condensation issue I place a double layer of white, good for cooking, paper towels under the lid and it really helps on other things so it probably will for this.

  14. Hi Zoe and Jeff,

    I am looking forward to trying this crockpot method–a way to avoid heating up the kitchen in the summer!

    I had a problem today, and I have questions. I shaped 4 challahs yesterday, and wanted to bake them today. I never have luck with breads rising totally in the fridge, so I let them rise on my table for awhile first.

    Yesterday, I had an appointment that ran long. When I got home, the loaves were really puffy. I probably should have baked them right away, but I wanted them to be a day fresher.

    I covered them and put them in the fridge. This morning, it looked like the change in temperature really gave them a chill. They shrank! I let them sit out awhile, and they rose only a little.

    I baked them, and they are about half the rise of normal. A friend, later, said I should have tried reshaping them and letting them rise again.

    Would that would have worked with this method?

    Thanks so much,

    Judy

    • Hi Judy,

      By leaving the loaves out to let them rise fully at room temperature and then refrigerating them the loaves over proofed. This means the yeast created air bubbles that were too big for the gluten to support and the bubbles burst, which results in a dough that is flatter than normal. Next time do the refrigerator rise and then let the dough warm a bit on the counter before you bake them.

      Thanks, Zoë

      • Thanks, Zoe. Will do!

        I really, really appreciate your help and the tech explanation.

        Judy

  15. Do you have any suggestions about doing this without parchment paper? I do not usually have any on hand. Could I just spray the pot?

    • Hi Stephanie,

      You can try spraying the inside of the crock-pot or you can use foil under the loaf. If you use the foil, you may want to sprinkle a bit of cornmeal under the loaf.

      Thanks, Zoë

      • Thanks so much for your quick replies on this blog! I am excited to try it but not if I have to make a store trip first.

  16. That is just amazing.
    I’m going to try this method tomorrow.
    I”m still loving your book .
    Thanks!
    Iris

  17. I used refrigerated whole wheat with olive oil from Healthy Bread and rolled in some basil, goat cheese and Italian seasoning, and then dropped in the slow cooker right away. I cooked on high for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, and the loaf burst a little at the top, revealing some of the yummy inner goodness. I then broiled as you suggested for about 10 minutes, and it’s just delicious. Very light and soft, and made a wonderful grilled cheese sandwich! THANK YOU! :)

  18. We’re on loaf three of the crockpot baking bread, and it works great! On the third my husband increased the size, and had no problem… it just took longer to bake.

  19. Hello my bread is cooking right now in the crock pot and it looks great. I used fresh dough that I made a few hours ago. Can i use this method with dough from the fridge or do i have to let it stay at room temperature first?
    Anyway thanks again.

    • Hi Iris,

      You can use refrigerated dough as well! I made it both ways and it worked with both.

      Thanks and enjoy the bread! Zoë

      • Thanks. That loaf was finished so fast i had to make another one…. Do you think that it would work to put a bread pan in the crock pot ,(mine is a big one), so i could have a more square loaf??
        Anyway we are having pizza tonight!
        I’m like “the crazy baker” these days :D

      • Hi Iris,

        I haven’t tried it yet, but would love to know if you have success with the loaf pan in the crock pot.

        Thanks, Zoë

      • Zoe,

        When you said you made it both ways, do you mean cold from the fridge AND rested at room temp? Have you noticed any difference between cold dough & rested (after refrigeration)?

        I love this idea btw! I usually don’t bake bread in the summer–but I think I will be now!

        Thanks!

      • Hi Leslie,

        Yes, I have tried both room temperature dough, right after the initial rising and then also chilled dough. They were both great, with almost no noticeable difference. If your loaf is coming out a bit dense, you may want to let it rest for a little before placing it in the crock pot.

        Thanks, Zoë

  20. Can I use recipe for bread machine? How about from my No Knead Bread recipe book? Thanks for new way to bake bread. LOVE the CROCK here in HOT, seems all year long, Florida!

  21. Hi! Thank you so much for this great idea! I do have a question though…I just made a load and I think the condensation from the lid dripped down to the middle of the loaf. The middle didn’t bake right? Any suggestions?

  22. Much to my surprise, it worked! I actually made a loaf in the oven at the same time for comparison. While I preferred the oven loaf, the kids thought the slow cooker version was better. And, the slow cooker definitely was easier. Thanks for sharing! It’s a winner in my house.

  23. I love the comment “bake a loaf under your desk”…..I cook beef stew in a crock pot in the back seat of the car when we travel on long trips. Will have to try bread on the road nex trip!!

  24. Well hello again , Just letting you know that i made a beautiful bread using a loaf pan inside the crock pot….
    ….it worked just fine, the bread took a little longer to cook, 3 hours, but it was a 2 pounds loaf, it rose so much i thought it would come out of the pot. I didn’t taste it yet, still hot, but it looks amazing.
    Thanks !

  25. I tried this out, but it made my crock pot crack into two! Does anyone know why this would happen and how to prevent it from happening again?

  26. I absolutley LOVE this idea! I have a lovely crockpot that I seldom use (I know, shame on me :( We also love good, artisan type breads. I’m going to be using my crockie more often now. One question…what should I do different if I want to have a ‘sweet’ bread, maybe with dried fruit in it? Longer cooking time? I’m thinking of the wonderful sweet, yeast breads for the holidays :) YAY…my crockie isn’t just for awesome pot roast anymore :) Thanks for posting this recipe…came across it purely by accident. Glad I did!

    • Suzan: In ovens sweet breads need a lower temp (350 not 450) so you may need to adjust. Check out the book links above– all have dessert/holiday breads.

  27. Holy cow. I am totally doing this. Tomorrow. Once my daughters Fourth of July Dress is sewn and pressed… And all of the bed linens are washed and dried. Oh the woes of wanting some crock pot bread but having to do a bunch of other crap first.

  28. Had to Pin this! I was putting away my bread buckets for the summer because baking bread heats up our whole house and is so hard to cool it back down. I will definitely be giving this method a try. I’m so glad y’all tried it and worked it out for us.

  29. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I had submitted a slow-cooker bread request to you in the past & hoped you’d try it before I did–and you did–successfully! Will be trying it this weekend!

  30. Has anyone tried stromboli in a crockpot? Wondering if the bread would bake the same having the filling rolled up in it…

  31. This works! THIS REALLY WORKS. I’m ecstatic! I have NEVER been able to bake a loaf of bread that didn’t turn out like a whole wheat bowling ball. UNTIL TODAY.

    • Hi Aileen,

      Thank you so much for giving it a try and we’re so thrilled it worked so well for you! :)

      Enjoy all the bread! Zoë

  32. So, I can shape the dough(HBin5)straight straight from the fridge and put it on the crock pot right away? No resting time?

    If so, then making bread will be so much easier for me. I have only made the recipes a couple of times because it take planning and time. Working FT I can only bake a loaf on the weekend that I am going to be home. I could bake every night now before going to bed!

    • Ana: The resting time happens spontaneously– because the crock takes a while to heat up. Might be a more open crumb if you do some rest time– but see what you think.

  33. I love love this bread in the crockpot!! I recently got your cook book out of the library and will be buying my own copy! I have made 3 batches now and i’ve leaned a few things! 1) if you read the recipe right it turns out better! Oops! 2) my refrigerated dough can take between 2 and 3 hrs to bake in the crockpot. Not complaining just jetting others know my results. I’m going to be going thru your book and trying as many as I can in the crockpot! Thank you for this awesome recipe!

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