[pinit] I tried and failed and tried and failed again and again to make all different sorts of gluten free bread in my crock pot. But all’s well that ends (well), right? I am pleased and proud to announce … that I have successfully baked a loaf of gluten free bread in my crock-pot-slow-cooker-whatever-you-like-to-call-it! You know what this means, right? We will be baking bread all summer long without heating up the house. Woohoo!! My biggest success so far has been the Gluten Free English Muffin Breadfrom page 74 of Gluten Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread, so that’s the one we’ll talk about today. But I’m creeping up on success with other breads, too, so fire up that slow cooker and let’s get started! Hey did I mention that you skip the rise—the loaf rises right there in the slow cooker!
When you’re baking this bread in the slow cooker, there are a few tricks to the trade. But good news! I’m gonna tell you alllll of them. After all, what’s the point of my ruining batch after batch of bread from GFOAS Bakes Bread if I don’t tell you all my secrets so you can skip right to the success? Secret #1: a steamer basket. Secret #2 (from reader Emma Hohl on Facebook): remove the slow cooker insert. Secret #3: vent the top.
The sides and bottom will brown, but the top simply will not. Like a nice brown top? Just place the loaf under your oven’s broiler for a few minutes. The kitchen will stay cool, but your loaf will be brown on top. Score! Now the loaf will not rise as evenly as it does in the oven. Especially with the cover propped up a bit, the heat of your slow cooker is just not as even or consistent as the heat of your oven. But that’s okay, right?
I was seriously considering throwing in the towel on this entire endeavor … until I asked YOU for tips on Facebook. And so many of you had suggestions that would have taken me many more failures to arrive at, if I arrived at them at all. With that in mind, if you have more tips for how to cook yeast bread in your slow cooker, feel free to share them in the comments. And let’s bake bread, and then break bread, all summer long!!
Remove the liner from your slow cooker, plug it in, cover it and turn it on HIGH to preheat it. If your slow cooker requires you to set a timer, set it to 30 minutes. Grease well an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pan, line it with unbleached parchment paper, and set it aside.
While the slow cooker is preheating, make the English Muffin Bread dough, but rather than covering the dough and allowing it a first rise, scrape the dough right into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top with a wet spatula. Open the collapsible steamer basket and place the loaf pan directly on top of it. Remove the lid from the slow cooker, lower the steamer basket and loaf pan into the slow cooker, placing it directly on the unlined bottom of the slow cooker, and replace the lid. Place the single chopstick or wooden skewer between one side of the slow cooker lid and the slow cooker to prop open the lid slightly. Set the slow cooker timer to cook for 1 hour on HIGH.
As the timer approaches the end of the first hour, remove the lid and rotate the loaf pan on the steamer basket 180°. Replace the lid and increase the timer to 1 hour, propping the lid again with the chopstick or skewer. When the timer has about 15 minutes left, begin checking the loaf for doneness. The edges should have begun to brown, but the center will likely still be soft. The loaf is done when the top of the loaf is firm and the center of the loaf reads about 185°F on an instant read thermometer. To check approaching doneness, insert a toothpick in the center of the loaf. The wetter it comes out, the further away it is from being done. Check every 15 minutes until the loaf is fully cooked. Remove the loaf from the slow cooker and turn it off.
To brown the top of the loaf a bit, place it about 3 inches away from your oven’s broiler until desired brownness is reached (less than 5 minutes, typically). Remove from the oven and place the loaf on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes before removing the loaf from the loaf pan and placing directly on the rack to cool completely before slicing and serving.