Saturday, September 1, 2012

How to Bake Bread in your Crock Pot (and recipe for Zesty Oatmeal Bread)

Zesty Oatmeal Bread
I recently read an article explaining how to bake bread in a crock pot or slow cooker. Like others, I was skeptical, so I decided to try it myself. To my delight, it worked!

Based on the article, it seems that you can use your crock pot or slow cooker to bake pretty much any type of bread, including pre-made dough. Although the original article claims that using a crock pot to bake bread is faster than using your oven, the comments and my experience indicate that the time it takes to bake in a crock pot depends on the type of bread you're making (denser, more moist doughs take longer), the size of the crock pot, and how hot the crock pot gets (the more you lift the lid to check on your bread, the longer it will take to cook). The main time-saver is that the rising time is incorporated into the cooking time because you place the raw dough into the crock pot before turning it on so that the bread rises as the crock pot warms up.

Baked but not browned
One thing to keep in mind is that crock-pot-baked bread won't brown or develop a crust, so if you want a nice brown crust you'll have to place the baked bread under the broiler for a few minutes to form a crust and turn brown (which is what I did). Just remember to keep a close eye on it while broiling because it can go from brown to burnt VERY quickly.

I made the following oat bread recipe, which is more moist and dense than regular white bread, and first checked on it after 45 minutes, as recommended. It wasn't close to being done, so I let it bake an additional 15 minutes before checking again... and still not quite done, but closer. After 20 additional minutes, it felt done when poked it, despite the pale color, so I carefully lifted it out of the crock pot, slid it onto a baking sheet and placed it under the broiler for a few minutes until golden brown.

When I cut into the browned bread, it was just a tad underdone, which means I probably should have left it in the crock pot undisturbed for at least another 45 minutes after my initial check. After all, oatmeal bread is naturally more dense and takes longer to cook than regular white bread in a conventional oven. Nevertheless, my first attempt at crock pot bread was quite delicious--and the next day I used a couple of slices to make one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches I have ever had. Without further ado, here is my recipe for Zesty Oatmeal Bread baked in a crock pot.

Organic Bread Flour Blend Oatmeal (80oz, 1-pack)Ingredients
2 cups bread flour, plus more as needed
1 cup oat flour (see note)
1 envelope yeast (I use rapid-rise)
1/2 Tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking soda
1 cup milk (I use skim)
1/4 cup water
Topping: Garlic powder, red pepper flakes, dried oregano

Note: To make oat flour, I used my food processor to grind 1 cup of old-fashioned oatmeal into a coarse flour. Process longer for a finer flour. Or, you can substitute 3 cups of an oatmeal bread flour blend like the Organic Oatmeal Bread Flour Blend from Great River in place of all the flour (oat and bread).

Raw, ready to bake
Combine all the dry ingredients (except the topping) in a large bowl. Combine the milk and water in a small pan or microwave-safe bowl and heat to 120-125°F (no hotter or you'll kill the yeast). Pour the hot liquid into the dry ingredients and use a large wooden spoon to mix well until everything comes together into a rough ball of dough--add a little more flour if necessary. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead (adding an additional small handful of flour if or as necessary) until the dough is elastic/pliable and no longer tacky. Shape into a ball, place on a sheet of parchment paper, and sprinkle with the topping ingredients, then use your fingers to gently press the spices into the top of the dough so that they'll stick.

Just before covering
Place the bread inside your cold crock pot (lower it in with the parchment paper to cook on the paper rather than directly on the bottom of the crock pot). Cover with lid, turn the crock pot to HIGH and let cook, undisturbed, for at least 45 minutes to an hour before checking for doneness. The top will not brown so test for doneness by gently poking with a finger: If the bread feels like a baked loaf of bread, then it's ready for browning. If it's not yet done, then continue to cook for at least another 15 minutes (probably longer, based on my experience) before checking again. Cooking time will vary depending on the size of your crock pot and how hot it gets. Some people suggest wrapping the outside of the crock pot in a large towel to better insulate it and speed up the baking.

Browned & ready to eat
When the bread is done, carefully lift it out using the parchment paper. To get a nice, brown crust, place the loaf on a baking sheet on the middle rack of your oven and broil for a few minutes until the top turns your desired shade of brown. Remove from oven and slide onto a cooling rack. Make sure bread is completely cooled to room temperature before storing, or else condensation will develop.

If you make bread in your crock pot, please leave us a comment to share your experience, and your recipe!

And if you want to win some FREE products from the Carolina Sauce Company, visit our Facebook page and leave a comment under the September Crock Pot Game post (look for a photo of our crock pot) for a chance to win! The game ends at 10 am EDT on Wednesday, Sept. 5th, so don't delay!

Zestfully yours,


  1. G'day! I cannot WAIT to try this recipe! TRUE!
    Never made bread in a crock pot but am keen to learn and try it too!
    What ingredients did you put on top before you baked? Thank you!

    1. Hi Joanne,
      I'm so glad you liked the recipe! Please do let me know what you think after you try it. Before baking the bread, I sprinkled the top with crushed red pepper flakes, dried oregano and garlic powder. You can use other spices and herbs to suit your preferences, and maybe even a little bit of grated parmesan cheese (I haven't tried the latter but think it should work). Thanks for reading my blog and taking the time to comment!
      Zestfully yours,

  2. G'day and BIG thanks! As a friendly follow up today, I have RT'ed your recipe! And this is an AWESOME recipe that I would HIGHLY recommend people make!

    Here is the wrote up and photos as "inspired" by you! A VERY big Thank you! Please let me know what you think too! :)

    Cheers! Joanne
    What's On The List?

    I can't wait to make more of your recipes and share the word too! Thank you!

    1. Good morning, and thank YOU for RT'ing my recipe, and sharing your version, which sounds fabulous! You've made my day :-) I'm looking forward to exploring the recipes on your blog, and will share your delightful Oatmeal Amaranth Seeded crock pot bread with my fans as well. Thanks again, and have a zesty day!