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

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

  1. I tried this a few weeks ago to serve alongside a veggie lentil soup recipe, and it couldn’t have turned out better! I have always been somewhat intimidated by recipes that use yeast, I always think I’m gonna screw it up somehow, but this was so easy! I’m very excited to make it again tomorrow, and so is my family (they loved it!) Thank you so much for sharing this easy recipe and method!

      • When you use a corning ware casserole dish (with lid) to bake your bread instead of dutch oven do you preheat the casserole dish the same as you would the dutch oven?

      • Haven’t tried that– the only question is whether the corningware can be heated empty like that without risk of breaking, you’d have to check with the manufacturer for that.

        But– Since it’s so thin, and will heat up so fast, even if you don’t preheat it, my guess is that it isn’t necessary. Dough may stick to that surface, so maybe grease it first time you try this. Could experiment without after that, assuming you like the result.

      • I love the crock pot method using the basic recipe. Can you use all the recipes I.e. whole wheat or rye, in the crock pot. I bought 3 books for Christmas gifts but decided to keep one for me.

      • Hi Loraine,

        I’ve tried lots of our recipes in the crock pot and have had great results. Since you’ve already tried it, you know that it may take longer or shorter than we’ve suggested. I found the whole wheat breads took a bit longer.

        Thanks, Zoë

  2. I wonder if I could fit a bread pan in a oval shaped 6 QT cooker and try baking it that way? I prefer traditional loaf shaped bread for the toaster!

    • I can’t see why it wouldn’t work, but I’m not sure about putting metal into a dry slow-cooker– could it overheat? Better check with manufacturer, though they are VERY cautious and some say you can’t do any of this at all. See our note at the end of the post above.

      • Jeff, I have one of the original crock pots from the late 60’s and one of the options that you could purchase was a pan with a vented cover to go into the crock to cook things like “bread”…I used this many many times without any problems. So I don’t see any reason that you couldn’t use a loaf pan in the crock pot. Hope this info helps…

      • I often use small roasting racks in my crocks with no problem. I often throw a small round rack into the crock and put a pork roast onto it to cook just plain or add a few herbs. Easier to clean up afterward and beats heating the whole kitchen with the oven.

  3. i have a deluxe size Crock pot, and i cant wait to try this in it! i love home baked bread, and hubby is dragging his feet on buying me a bread maker. Yummy!

    • Probably, though directions will be off because our dough is high-moisture, most commercial dough is not. I’m guessing you’ll need less time?

  4. I started using a springform pan filled with golf ball sized pieces of dough rolled in butter in my oven. It made dinner time a breeze. No need to wait to cut as once I pull off the form we were able to pull off hot “rolls”. I’m excited to try this idea out in a crockpot, without the springform. Do you think this would work in the crockpot and would parchment paper work ok still with the butter?

  5. You could totally use a loaf pan but make sure there is enough water in the crock to cover the pan. I use this method to make homemade dulce de leche straight inn the sweetened condensed milk cans!

  6. Slow cooker idea is great. Using the healthy bread dough, I got a wonderful briole. I just grilled it ina baking oven, to slightly brown the top for 5 mins. Perfect !! Thanks.

  7. Sorry for the typo!!Boule !! Instead of eggs, can I substitute egg replacer or will flax seed powder substitution work better??

  8. Tried this today! I’ve made bread before the old fashioned way, kneading it and baking it taking most of the day to do so. Just like my grandma still does. However, this? This bread is the best I’ve ever made. I used the “Five Minute Bread” recipe link to whip up some good dough, kneaded it only a little in the bowl, and plopped it into the crock pot. It took mine a little longer than an hour, but the little bit of time under the broiler finished up the top. It was DELICIOUS and made the best turkey sandwich I’ve had in a long time.

    Thanks for posting this!

  9. I am going to try this recipe! I love making homemade bread, it’s just time consuming. I love that this recipe seems very easy! Thanks for sharing!!

  10. I have making bread almost exclusively with einkorn flour which has a very weak gluten. Have you tried using the crock pot method using einkorn flour?

  11. I’m making a loaf of quick bread now an noticed that in one place you mention rising time is included in the cooking time. However, further own the blog, you mentioned letting it rise for several hours. Does it make a difference??

    • You mean in other blog posts? I’m not seeing anything about a rising time for the Crock Pot recipe. You start it in a cold crock pot and just turn it on.

  12. I’m not having luck! Don’t know if it’s the bread dough or crockpot. My dough had hardly risen after the 2 hour period. I didn’t have parchment paper so I sprayed the crockpot with non-stick spray. After 2 hours the dough wasn’t cooked. I finished baking it in the oven. Today I’m trying some of the remaining dough in the crockpot again. This time using parchment paper. So far it has been in an hour and it’s still doughy and sticking to the paper. I really want to be able to use my crockpot to bake bread! I bake bread in the oven all the time and really don’t know what the problem is. Any ideas?

  13. Hi,
    have you ever used organic unbleached and unenriched flour in your bread recipes? Just bought some but not sure if it will work.
    thank you,
    Daria

  14. Does anyone have a good recipe for honey or some kind of sweet bread? I love eating it warm with butter but I’ve never tried making it at home.

  15. My larger 9x5x3 loaf pans won’t fit into my 6-quart slow cooker. I guess the only way I can make a larger 1 1/2 lb. loaf is to do it free form. How long should 1 1/2 lbs. of whole grain bread take to process in the slow cooker for the final rising and baking?

  16. OK. i feel like a complete jerk cause i managed to mix the dough, put it aside for its 2 hour rise AND FORGOT ABOUT IT! Found it sitting there on the back of the stove, gosh, about 12 hours later. It’s risen (obviously WELL risen) and i’ve now put it into the refrigerator. Have i RUINED it? should i try baking it? did the extra ten hours of rising rise all of the yeast right out of it?

    • Hi Theresa,

      I think the reason the paper towel works is because it absorbs the moisture. Having said that, I think foil is worth a shot. Let me know if you give it a try!

      Cheers, Zoë

    • Hi Sabina,

      You sure can. We have recipes in our book The New ABin5 for both. You can either add them as you mix or you can fold them into dough that is already made.

      Cheers, Zoë

  17. I have tried this bread before and it is wonderful! I want to make one for a friend but I have to leave for her house right after work. So, I was wondering if I let it sit in warm setting (for 5 hours) after cooking for an hour will it affect the bread’s quality? I like the crunchy hard shell and hoping it will still be there after being in the warm setting for few hours. Do you have any suggestion on this?

    Thank you

    • Hi Mia,

      If the bread is baked and still warm when you leave, you want to make sure it can cool down without being covered or it will get soggy.

      Thanks! Zoë

  18. When it gets to mid-summer, hotter than it ever has been, and you get the longing for baked bread, the crock pot idea sure sounds like a win-win deal to me.. Gonna have to test it out before then so we really know what to expect. Thanks a bunch for the info and commenters for their input also…

  19. Discovered your site and was all prepared to.make bread (in fact it is raising right now) using a baking stone. I have a no-name one and in reading the comments, I am a bit concerned about cracking it. I see the crock-pot cooking option and think I will use that method but wonder if the crock pot needs to be pre-heated?
    Thanks
    Looking forward to some yummy bread

    • Hi Sharon,

      My first stone was an inexpensive one I got at Target. It lasted me 10 years before it broke, after I dropped it. The stones are typically heartier than you think. If you go with the crock pot you do not want to preheat it, just place the dough in and turn it on.

      Enjoy, Zoë

  20. I have not tried the crockpot method but will love this in the summer! My crockpot comes out of the heating base and can actually be used on the stovetop even without a diffuser so it is probably o.k. to preheat a bit. We are diabetic but we make our own bread so we can control the ingredients. We have not had problems with our homemade bread, even fruited breads have been alright for us. Also, the boule can be place on a parchment cradle and more easily set into and removed from the pot or Dutch oven. Thanks for the idea!

      • I will have to dig it out sometime soon to tell you the brand and to make this bread. I bought it on sale at Macy’s about 10 years ago. The pot itself is oval with a dark brown matte finish. Nowadays, I am sure many crockpots and slow cookers are made to perform this way. Hamilton Beach has a 6 Qt. and Cuisinart has a dandy 7 Qt. that can be used on the stovetop. There are some on the market like Zisha and VitaClay with removable unglazed clay inserts. I doubt they can be used on the stovetop but unglazed clay would be wonderful for making bread. They are non-toxic and lead free too. I am thinking of upgrading to this style just so I can make bread in the summer. They are reasonably priced too. When I bought my current cooker, there were not as many that could be used on the stove and I bought mine half price for $60! If you shop online I bet you could find one that fits your needs. Best of luck : )

  21. I’m baking in the crock pot, and it seems like I read once that a towel should be placed under the lid to catch condensation, but I’m not seeing that in these Q&As. Please tell me if it is needed. Thanks. Love my (your) 5-minute bread!

  22. Hi folks.. I am without an oven here in central america, but have an old crock pot. I have made the 5 min. bread a lot when I did have an oven, I LOVE your cookbook.

    Question.. I can not source parchment paper.. can I use something else ??

    Thanks.. Erica craving good bread

    • I guess I’d just try to flour the bottom well, see how that works. Or you could just use nothing at all. Try to avoid a lot of stray flour around the bottom of the pot or I suppose it might burn.

      • Ah, I was hoping you’d say that! Depending on which book you have, we remembered to talk about that (I think we forgot in the 1st).

      • Thanks Jeff. I tried this morning with lots of flour and it stuck like crazy. I am now hanging it upside down sweating.. Hopefully it will fall out !

      • I would try green corn husks(or a real good clean soaked dried husk) or banana leaves or plantain leaves to prevent sticking. Depending on where you on in Central America any of these options should be simple to find as they are regional cooking staples. You could also try coating the bottom of the dough in oats or coarse cornmeal. I had great luck with green corn husks in my cast iron dutch oven with coals while camping. I also use a buried firepit method to cook all parts of the meal at the same time while camping. I surround the dough with green, young banana leaves, loosely is the key because it is going to grow. I use several layers, 7 or 8 totally covering each time to prevent any dirt from getting to the bread. I tie the ends together which makes it look like a banana with a fat middle. Put the package between 4 large hot rocks in the bed of coals and the rest of the meal in turn, cover with blanketing of leaves or husks then backfill with the rocks and dirt. Give it about an hour and you have an awesome meal with perfect bread.

      • Interesting idea, love it! If you try this in the crock pot, I wouldn’t leave it unattended– could scorch etc.

      • What a great idea Platypus Mom! I am always looking for clever ways to cook while camping. We just bought a new 22 footer and I can’t wait to go somewhere. This is camping for us as we are rather older and in need of certain comforts like a toilet and shower! LOL
        Anyway TMI, We have a 2 burner stove and microwave, the crock pot and dutch oven are also necessary kitchen tools.
        At least I have ways to make bread now.
        I think you just might like Jas. Townsend and Son You Tube videos. He has great cooking ideas and recipes.

        Thanks for th egreat ideas!

  23. Hi There! very excited to try this, but can you explain the beginning process a little more clearly? in the introduction you say “it takes less time than using your oven, because the rising time is included in the baking.” but when I click on any of the recipes included in the links they all describe the rising process. can you be more clear in terms of making the dough and what step to finish on before it gets transferred to the crock pot and maybe a estimate of how big your ball is when it goes into crock pot? Thanks so much!

    • That’s right, bec those are baked in the oven– this one’s different. You put in in the crock as soon as you shape it, because there’s no rising/resting time at all.

  24. Shame on me for not knowing about your new cookbook.I will be buying it next month,me and my husband are intrigued by the crockpot whole chicken and bread in the crockpot so we are going to get another crockpot so we can enjoy both at the same time.The dough is rising as I type this.I just want to thank Zoe and Jeff for their amazing work.I have bought all your books(or so I thought)but not the pizza book, I’m not a fan of pizza.

  25. HELLO JEFF ! I JUST HAPPENED UPON YOUR REALLY NEAT CROCKPOT BREAD RECIPE WHILE I WAS BUSY PINNING . OH YES, I DEFINITELY PINNED IT SO OTHERS MIGHT LIKE IT !!! IS THAT OK ? I AM NEW AT THIS PINNING THING HERE. I HAVE HAD AT LEAST 20 OR MORE ALREADY . I MEANT TO ASK YOU, HOW DO YOU KEEP THE BREAD FROM BURNING ON THE BOTTOM , AND DO I NEED TO GREASE OR OIL THE INSIDE OF CROCKPOT ? FANTASTIC BREAD THAT YOU MADE !!! I WOULD LOVE TO TRY THAT RECIPE AND ACTUALLY MAKE ONE !!

    • Hi Lauren,

      No need to use any grease on the bottom of the crockpot. You need to lower the dough down on a piece of parchment or foil, you can put a bit of cornmeal on the parchment, under the dough, if you are afraid it will stick. The crockpots I have used so far are not hot enough to really burn the bottom crust. If you find this happens with your, please let me know.

      Please Pin any of our photos, we are thrilled you want to share them!

      Enjoy the bread, Zoë

  26. How about making the dough in a bread machine then turning it out to the crock? Three hrs for the bread machine vs. 1 hr. for the crockpot.

    • Hi Charles,

      I’ve never tried our recipes in a bread machine. You’d probably have to make a small batch, which means you don’t have the same time savings as you do when you make a large batch and store it in the refrigerator.

      Thanks, Zoë

  27. I forgot to check that I would like to be notified of follow-up posts, so I am reposting my question.

    Has anyone tried baking bread in a Vitaclay slow cooker, with either the clay or stoneware insert? Any feedback or tips? Thanks

    • Hi Noel,

      I have not used a Vitaclay slow cooker, so I’m not sure if they recommend using it for something like this. Some slow cookers insist that the contents be wet. I’d hate for you to crack the insert by doing this. Best to check with the manufacturer first.

      Thanks, Zoë

  28. I have to buy a crock pot, does the one you linked to on Amazon need water? I am assuming you linked to it because it would work for us wanting to bake bread in it. Love your work, thanks.

    • Hi Noel,

      My crockpot is so old they no longer make it, so I linked to this one, because it is the highest rated and resembles mine the closest. I have never actually baked in it. We’ve heard from other readers that it does work well.

      Thanks, Zoë

    • Hi Kalli,

      Did you put a pound of dough in the crockpot? When you say cut it in half, did you mean the full batch of dough? Give me a bit more detail and I’ll help you.

      Thanks, Zoë

  29. Hi Zoe,

    Yes… I put the entire batch in the crockpot :/

    No Worries, two and a half hours later we had a huge loaf of delicious bread! I’m guessing that those who commented that one hour was not enough probably did the same thing! I now know for the next time to cut the recipe in half, or separate the dough and make two loaves.
    Thank you for sharing. It was delicious!
    Kalli

    • Hi Kalli,

      A full batch of our dough actually makes closer to 4 pounds of dough, so we suggest making them with 1/4 of the batch. But, if you were successful with a large loaf, that is good news. I’ve never tried anything beyond two pounds.

      Thanks, Zoë

  30. In answer to Clarence, I have used Corning, Pyrex, and Fireking bowls successfully to make bread. I preheat the bowl and the lid with the lid off. I drop the shaped bread into the bowl and put the lid on. I can’t remember the baking times, but I bake the bread with the lid on, then finish baking with the lid off to brown the top. I have had no problem with sticking. But, I heard that Corning was no longer recommending their bowls be used on the stove top; I don’t know if there would be a problem in the oven.

  31. I just wanted to say thanks to Zoe, and Jeff, and everyone who has posted ideas about the crockpot recipe! I have made a few loaves out of the newest book, and love them all. I just put my first loaf in the crockpot, and I can’t wait to see how it will turn out. Thanks again everyone :)

    • Hi Maaike,

      I have never tried it, so I’m not entirely sure. You will want to watch the bottom crust to make sure it isn’t browning too fast.

      Thanks, Zoë

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