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.

Pin It

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

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

  1. I am so excited to try this method! I live in UT where our summers make turning on the oven the last thing one wants to do!

      • Hi Pat,

        Gluten cloak refers to the action of forming the dough into a smooth ball. Stretching the dough into a smooth surface, like a cloak.

        Thanks and enjoy the bread! Zoë

  2. I loved this idea i made it today and it came out amazing i found the artisan recipe at this website
    I can’t wait to try it out with other bread recipes!!! Thanks sooo much.

    • Hi Leeann,

      We hope you will give the crock pot technique a try with one of our 5 minute a day recipes as well!

      Enjoy! Zoë

  3. Will this method work for the broa recipe in your book? Maybe since it needs to be flattened, my larger, oval crockpot would work better? Maybe flipping it over when bottom has become crusty?

    • Hi Amanda,

      Which dough did you use? What was the problem with the loaf? If you give us more detail, we may be able to help.

      Thanks, Zoë

    • I made it tonight as well and it did not turn out so nice. It was very flat and not very crusty. Not sure what I need to do differently. I used an Artisan bread recipe:

      3 cups lukewarm water
      1-1/2 tablespoons yeast (1-1/2 packets)
      1-1/2 tablespoons sea salt
      6-1/2 cups unsifted, unbleached, all-purpose white flour,
 measured with the scoop-and-sweep method
      2 tablespoons sugar

      Then I:
      1. Mixed all ingredients in large bowl with a wooden spoon. Allowed to sit at least 2 hours. (it was very sticky and gooey at this point…not sure why).

      2. Tried to form it into a ball and placed it on wax paper.

      3. Lowered it into the crockpot and let it bake for 1 hour on HIGH!

      4. When it was done (very flat), I put it in the oven on BROIL for 10 minutes.

      Any suggestions on how to make it look like the picture above?

  4. What is a gluten cloak? Is it just using flour to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands while shaping it into a ball? I’m new to bread making, and all types of baking, so these terms are like a foreign language to me!

    • Hi Sarah,

      Gluten cloak refers to the action of forming the dough into a smooth ball. Stretching the dough into a smooth surface, like a cloak.

      Thanks and enjoy the bread! Zoë

      • That’s makes no sense to me…. what does stretching it into a ball like a cloak mean?

      • April: much more detail in our books, sorry. Take a look at our videos (click above) and you’ll see what I mean. You want the video called “Shaping (“cloaking) the dough from HealthyBreadin5.MPG”

  5. This is fantastic! I am going to try it right now and am super excited to try your book with Gluten free recipes.
    Thank you so much!

  6. Yea, I make reg. artisan bread. It’s been in crock pot on high for 50 minutes, still looks like raw dough. I will continue to cook it, but I’m quiet sad.

    • Hi Angela,

      Is it the master recipe from our first book? If you tell me which recipe, I can help you better.

      Does your crock pot have a higher setting?

      Thanks, Zoë

      • yea, master. It took 2 hour. I wrote it 1st comment after an hour of it cooking. It didn’t even look like it was working at all. After 2 hours I took out, and browned top. It tasted as good as the recipe done other ways, just wasn’t as pretty. It was kinda shaped like a flying saucer. It didn’t really rise at all. I think I will try again with a smaller crock pot. I guess I wasn’t as sad in the end, cause technically it did work and as hot as it is now, (in 100′s) I will do it this way to not heat up house.

  7. I tested this in a smaller, 2 quart crock pot, which took almost twice as long to cook. BUT, I flipped the loaf about two thirds of the way through baking, and ended up with a very decent crust all the way around! What a fabulous summer baking project for toddlers. Thank you!

  8. When I posted my question about broa, I forgot to mention how much I am enjoying the AB in 5m book. The master recipe now has a permanent home in my fridge. We enjoy it very much with homemade hummus. I really appreciate the crockpot method! It works very well. Once the summer ends, I plan to pursue many of the other recipes.

  9. Hi Zoe – I love your cookbooks, I use them all the time & have my whole family hooked! I usually make the Light Wheat Loaf. I was a little confused by your directions for the crockpot – do you still allow the dough to rise for 2 hours prior to putting it into the crockpot? Or can you put the dough in the crockpot as soon as you make it, without the 2 hour rise time? Thank you!

    • Hi Tara,

      Yes, you need to let the dough do its initial rise and then you can form the dough into a loaf, or use the dough once it is refrigerated.

      Thanks, Zoë

  10. The parchment paper stuck to the loaf…the loaf turned out great but I had to cut the parchment paper off…any ideas why?

    • Hi Rose,

      Some brands tend to do that and I am not sure why? It is like they have a wax paper coating on them. Next time you can sprinkle some cornmeal under the loaf and it will prevent this, or try a different brand.

      Thanks, Zoë

  11. I am in the process of baking the deli rye bread from ABin5..p. 58, with the addition of craisins, orange rind, and slivered almonds…(smells delicious!) but the loaf has spread out quite wide and is nowhere near done. I hate to keep opening the lid since crockpots heat up so slowly after opening, but how will I be able to tell when it’s done if the crockpot method doesn’t brown it? I am really disapointed it is not working the way the recipe said it should! It’s been baking about 80 min now, pale and doughy on top. What is the maximum time you’ve heard from readers? I have a rival crockpot, the larger oval type. Help! Do I quit now??? I did not preheat the crockpot, as it sounded like you were to turn it on after the dough went in.

      • Hi Dianne,

        I tried slashing one of the loaves and it definitely spread more, so I would just leave the top rounded.

        Thanks, Zoë

      • Thank you for the help. I did let it cook about 2 1/2 hours, but it had spread a lot and was very low..and pale…didn’t look so good! But I did put it under the broiler and it got a little brown and actually tasted really good! The craisins and nuts and zest were added as I was mixing the dough initially, and the crockpot was on the highest setting.(Should I preheat it ?) The dough was never refrigerated – I just formed it after a 2 hr RT rest. I will try it without slashing next time – but I was afraid to skip that step as I have had loaves burst out sideways when I forgot to slash! In these 98 degree temps, I’d love to try it again tomorrow in the crockpot – but I do want a nice successful loaf from the rest of my dough!

      • Dianne: Try:

        1. Use cold dough
        2. Don’t slash
        3. Consider making a dryer mix if it keeps happening- won’t spread as much.
        4. Keep broiling at the end– you need that with this method or it looks too pale.

      • Thanks Jeff – I’ll try cold dough but thought maybe the refrigerating it would increase the time to bake even more.
        ..by the way, I have been making your bread since your book first came out and sure love them — and really appreciate the quick responses you give to your ‘groupies’!!

    • Hi Dianne,

      Is the setting on the highest it will go? The longest I’ve heard is 3 hours to finish baking, but that is extreme.

      Did you make the dough with the extra ingredients or work it into refrigerated dough? It will be much denser if you work it into refrigerated dough and may need to rise a bit before you put it into the crockpot.

      Thanks, Zoë

      • Odd – I just replied to your comment now and it says it was at 9:04 p.m. I am in Mpls like you are, not CA!

    • Probably, only limitation is the temp on the crockpot surface. Better check with silicone mat’s manufacturer, they’re rated to certain temperatures. If it discolors– it’s too hot.

  12. This is simply a wonderful idea for very hot summer days when you want fresh bread but don’t want to turn on the oven. Thanks!

  13. I’ve been making this crockpot bread for a few weeks now. I accidentally left the bread in the crockpot for 2.5 hours and it came out perfect. So for my crockpot… 2.25 – 2.5 hours and 8 min under the broiler yields a perfect loaf.
    Thank you for posting this method…. we now enjoy homemade bread in the summer as well!

  14. I did this as my first attempt at healthy bread in 5, the master recipe. I shaped the loaf after a two hour rise and put it right in the cold crock. It rose very high, then fell. Its not gummy or dense, very yummy, but the holes are small and there’s a huge pocket. Below the crust. Maybe I used too much water? The loaf was very hard to shape. Or is it altitude? I live in Denver, a mile above sea level. The loaf filled my oval crock pot to the sides, but is only an inch thick. Hasn’t stopped us from gobbling it up, but I’d like to improve!

    • Sarah: Do you have the actual paper book of Healthy Bread in Five? And have you worked through the recipes in the traditional way first, checking out the Tips and Techniques chapter?

      • My copy is from the library. I checked it out after I saw this post and went straight to crock pot baking. I decided to add more flour so I could actually shape it. I let it sit a few hours then shaped a loaf and let it rise overnight I the fridge. W finally got some rain to end our heat wave so I’ll use the oven until I get the hang of the dough. The tips section gave me good ideas, thanks!

  15. Always, my dough smells alcohol-y. And then the bread tastes alcohol-y. Please tell me how to correct that! Thank you.

  16. Can I use foil instead of parchment paper on the bottom of my crockpot for the crockpot bread? Or could I even just oil the bottom and sides of my crockpot and not use anything on the bottom when I put the dough in?

  17. Can you use the pre-made frozen dough bread loafs that come out of the frozen food section? If so, after you let it thaw, do you need to let it rise first?

  18. I have a very old crockpot. Have made lots of bread in oven and outdoors using volcano (heat beads) with caste iron pot. Must admit I love the outdoors method when camping. Now looking forward to trying this “new” method.

  19. I have used this method 6 times since you posted this. I really love it. It makes bread day so much easier. I’ve made Peasant Bread and Vermont Cheddar Bread in boule form and in loaf tins. I don’t have to fuss with rising and preheating my oven. I think you could write a new book dedicated to this method. Thank you so very much!

  20. Could I put the dough in a loaf pan in the crock pot? I have a Pyrex loaf pan & was thinking I could fill crock pot with water 1/2 up loaf pan to make sliced bread. Will that work?

    • Madeline: That’s going to steam the bread, and I don’t think it’s going to work. Also risky with a glass pan in one of these. That said we haven’t tried this— just can’t vouch for it.

  21. My first attempt was a failure because I used too much dough. Looked like a bad souffle. Today, I had great luck with the method. I did a test with a loaf in the oven and one in the slow cooker. Instead of the broiler, I put the loaf from the slow cooker into the hot oven(turned off after I took out the other loaf). Browned up nicely in the residual heat. Both loaves are cooling, so we will hold a taste test later. Time was about 2-2.5 hrs.

  22. I thought a crock pot had to be at least 2/3 full of something or it would burn out. Or, is it just the older ones that would burn out?

    • Bronwyn: Something has to be in there to absorb the heat; question is whether the bread dough is adequate. Best to check with the manufacturer; we can’t make any claims about whether a particular machine can tolerate some particular operation.

  23. If folks are running into super long cook times, you can “cheat” and amp up the temp in your crock pot quite a bit by wrapping it in a couple of bath towels. Crock pots are very poorly insulated and lose a ton of heat off the sides and the top. I wouldn’t leave the house while doing that since it is a heat-producing electrical appliance so there’s always a small risk of fire, but I’ve done this for years when I need to cook something fast and it works like a charm. Cuts cook times for roasts & stews by a third. I’m SUPER excited to try this with bread! I’ve been craving a nice loaf for weeks now, but the thought of cranking up the oven when it’s this hot outside makes me want to cry.

    • I am making your Oat flour bread tonight in the crock pot. I love the crockpot. I make everything in there,from bannana bread, cake to sauces. u can cook anything in these things. so much better then heating up the house in the summer. I just wanted to comment on a couple things, I have also wrapped a towel or laid a towel on top of the crock to keep heat in

  24. I also use a dish towel over the crock pot lid to speed the cooking. It totally works! I just drape a damp dish towel over the top. It dries the towel after a while, so I also wouldn’t leave the house while doing it.

  25. I have and older crockpot book that suggests pitting a couple If matches/skewers under the lid to let some steam out. This might let some heat out too though…

  26. I have now cooked 2 loaves of broa in the crockpot, turning it over to crisp both sides. It is so hot I cannot turn on the oven. It is such a delicious recipe. Good with dinner and also with honey drizzled over for dessert. On to the next recipe.

  27. Just made the bread. It was not done in an hour so let it go another hour and put it under broiler for 5 minutes to brown top. Second and third time I placed a towel around the crockpot and baked for 2 hours. It was perfect and didn’t even need the broiler. I made bread just as the recipe stated. It was soooooo delicious. I will now try some of the other recipes.

  28. What a WONDERFUL idea… now between my toaster oven and crock pot, I may never need my big oven again! What an amazing idea.. I would never think to bake bread in a crockpot! Thank you!!! Great blog, too!

  29. I’m going to try this today. I have some dough that I had frozen a couple of weeks ago, though I do want to try it again with fresh dough when I get more yeast. Looking forward to see how this works!

    • Hi Katie,

      I think your frozen dough should also work, as long as you defrost it before hand. Let us know how it goes!

      Thanks, Zoë

  30. Hi – I’ve been following the comments and was hoping to see more about putting the dough in a bread ‘tin’ and then putting into the crock pot. I have metal and stoneware containers. Which would be better? What about timing, etc.? All comments appreciated.

    Suzan

      • I guess I wasn’t clear. I want to put the bread in a container before putting it in the crock pot. Mainly, so it comes out more square to use for sandwiches. I have baked many loaves from both books in bread tins; I want to try it in a crockpot now.

      • Hi Suzan,

        Oh, sorry about that. I haven’t tried baking bread in a tin within the crockpot yet. Once I do, I will post about it. I just don’t have one that will fit. I think a coffee can may be a good option!?!? ;)

        Thanks, Zoë

      • I have a very large crock pot and my bread tins (I hate to call them that because one is stoneware) will fit. I am wondering about using the stoneware. I’m thinking the heat is still lower or the same as an oven so it should be okay? Let me know if you try out the coffee can.

      • Hi Suzan,

        My only concern about doing this is the reaction of heating an unfilled crockpot. Some of them warn not to heat without being filled and I am not sure the “tin” will absorb the heat in the same way? I’d hate for your crockpot to crack as a result!

        Thanks, Zoë

  31. A fully cooked loaf of bread will register 200 degrees on an instant read thermometer. To test, remove your loaf from the crock pot, flip it over, and instert the thermometer. If it reaches 200 degrees, it’s done. If not, it still needs some cooking.

  32. I just tried this tonight…first time baking bread of any kind. I surprised myself! I noticed on the master recipe (using the conventional over method) that it calls for resting the bread after forming the ball. Do I need to do that with the crock pot method? Thank you for sharing this recipe!

    • Hi Singa,

      No, because the crockpot heats up slowly, it does the rising all at the same time. If you let it rise for a while before, it may make a lighter loaf, but I haven’t tried it yet.

      Thanks, Zoë

    • Hi Norma,

      I have never heard of this roaster, but it looks like it was made for the job! ;) I would double check to make sure you don’t have to fill it with liquid to prevent the pot from cracking.

      Thanks! Zoë

    • Hi Danielle,

      My guess is that it will take longer to bake, but it should work. Let me know if you give it a try.

      Thanks, Zoë

  33. I made this bread and I couldn’t believe how easy it was! I’ve really wanted fresh baked bread but I have a 7 month old and it makes it difficult to find the time. I used my Kitchenaid to help get the dough together and then sprayed my crockpot with pam (since I didn’t have any parchment paper) and it came out wonderfully! Thanks so much!

    • Hi Jenn,

      Thank you so much for trying it and for the lovely note! It is high praise coming from a mom of a 7 month old! Also, glad to know that spraying the crockpot works.

      Cheers, Zoë

  34. Well, just for grins I ran a Google search on baking bread in a crock pot. I was amazed at all the hits I got! Just a few of the ways that folks are doing this:

    - some sites used a small amount of water at the bottom of the pot then a canning ring under a loaf pan

    - one site actually used a Pyrex container for the dough

    - a couple of sites preheated the pot and put the dough (in a pan) inside without letting the dough rise at all!

    - greasing the pan

    - using scrunched up foil in lieu of a canning ring under the loaf pan

    My guess is that you can’t go wrong doing it almost any way!!!

  35. I have made this several times now…but the bread top starts to get dimply…it’s done, but the crock pot sweats…I wipe the lid down so it doesn’t drip…but it still does this. Any suggestions…or are your loaves the same way…they didn’t look like it in your photos.

    • Hi Jo,

      Perhaps the lid on the crock pots will create different amounts of steam, due to the shape. Are you setting the loaf under the broiler at the end of the “baking?” Does this help the look of the crust?

      Thanks, Zoë

    • Jo, do you have a thin linen towel like you would use to dry glassware? You could put your dough into the crock, lay the towel over it and then put the lid on. Pull the towel tightly across and flip up over the lid so it doesn’t touch the hot sides of the crock. The towel will absorb the extra moisture and keep it from dripping back onto the bread. My Rival has a glass lid that’s heavy enough to hold it in place but you could run a rubber band around the ends to keep them up out of the way. Just an option if you think it might help.

      • Hi Ann,

        My only fear is that the towel comes into contact with the dough and stick to it. You need to have a large crock pot with lots of room for the bread to rise.

        Thanks, Zoë

    • I have an old crockpot book that suggests putting two-three matches between the lid and the pot for baking to vent steam. I’ve never tried it

      • Hi Louise,

        I fear this would reduce the “oven” effect of the crock pot and the bread won’t cook as well. Or, it may just make it take longer to bake.

        Thanks, Zoë

  36. I looked at Amy’s “Master” recipe and was surprised to see it included sugar.I have the first book and I cant see any sugar in the ingredients. Is this something new?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>