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

  1. Here I was thinking that I was going to be able to bread from scratch in my crock pot only to find that I need a packet product. Guess I will stick to my bread maker

    • Hi Suzanne,

      Sorry if we gave you that impression, nothing is farther from the truth. Our recipe is just flour, water, yeast and salt. It is super easy and fast.

      Thanks, Zoë

  2. Can you use home made bread dough or do you have to get the pre-made dough? I have a recipe that was handed down from my Grandmother for bread..This would be a really cool way to cook it.

    • Hi April,

      The dough we use is homemade, it isn’t one that is pre-made. Our recipe is just water, flour, salt and yeast, very simple, but delicious. You can try your Grandmother’s recipe, but I’ve only baked our dough in it, so I’m not sure how long it might take?

      Thanks, Zoë

    • Hi Karen,

      We’ve posted many, many of the doughs in the books, but our publisher has begged us not to publish all of them. If you don’t want to buy the books, you can find them at the library.

      Cheers, Zoë

  3. I am going to share this with all the teachers I know! When I worked in an elementary school library, I’d bring in different foods to match the books I read to kindergarteners. Imagine how heavenly the library (or classroom) would smell with bread baking!

  4. HI!

    I’ve used this method several times with varied recipes and my whole family loves it! But I have found that I don’t care for the overly cooked bottom crust, so I experimented. I placed my stainless steel vegetable steamer in the bottom of my crock pot, (the kind that expands to fit various pots, and has small post on the base.. as a kid I always thought they reminded me of a ufo ;) ) Then I placed my oiled parchment paper on top of that. This elevated my dough enough that it did not get as hard, but still turned out nicely golden. It did leave my bread with a slightly rounded bottom due to the shape of the steamer basket, but this will still be my favorite way to prepare it. -Thank you!

  5. Thank You to both of you for your kind and generous spirit. I love your site/blog (?). Would you please recommend which one(es) of the recipes will be the correct texture to add cranberries and walnuts?

  6. There is a bread ‘pan’ made for use in the crock pot. You can find them on E-bay. Bread from the crock pot goes back to the ’70s.

  7. Thank you for sharing! I do banana bread, and apple cinn. bread all the time in crock pot. Can’t wait to try this!

    • Hi Cat,

      Most zucchini breads are “quick” breads, so they will behave very differently than a yeast bread. It may work well, but the timing will likely be very different.

      Thanks, Zoë

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