Baking bread in a slow cooker doesn’t seem like it should work, but it does, and better than you think. I put it to the test in our Hamilton Beach Test Kitchen. To make it easy, I used our Food Processor White Bread recipe. Everything is mixed in a heavy-duty food processor, no hand kneading required. Any bread recipe can be used, but I wanted to make this a very simple test.
If you’re out of some ingredients, no worries, it’s okay to make substitutions. Bread flour can be swapped for all-purpose flour or vice versa. Bread flour has a higher protein content and absorbs a little more liquid than all-purpose flour. Higher protein content means it holds its shape a little better. Don’t have butter? Substitute olive oil. The one ingredient you absolutely should use is yeast. Double-check to make sure it is fresh and not out of date. While there is no true substitute for yeast, if your access to active dry yeast is interrupted, you could try one of these yeast substitute suggestions from the online food magazine, Kitchn. We did not incorporate any yeast substitutes in the process below, so we cannot vouch for the outcome. And understand, that none of those substitutes will produce the same results as yeast, but in a pinch, you could still get the satisfaction of a warm, homemade loaf of bread.
Here are the steps we used with active dry yeast:
- Line your 6 quart (or larger) slow cooker with parchment paper before starting. Press the paper against the sides of the slow cooker crock as best you can. You’ll use the parchment paper to lift the bread from the crock while it is still hot and this will prevent sticking.
- Follow your chosen bread recipe until the point of shaping your dough. We used our Food Processor White Bread Recipe.
- Place the ball or loaf of dough in the parchment-lined slow cooker. Note: there is no need to allow your dough to rise first.
- Set the slow cooker temperature to HIGH for 2 hours.
- At 1 ½ hours test the temperature of your bread. It should be done at 190°F to 200°F. It will feel soft but not doughy or spongy. Remember the top will not brown, so don’t look for a golden color.
- When done, use the parchment paper to lift the bread out of the slow cooker and place onto a cooling rack.
- If you want to brown your loaf, you can do so using your oven broiler. Transfer the bread to a broiler rack. Be sure to watch the bread carefully while broiling the top to prevent burning. My test loaf broiled for about 3 minutes. Some may like it browner, but I did not want to dry out the bread or burn the top.
- Let loaf cool to room temperature or as long as your patience allows. Be careful not to slice too soon - if the bread is too warm it will be gummy and stick to your knife. Enjoy!
- The bread rose beautifully in the slow cooker. No need to let it rise, punch the dough down to shape and rise again before baking. Just shape the dough into a ball and let it go on its own in the slow cooker.
- Bread made in your slow cooker won’t come out browned. The bottom might turn a golden brown, but to brown the top of your loaf, I recommend using the broiler as in step 7 above.
Did you give it a try?
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