f you’ve ever had homemade bread, you know how amazing it tastes! Soft, warm, and fluffy! You’ll wonder what that stuff in the bread isle really is
Baking your own bread seems intimidating to some people, but once you get the hang of it (and really, its not that hard at all!) you’ll never want to buy bread again! You can make sandwich bread, cut big, thick slices for toast, have dinner rolls, tortillas, French bread loaves, sourdough, hot dog buns, hamburger buns…. I could go on. Just remember to factor in the aroma tease. You know, the one where you have to sacrifice your first loaf of homemade bread to the family right as it comes out of the oven because it smells so dang good. They won’t be able to wait until dinner, much less let it last all week!
Today, I’m going to teach you the easiest way ever to bake a loaf of bread: In the crockpot! That’s right, you read correctly. The deliciousness of homemade bread combined with the ease and convenience of your crockpot. I first heard about this method on The Kitchn, and when I tried it myself, I couldn’t believe how well the bread turned out and how easy it was. So if you’ve never made your own bread, this is a great gateway method to baking your own bread at home.
Baking in the crockpot allows the bread to rise and bake at the same time instead of the long, drawn out process of waiting hours for the bread to rise, punching it down, rising again, and then baking for another half hour or so. Baking in the crock pot takes about 2 hours, start to finish! Maybe two and a half.
How Does it Work?
Choose Your Bread Recipe. You can use virtually any recipe you choose, but my favorite one, and the one I tried, is this one, made with bread flour. It’s been one of my favorites since day 1. Note: You’ll need just one loaf of bread for this method. If your recipe makes 2 loafs or even 4, you’ll need to half or quarter the recipe OR bake the loaves separately in the crockpot.
1 (0.25 ounce) package OR 2 ¼ Teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
1 ¼ Cups warm (not hot) water
1 ½ Tablespoons sugar
½ Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon shortening
3 Cups unbleached bread flour, sifted if desired
In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Allow yeast to sit for 10 minutes to proof. (Proofing just means that if you have little bubbles in the yeast water after 10 minutes, your yeast is good! If no bubbles, start over with new yeast. Otherwise your bread won’t rise properly)
Add sugar, salt and shortening, and stir until dissolved.
Add flour a half cup at a time and stir until smooth before adding more. When the dough cleans the bowl (meaning it doesn’t stick to the sides and forms a ball easily) you know you have the right amount of flour in your bread dough. After all 3 cups of flour are added, if your dough is still very sticky, you might need to add another ¼ Cup or ½ Cup of flour until the consistency is right. Knead dough for 4-6 minutes (this is where a stand mixer comes in VERY handy) or until dough is smooth and elastic. Newbie tip: Kneading is just extra mixing to make the dough light and fluffy; however, less is more. If you over work the dough it can make your bread tough and dense. So I like to err on the side of caution and stick to the lesser end of kneading time.
Now is where the crock pot comes in and makes your life so much easier! The original recipe requires that you place the dough in a warm spot and let it rise for an hour and a half or so until doubled. Then punch it down, cover it, and let it rise for another 30 minutes. THEN, you get to roll it out, shape it into a loaf, let it rise AGAIN for another 30 minutes, and finally, you get to bake it. But with your crock pot you get to scrap all of that! Instead, turn your crock pot on high and line it with parchment paper to prevent sticking.
Roll the dough into a ball and place it in the warm crockpot. Put the lid on and leave it alone! (If you have a larger, oval shaped crock pot, you can actually put the dough in a bread loaf pan and put the whole pan in your crock pot. I, however, have a smaller crock pot so I went with the round bread loaf.)
Check it in about an hour and see how it’s doing, then every 30 minutes or so until you think it’s done. You can check by putting an instant read thermometer into the center. When the thermometer reads between 190 and 200 degrees, it’s done! Mine took about 2 hours and 15 minutes. I also noticed the edges were getting a little brown so I flipped it upside down for the last 30 minutes so it wouldn’t burn. The time and browning will be different for every crock pot so you might have a trial loaf or two before you get it down.
(After about an hour of cooking/rising)
(I accidentally pulled out the parchment paper when I flipped it over. Oops! But now it’s pretty much done!)
Once done, place your bread on a towel or cooling rack to cool (or slice warm and serve to your mouth-watering family hehe)
You’ll notice that crock pot bread is a little bit different than bread baked in an oven. For instance, because it rises and bakes at the same time, it won’t be AS fluffy and light, but instead will be a thicker, more dense loaf. It also may be a little bit more flat, but it still tastes heavenly! Give it a try and let me know what you think!
A Few More Recipes…
Here are a few other great bread recipes for you to try out! (Crock pot or not) Hope you enjoy them!
Best Wheat Bread Recipe from Food Storage Made Easy
English Muffins from Lil Suburban Homestead
Quick Basic Biscuit Recipe from Survival Common Sense
Artisan Freeform Loaf from Apartment Prepper
A whole section of Bread Recipes at Cookes Frontier
Homemade Bread from The Backyard Pioneer
Honey Whole Wheat Buttermilk Sandwich Bread from Melissa K Norris
Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes from Pioneering Today
Freshly Ground Whole Wheat Bread for a Bread Machine by Are We Crazy or What?
Focaccia Flax Bread by Whole New Mom
A Bread Recipe Roundup by Common Sense Homesteading
Sweet Rolls by Mom Prepares
Homemade Tortillas by Homestead and Survival
40 Minute Hamburger Buns at Taste of Home
Homemade Hotdog Buns from Joy the Baker
What About You?
Do you make your own bread or bread products at home? What are your favorite recipes?