Baking bread is a time-consuming and intensive activity, but the results are so worth It. Nothing can quite beat freshly baked, homemade bread. It has the taste of pure love. However, because of the time and effort involving in bread-making, it’s no wonder many people don’t do it. Yeast doughs are finicky and you have to account for rising time. Bread machines are extremely helpful, but many people would prefer not to spend the money on an item that can do only one thing. Fortunately, many already have a bread maker at home in the form of their very own slow cooker.
One savvy baker named Danielle Luttrell came up with an amazing recipe to make bread in a slow cooker. There’s no rising time necessary! She posted the recipe on Facebook and it went viral with over thousands of likes and hundreds of thousands of shares. After mixing up the dough, you can leave the slow cooker to “bake” for about 2–2.5 hours while you use the time for anything else you need to do. Then you can return for a hot and fresh slice of bread.
We’ve also included a version of gluten-free slow cooker bread for those with food sensitivities. The process is slightly different between the two recipes (the gluten-free one doesn’t require any kneading) so adhere to the directions accordingly. Whichever recipe you choose, be prepared for the scent and taste of an artisan bakery to be transferred into your own home.
Slow Cooker Whole Wheat Bread Recipe
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 2 cups of warm milk
- 2 Tbsp melted unsalted butter*
- 1–3 tablespoons of sugar (add more if you like sweeter bread)
- 3 teaspoons of active dry yeast (conservative side)
- 6 cups of whole wheat flour (or 3 cups whole wheat & 3 cups all-purpose flour)*
- 2 teaspoons of salt*
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- In a large bowl, stir 1/2 cup of warm water, 1 (or more) tablespoon of sugar, and the yeast. Wait for 5 minutes until it’s frothy on the top.
- Warm the milk and butter in the microwave.
- Next, the add milk and butter to the yeast mixture.
- Using a standing mixer, slowly add the flour, salt, and baking powder. Mix and knead the dough. (I use the dough hook once I have incorporated most of the flour for about 5 minutes then I knead by hand for another 5–7 minutes.)
- Line the slow cooker with cooking (baking) paper and place your round ball of dough inside. It will rise in the slow cooker as it heats up.
- Cook on High power for 2–2.5 hours. Start checking every 7–10 minutes until top is sponge-y but springs back and there is no moisture on the top. The bottom should be a nice brown color as well as the sides.
- You can place the bread in the oven on broil/grill for a few minutes to get a nice crusty top too!
- Slice and enjoy as whole grain toast or sandwich bread!
*Use UNSALTED butter or adjust extra salt added!
*Add MORE sugar if you want a sweet bread.
*If you can’t or are not skilled at kneading, try the 50:50 ratio with whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour. Otherwise you will end up with a very dense loaf.
*Make sure it is completely cooked through — my loaf took 2 1/2 hours.
Slow Cooker Gluten-Free Bread Recipe
- 1 cup almond milk
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2¼ tsp (1 packet) regular dry yeast
- 5 Tbsp chia seeds, ground
- 1 cup water
- 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 3 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour*
- ¼ cup oats, ground
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- Bread Toppings: Fresh Rosemary, Poppy Seeds, Oats, Sesame Seeds
- Warm milk in a pot until around body temperature.
- Add in the yeast and sugar. Stir well, cover with a paper towel, and let the yeast grow for about 5 minutes. If yeast is active, the milk with be frothing and will smell like fresh bread.
- Combine yeast with ground chia seeds, water, vegetable water and vinegar
- In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients, except bread toppings.
- Combine dry and wet ingredients until well combined.
- Grease a bread pan with oil and line it with parchment paper.
- Pour batter into greased pan and top with your choice of bread toppings.
- Place in slow cooker on high and cover.
- Slow cooker bread cooking times vary. You may need to experiment to get the perfect loaf. Start checking your bread at an hour. You’re looking for an internal temperature of 190 to 200F. If it’s not done, continue cooking checking for doneness every 20 minutes.
- The top of the loaf won’t brown in the slow cooker. Pop it in the oven under broil for a few minutes to crisp up.
You could use store-bought gluten-free flour or make your own blend:
- 3 cups brown rice flour
- 1 cup potato starch
- ½ cup white rice flour
- ½ cup tapioca flour
- 2 tsp xanthan gum (optional)
Mix these ingredients together. You’ll need about half of this blend for the above bread recipe. Store the rest in a secure container in a dry place.