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How to bake and proof bread with an Instant Pot

Insta-bread, coming right up.

Josh Miller/CNET

Though there isn't a baking mode on the Instant Pot, you can still use it to make soft, warm bread that beats a bakery every time. It can steam cook quick breads by pressure cooking them and help yeast breads rise at a record pace. The results? Mmm.

Read more: The complete guide to using your Instant Pot and What all the buttons on your Instant Pot do

Cooking fast bread

Fast bread typically calls for bread recipes that have leavening options other than yeast to make them fluffy. These types of breads can be steamed into deliciousness using the Pressure Cook button.

To cook quick bread:

  1. Place the steamer rack into the inner pot upside down.
  2. Fill the pot with 4 to 6 cups of hot water.
  3. Place the quick bread in a clean metal coffee can or other small, heat-resistant container. Make sure the inside is greased and floured.
  4. Cover the container lightly with buttered foil.
  5. Put the container inside the inner pot, on top of the steamer rack.
  6. Turn the valve to Sealing.
  7. Turn off the Warming button.
  8. Lock the lid.
  9. Set Pressure Cook to 40 minutes.
  10. Do a natural release of pressure for 10 minutes or until the Instant Pot is ready to open.
steamed-instant-pot-bread

Steamed Instant Pot Bread.

Alina Bradford/CNET

Sweet Potato Quick Bread recipe

Here's my favorite quick bread recipe. It tastes amazing when cooked in an Instant Pot. It comes out with a moist, chewy, cake-like texture.

 Ingredients:

  • 1 cup canned sweet potatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 
  • 1 Tbs. pumpkin pie seasoning

Instructions:

  1. Mix all of the dry ingredients with your stand mixer on low. 
  2. Slowly add the wet ingredients with your mixer on medium.
  3. Grease and flour a coffee can.
  4. Pour the mix into the coffee can.
  5. Place the steamer rack upside down in the inner pot.
  6. Add 6 cups of water.
  7. Place the coffee can into the inner pot and cover with a buttered aluminum foil square.
  8. Turn the valve to Sealing.
  9. Turn off the Warming button.
  10. Lock the lid.
  11. Set Pressure Cook to 40 minutes. 
  12. Do a natural release of pressure for 10 minutes or until the Instant Pot is ready to open.

Here are some more quick bread recipes that will work in your Instant Pot:

Proofing yeast bread

If you want super fluffy yeast bread with a nice crust, then you'll want to use your Instant Pot just for proofing the dough. I'm super excited about proofing my bread this way because I tend to want to eat right away, not after hours of rising. 

To proof bread:

  1. Place the bread on parchment paper.
  2. Put the steamer rack into the inner pot the normal way.
  3. Secure the lid.
  4. Turn the valve to Venting.
  5. Use the Yogurt button in Low mode to keep the dough just warm enough to rise.
proofing-in-instant-pot

Bread proofed in an Instant Pot.

Alina Bradford/CNET

This process took my Instant Pot 24 minutes to fully double my yeast dough. When it's done, it will look bubbly and sticky. That's natural. Knead the dough and either re-rise it according to the recipe or transfer it to your cooking pan for baking in the oven.

Savanna's Yeast Rolls recipe

My daughter and I have perfected this simple recipe to make rolls that are crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups lukewarm water
  • 4 1/2 tsp. yeast
  • 2 heaping Tbs. sugar
  • 5 1/2 cups flour

Instructions:

  1. Add 3 cups of water to your mixer bowl.
  2. Mix in yeast and sugar on low speed with the bread hook.
  3. When the yeast is dissolved, slowly add the flour.
  4. Knead and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  5. Knead again and place dough on parchment paper.
  6. Put the steamer rack into the inner pot.
  7. Add the dough on the parchment paper.
  8. Secure the lid.
  9. Turn the valve to Venting.
  10. Use the Yogurt button in Low mode.
  11. In about 24 minutes, your dough will have doubled. Turn off the pot. 
  12. Remove the dough and knead it.
  13. Fold into rolls and place on a cooking sheet.
  14. Brush melted butter over each roll. 
  15. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius) for 35 minutes.

Makes 12 rolls.

CNET's Guide to Smart Living is a destination for tips, tricks and guides that make your life smarter. 

Want more pressure cooking tips? Here you go.