Baking homemade bread sounds like a huge undertaking – one not for the faint of heart. But you’d be surprised how easy it is to make delicious, healthy bread with the help of a slow cooker, an inexpensive kitchen appliance commonly known as a Crock-Pot.
While typically it’s more difficult to bake whole wheat bread in an oven and have it come out well, using the slow cooker method keeps the inside of the bread moist, while the crust develops a nice, crisp consistency. Try these three recipes, and experiment with a few ideas of your own:
Whole Wheat Slow Cooker Bread Recipes
1. Basic Wheat Bread
While I’m calling this the “basic” wheat bread, don’t mistake the word “basic” for bland or boring. In addition to whole wheat flour, the flavor of this bread is kicked up a notch with oats and honey.
- 1 tablespoon yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1 cup warm skim milk
- 1/3 cup old fashioned oats
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup flaxseed
- 2 3/4 cup whole wheat flour, plus more for kneading
- Turn your slow cooker on to high heat.
- Find an oven-safe, medium-sized bowl or coffee can that fits easily inside your slow cooker. Grease the inside of this bowl or can with olive oil or cooking spray.
- In a separate bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water, then add the milk, oats, salt, oil, honey, egg, and flax seed. Mix well. Finally, add the flour and mix again. The consistency of the dough is likely to be very sticky, which is why you’ll want to use additional flour liberally to help cut down on mess.
- Place additional flour on your counter or another flat surface and transfer the dough to the counter. Knead the dough for about five minutes or until it’s smooth, adding flour as needed.
- Transfer the dough into your greased bowl or coffee can. Cover loosely with aluminum foil.
- Set a trivet in the bottom of your slow cooker and pour 1/2 to 1 cup water into the appliance. Set your foil-covered bowl onto the trivet and place the slow cooker lid on top.
- Allow the bread to cook for three hours. The crust should be firm and dry. If you have an internal thermometer, you can insert it into the center of the loaf to test whether it is done. Most bread is done at about 190 degrees.
- Use oven mitts to remove the bowl from the slow cooker, then use a knife to loosen the bread from the container. Flip the container upside-down so the bread pops out.
Try topping this whole wheat bread with cheese and serving it alongside a steaming bowl of chili or a plate of spaghetti. If you feel like getting creative, cut the bread into chunks, brush with olive oil, and dash with garlic before covering and setting out overnight. The next day, bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and use as fresh, homemade croutons on top of a salad.
2. Pumpkin Bread
This soft, sweet treat is packed with good-for-you vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A and E and iron, not to mention extra fiber found in whole wheat flour.
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 15 ounces canned pumpkin puree
- 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, sifted (you can use 1/2 white and 1/2 wheat, if desired)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- Turn the slow cooker on to high heat. Grease a bread pan, bowl, or coffee can that fits inside the slow cooker.
- Mix the oil and honey in a separate bowl. Stir in beaten eggs and pumpkin, blending well.
- Add the rest of the dry ingredients, mixing until smooth.
- Transfer the dough into the greased bowl or pan. Place a trivet in the bottom of your slow cooker and pour 1/2 to 1 cup water on top. The water helps to keep the bread moist.
- Set the greased bowl or pan on top of the trivet and cover the pan loosely with foil, placing the slow cooker lid on top of the slow cooker.
- Bake for roughly three hours before removing the pan from the slow cooker and enjoying the pumpkin bread. Use a fork or utensil to loosen the bread from the pan and turn it upside down, or simply slice from the pan to serve.
Enjoy this pumpkin bread for lunch by spreading two slices with almond butter and sprinkling with dried cranberries.
3. Apple Cinnamon Bread
Enjoy this moist apple cinnamon bread for breakfast or dessert – your entire family will appreciate it’s decadent taste, while you’ll love the fact that it’s full of antioxidants and fiber.
- 1/2 cup 100% apple juice
- 5 medium apples, peeled and cored
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Turn the slow cooker on to high heat. Grease a pan or coffee can that nestles inside the slow cooker.
- Mix all ingredients together except for the apples, stirring well.
- Chop apples into small pieces and add to the batter, continuing to stir.
- Pour batter into the greased pan and cover loosely with foil.
- Place a trivet in the bottom of the slow cooker and pour 1/2 to 1 cup water on top.
- Set the pan with the batter on top of the trivet and cover the slow cooker with its lid.
- Cook for three to five hours, checking regularly. The bread crust should be firm, not tacky, especially toward the center of the loaf. You want the center of the batter to set well, so until it’s set, continue to monitor the bread’s process. You can do this by inserting a fork into the center of the loaf. When the bread’s done, the fork should come out clean, rather than covered in crumbs, much like a muffin.
- When the center has set, remove the pan from the slow cooker and loosen the bread from the pan.
For an after-dinner treat, top a slice of apple bread with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and dust with ground cinnamon. Serve alongside gourmet coffee for an added kick.
Until I found a slow cooker bread recipe I liked, I had never even considered taking the time to bake my own bread. That said, the basic whole wheat bread recipe was so popular with my family that bread baking has become a regular part of my weekly routine. While it does take a little bit of time and planning, the result is delicious and worth the effort.
Have you ever made bread in a slow cooker?