Saturday, June 2, 2012

Weekend Cooking...Baking Bread... In a Slow Cooker!

I have mentioned my fear of yeast before.
Fear seems a bit strong. Maybe reluctance to get involved explains it better.
It just seems that yeast and I have never had a lot of success together.
I take the blame, since others do not seems to have my yeast related problems. Maybe it is related to some forgotten proofing trauma, but whatever the reason, I tend to shy away from the stuff.

So, anyhoo, I was wandering about on the World Wide Web the other day and came across a blog post about something I had never heard of before.
Cooking bread in a slow cooker!
Well, I googled it and it seems it is not the totally unheard of thing I thought at first. My heavens, there are dozens and dozens of articles about it. All sorts of recipes, various methods.
The general idea is to make your favorite bread dough, and rather than let it rise, pop it right in the slow cooker and let it rise and then 'bake' in the cooker. They claim it is
1. faster, because you don't have to wait for the bread to rise.
2. great if you don't want to heat the kitchen up by putting on the oven in the summer.

I just thought it was an interesting idea.
And sometimes I just want to try something out!

But here was my problem.
I don't have a favorite bread dough recipe.
I don't have any yeast dough bread recipe.
I am not sure that I have ever made yeast bread.
Sure, I can whip you up a lovely loaf of Irish Brown Bread as fast as you can find a shamrock, but no yeast is involved, so I am OK.
So, how could I test this out?

Well, I had a great idea.
I would go to the supermarket and buy some frozen bread dough.
Defrost it and I would be good to go.
Maybe not great bread, but good enough for my test.
But none was to be had.

It might have been in the store somewhere but I could not find it.
They did however have aisle after aisle, yes aisles, freezer case after freezer case, of frozen pizza. Is there really a need for that many different variations of crappy frozen pizza?
It was 6 a.m. and the supermarket was just open and pretty deserted, so no one to ask, and after 12 hours at work I admit, I was losing interest.
And then I thought..."Hey, how about some of that fresh pizza dough they sell in the pizza department. Yes, my supermarket has a real pizza place inside it. Which makes all that frozen pizza even stranger, but I digress.
So, anyhoo, I bought a bag of pizza dough, kneaded it into a ball (OK, I should have worked on that a bit more) and placed it, as I had read, on parchment paper and put it is the slow cooker. Turned it on high and cook until the bread reached an internal temperature of 190-200 degrees with an instant read thermometer. For me that took about 1 hour and 45 minutes, but I assume it would depend on the size of the loaf and your slow cooker.
The only issue was that the top was not brown. So, as I had read on my research, I stuck the loaf under the boiler for a minute or too after brushing it with a bit of melted butter. Sort of defeats the whole not turning the oven on thing, yes, but it makes it look better, all brown and crispy.

I think I need to make a sandwich!

And you know, it was not half bad!

It rose nicely, more than I expected it would, got a nice brown bottom and smelled fantastic.
One hint. Use a big enough piece of parchment paper big that you can grab the ends of the paper to take it out of the cooker. You know, those things get hot!
I am not sure pizza dough was meant to be used that way, but for a spur of the moment experiment, it turned out pretty good.
I bet with a real bread dough recipe, a good one, it might be excellent!

But I might leave that for another day.
When I am brave enough to Face the Yeast!

This is my contribution this to this week's Weekend Cooking.
"Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend."
Be sure to check out the other entries this week. As always, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.


  1. What a cool idea! I never would have thought to make bread in the crockpot! Thanks for sharing!!
    Have a great weekend!

  2. Great experiment! How was the crust? I've baked bread in my grill in the summer but haven't tried the slow cooker. I know you can bake cakes in it, but I've never tried yeast bread. Hummmm. I may need to give it a go.

    1. The crust on the bottom and sides was nice..the top was pale and soft until I gave it that trip under the broiler.

  3. What a clever idea! I too have never made anything with yeast, I seem to shy away from it. I use my crockpot for many things, but never thought of bread; I learn so much reading these posts.

  4. Love this idea! I have the same yeast reluctance. I even go so far as to buy the yeast and then it somehow expires after sitting so long. I'd like to try this method, the bread looks so good!

  5. I'm afraid of yeast too so I don't have a favorite bread dough recipe but I want to try this now! Did it make your house smell good?

    1. it is comforting to know others share The Fear.

    2. and yes, it smelled is the yeast!

  6. Too cool! I use my slow cooker to proof pizza dough as it is the perfect size for doubling. I didn't know I could just bake it as bread. Caite, you are so clever!

  7. I think the best advice I ever got about yeast was to pretend you are fixing water for a baby so you want it warm but not hot enough to hurt it. It's all about the water temp!

  8. I feel the same way about yeast. What an interesting experiment! The pizza dough bread looks good :).

  9. Yay! It worked. I think the bread looks really good and browning the top like that was smart. I have to start using the crockpot for more than stews and chili...

  10. I hesitate at yeast, too, but this sounds like a fun way to experiment - you are a brave woman!

  11. Wow, doing your own bread is brave! Have a great week.

  12. I have a bread machine that I haven't used in a long time, but I use my slow cooker all the time. That bread looks yummy,I never would have thought to use pizza dough! I may have to try it!

  13. I haven't ever heard of using your slow cooker for doing something like this but it sounds like it would be pretty good!

    Thanks for such an interesting post.

  14. The first time I have heard of making bread this way...
    you were brave to experiment... I am just too lazy
    and love my fresh 5 grain from the deli too much...

  15. Wow!! i wish that I would have known about this when I was doing my Operation Crock Pot in February. I've attempted to make bread several times but haven't had much luck. So basically you just make the dough according to recipe and plop in and turn on without worrying about the rise? Awesome!

  16. WOW!! I have one of the original Japanese bread machines but that limits one to small loaves. This looks like fun, and who doesn't love the smell of good bread baking. It would really be great to find a recipe one could put in at night, and wake up to fresh bread for breakfast. Thanks for the spark!

  17. Does a calzone (stuffed Pizza) Idea sound good ?

  18. did you manage to find any good no yeast recipes


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