Crock Pot Bread Baking (Fast Bread in a Slow Cooker)

Crock Pot Bread Baking (Fast Bread in a Slow Cooker) | Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

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.

Crock Pot Bread Baking (Fast Bread in a Slow Cooker) | Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

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.)

Crock Pot Bread Baking (Fast Bread in a Slow Cooker) | Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

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.

Crock Pot Bread Baking (Fast Bread in a Slow Cooker) | Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

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 Baking (Fast Bread in a Slow Cooker) | Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

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.

Sandwich made with Crock Pot Bread | Baking (Fast Bread in a Slow Cooker) | Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

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

  1. I am interested in this for summer at our cottage which is very hot and humid.

    1) Can you (and any helpful readers) tell me which brands of crockpot/slow cooker you are using, preferably for gluten-free bread. I find that manufacturers don’t tell you whether you can use their pot dry or not, especially in the sales material. (BTW, the link to the West Bend crock pot on Amazon is now discontinued.)

    2) If I am going to make just a 1 lb boule, what is the smallest size of crock pot. I am only cooking for 2 and have downsized to a very small kitchen. (All the gf flours, grains, nuts and seeds use up a LOT of space.)

    1. Wendy,I’m going to get with Zoe on the details of which brand crockpot she used–I’m not the expert on this aspect of our books.

      1. My family loves the bread so much, a 1lb loaf is not enough. Can I do a 2lb loaf in a 6qt slow cooker? How long would I need to have it in there to proof/bake? Many thanks

      2. Hi Jessy,

        This is a great question, I have never attempted anything larger than 1 pound.My only concern is that the center will take longer to cook with a larger loaf and by the time it does set, the bottom will be overly done. Maybe the way to go is to start with 1 1/4 pounds and keep adding if you like the results. The length of time it will take also depends on the machine.

        Please let us know if you try a larger loaf! Zoë

      3. Hello! I did do the 2lb loaf in a 6qt Hamilton Beach slow cooker using 1week old dough. Turned out lovely, with a golden bottom, moist, air bubbly crumb, and soft top crust. Only thing I changed was baking 1hr 55min. I lifted the lid about an hour and half in to check it, which I’m sure dissipated some heat, but next time I’ll just go a whole 1hr 55 min and see how it goes. I also chose to butter the bottom crust right after it baked to soften it during cooling, and at 1hr 55 I stuck a thin knife in to check for doneness. Hope anyone else who tries has the same delicious outcome

      4. Hi Jeasy,

        I am so thrilled you enjoyed the bread. Thank you for sharing your results, I am sure it will be helpful to many people.

        Cheers, Zoë

    2. Wendy: Zoe used a round West Bend slow cooker which is no longer on Amazon and may not be available. They only seem to have the oval one, which will work, but the shape of the bread will be different. The CrockPot brand still comes in round.

      You can bake in a small crock pot, but the dough will be pushed up against the side of the bowl. Not a problem and may even bake faster??

  2. My bread has been in the slow cooker for 4 hours on high and still seems underdone. It’s a 6-7 qt. model. Any thoughts?

    1. Sounds like it’s running too cool, does it have a higher setting? But first… understand that these won’t brown the top crust, so that may be all you’re perceiving. Stick something into it and see if it comes out wet.

  3. I’ve done bread in a can cooker (milk can) at low temperatures and in a Dutch oven the same way.

  4. Love the Master Recipe!! Thank you for such easy delicious bread! I have scrolled through comments looking for Instant Pot suggestions/results. Back in 2018 Zoe mentioned “testing the IP soon.” I’m wondering what the results of the test were?
    Thanks!

    1. Sorry, that never happened! There have been so many new countertop cooking implements coming on the market lately, that I really can’t even keep track. If your particular product has a setting that would have it operate like a crock pot, then there’s definitely a way to go here. Lots of Crock-Pot options in my books

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