Craftsy

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.

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

Craftsy

864 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.

    Thanks!

  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?
    Thanks

    • 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.

    • Great tips from everyone here, especially Christine, who baked her bread in a floured crock pot on low for two and a half hours. I will try that, only because even though it sounds odd, parchment paper, which I love and swear by, is difficult to find in Las Vegas, NV. I will probably have to go some where like Sur LA Table or a gourmet store or restaurant supply.

      Paulette Motzko

      • Hi Paulette,

        Does your local Costco carry parchment? I’ve found it there in the past.

        Thanks, Zoë

      • My Costco carries parchment paper only certain times of the year. Worth asking, and then stocking up then.

      • If you have a Dollar Tree near you they carry it where they have their foil and waxed paper

  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.

  10. I have a small crock-pot. It’s two quarts or less. Would this work or would it be too small for the bread to rise properly? Also, can you put the bread straight into the pot from the fridge, or does it need to rest on the counter first?

    • Hi Becky,

      The dough can go straight from the refrigerator to the crock pot. The first time you try this you may want to make a smaller loaf in your crock pot to see how it goes.

      Thanks, Zoë

    • Hi. I have never tried it, but others have and say it works, so give it a try. Make sure the loaf is finished baking first.

      Thanks, Zoë

  11. Just a hint… I’ve used a cotton dish towel (the thin, woven kind) & place it under the lid. It will absorb the lid moisture & your bread will develop a beautiful crust. 🙂

  12. Sooo, What is the bread ‘cooked’ in — A Slow Cooker OR A Crock Pot??? Two totally different animals!! All Crock Pots are slow cookers, but NOT all slow cookers are Crock Pots!!!

      • While there is a difference between slow cookers and crock pots, for this application (i.e. bread) I think it is more important that the cooker (regardless of brand name) has the capability to “cook” without liquid. With a bit of tweaking (each slowcooker/crockpot takes different times), I should think that any slow cooker that works without liquids would give great results.

    • I think you will be able to tell. When I first got started, I set the timer for 1 hour and checked the loaf. It was obviously not done – too soft in the middle, didn’t spring back when poked. Checked again after 15 minutes, still not done. Repeated this until it was done (in my slow cooker, it took 2 hours plus a few minutes). Tap it on the bottom, it sounds hollow, poke it on the top center, it feels firm. Hope this helps!

      • Yes, I agree. To my mind, baking bread is always a work in progress. Be it slow cooker, crock pot, oven, or toaster oven, just watch it closely and with a bit of practice, you will know when the loaf is done. I wouldn’t get hung up on brand names, just give it a go – you’ll be glad you did!

  13. Re: debate about Crockpot vs. slow cooker — Crock-Pot® (with a dash, capital C & P) is a brand of slow cooker made and trademarked originally by Rival. It is now owned by Sunbeam, a subsidiary of Jarden Corp.

    The words “crockpot” and “crock pot” are considered generic terms for “Crock-Pot style” slow cookers.

    Some slow cookers have metal pots that sit on a heating element, and might require significantly different cooking times, if it works at all.

  14. Thanks for great books and website/videos.
    I have a celiac granddaughter and went GF in support of her and have been almost happily GF since then!!
    My eggless GF bread is very very very dense and moist.
    Is it possible that cooking it in bread pan in a 450 oven makes the crust so crisp and almost 1/4″ thick so that it is difficult if not impossible for the inside to cook??
    Have you tried cooking it at a lower temperature so it might be more cooked through – in the center?

    • Makes me think your oven temp is off, check that first with a thermometer–something like what’s in our Amazon kiosk at left. If that’s not it, then your suggestion is worth a try.

      But my guess is that you’ll be happier with the egg white variation on page 73.

  15. This is my first try with the crock pot. I just placed my boule in but was wondering…why do we not slash the top? Been baking your breads for a couple years now. Thank you for all your work, great recipes, and this helpful website.

    • Hi Barb,

      Because we are putting the dough into the crockpot right after shaping (without letting it rise first) it really doesn’t work to slash it. I tried it and it really didn’t add much to the rise or shape. It certainly doesn’t hurt, but just didn’t add much. Try both ways and see which you prefer.

      Thanks, Zoë

      • Actually, I had wondered the same thing and I always thought that by not slashing it, the moisture from the lid would not settle in the slash marks to cause uneven baking. I’ll have to try slashing now, just for the heck of it!

  16. I learned baking from a German baker as an apprentice..some 60 years ago…I’m now at a point where i can use my eyes to measure..Thus said..I was delighted to discover slow cooker bread making..On some sites there is a recommendation of putting water in bottom,then placing bread on a raised surface like crumbled alum. I would encourage making your own bread from scratch..you have control of what in it..great site.

    • Hi Frederick,

      Wonderful that you’ve been baking for 60 years. If you give our recipes a try, I’d love to know what you think.

      Cheers, Zoë

      • Zoe,I will try your recipes
        The water in the cockpit made the bottom of the bread wet. Easily fixed. The bread overall was good. Fhj

      • Hi Frederick,

        I’ve never done this method with water, since the dough creates quite a bit of steam. Are you adding the water to protect the crockpot?

        Thanks, Zoë

  17. I want to try this bred, but I have a small crock pot from the 70s and a newer one the kind that had a mini crock that came with it for warm dips such as the cheese dips. Which slow cooker should I use for the bread? How often do you take the lid off to see how the bread is coming along?

    • Hi Dinah,

      You want to use a crock pot that has a high setting, I think the “warmer” setting won’t get quite hot enough to bake the bread properly. I’ve never heard of the bread being baked before 45 minutes, so I wouldn’t lift the lid for at least 45 minutes. Some crockpots can take up to 2 hours to bake, since they are not as powerful.

      Thanks, Zoë

    • As with any crockpot dish, try not to open the lid any more tan you have to. After a few loaves, you’ll have a good idea of how long your pot takes (mine takes 2 hours) and I just let it go until the two hours are up.

Leave a Reply

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