Instructables

Easy Bread Anywhere: "Baking" bread in a pressure-cooker

Picture of Easy Bread Anywhere:
So it's lunchtime, and you feel like a sandwich. But you have no bread. And, you're in the middle of the woods in your van. Or you're cruising on your free yacht. In any case, you don't have a bread, or an oven. It happens more often than you'd think.

Or - maybe you'll find you like the "crumb" of this bread better than most homemade bread, (crumb is what bread nuts call the inside of the bread, as opposed to the crust). Steamed bread has a moist and springy crumb, much like a store-bought bread would be if it hadn't gone stale on the shelf.

Sure you could have brought some stale slices from the store - but nothing beats real, fresh bread you made yourself!


You need:

A stove of some sort

A pressure cooker

A "trivet" or "steamer" - that's the little rack in the middle - that will fit in the pressure-cooker

A small pot, that will fit inside the pressure cooker

A bread dough that will fit in your pot (mine is 1lb), ready for the final rise.

This is a baking technique instructable - there's plenty of info on making bread out there. If you're trying this at home and have a bread machine, you can cheat and make one on the dough cycle - that's what I did for this instructable, oh lazy me!
 
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Step 1: Get the dough in there

Picture of Get the dough in there
Stuff the dough into your pot. Go ahead, squash it down so it fits nice and tight. Be sure the pot is big enough, because we are going to let it rise one more time.

This dough, for the record, is a French bread dough with 75% white, 25% rye.
milnews_ca119 days ago

You don't need to sacrifice the crust here, either. I tried a slow-cooker bread that came out very soft, too, but I ran it under the oven broiler to get a bit of crust. True, never quite as nice a crust as in a hot, hot oven, but better than nothing. Thanks for sharing!

vgm1062 months ago

where did you get that pot that fits neatly in your pressure cooker?

nlabram7 months ago
Hi Rectifier,
I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU - my children & myself are wheat & dairy free & homemade bread's much nicer & cheaper than buying but it's taken months to perfect it & it's never quite right & tends to be too dry instead of soft & springy. I haven't actually tried a piece yet but it is spongy & still bread like to look at. It's a much nicer loaf cooked this way, so thank you so much for this guidance :-)
makbar2 years ago
Very helpful, thankyou!
pazzaglia2 years ago
Here is another pressure cooker bread technique.. instead of steaming the bread is boiled. (it includes the bread dough recipe, too!) http://www.hippressurecooking.com/2012/07/pressure-cooker-bread.html
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crickle3214 years ago
Great Instructable! Your pressure cooker wouldn't happen to be a Fagor Pressure Magic? Mine looks very similar with the crossing arm but it's stainless steel.
ekazal5 years ago
Incredible! Do you think that I could pop the finished PC loaf into the oven for a few minutes to crisp the crust? What temperature would you recommend? I wouldn't want to dry it out too much, but "oh" what a combination!
Rectifier (author)  ekazal5 years ago
Haven't tried it, but give it a shot and get back to me! I think it's a little unlikely to replicate a true 'crust' as the crust has already been cooked and toughened into a membrane of sorts. As far as I know, browning (and crisp, brown, tasty crusts) are caused by the Maillard browning reaction. This takes place at a temperature higher than reached in the pressure-cooker, I believe ~150C rather than the 120C in the pressure cooker. This reaction can only take place after the water has boiled out of the crust, which otherwise keeps it at 100C. So a short time in the oven is unlikely to result in a good crust. If I were to try, it would probably be in the toaster oven on "Broil" (or "toast?") and try to radiatively heat the crust hot enough to react without drying the rest of the bread out. Effectively you are toasting the outside of the bread (the color and flavour of toast also is a result of Maillard reactions)
I wonder if you could do most of the cooking in the pressure cooker, but leave the last 15-24% for the regular oven to finish up. I am sure the energy savings would be significant.

Supermarkets that want to have fresh high quality bread buy parbaked (partially baked) loaves from bakeries and do the final bit of cooking at the store. I believe this allows them to store the parbaked loaves frozen and ready for when they need them.
ramedia5 years ago
Excellent instructable. Thanks for taking the time.
ramedia5 years ago
"Oven spring" is a term for the burst of expansion a loaf has when first placed into an oven, due to the heat causing a final yeast fermentation.
bit_bucket5 years ago
wonderful just got the same pressure cooker from wiseman dot com and googled around to see if you could bake bread with it. Could you tell us where you got the little pans/trivit or the sizes you used. I would think this would be great for beans on the bottom/ cornbread on the top. toast the cornbread in the bottom after dumping the beans. I use a woodgas XL camping stove for mine.
ClayOgre5 years ago
This instructable got me interested in pressure cookers. Last week I received my 10 quart Fagor Splendid pressure cooker from Amazon.com (which, BTW, has only one setting, 15 psi -- cost me about 80 bucks). I've tried several things in it and been very pleased. I plan to try this idea in the near future. Thanks for posting this.
ewilhelm7 years ago
Do you know what pressure your cooker reaches? Mine has two settings, but I'd assume I'd use the higher setting. Also, post the broccoli stew! Most of my broccoli plus pressure cooker experiments has yields very poor results.
Rectifier (author)  ewilhelm7 years ago
The cooker runs to 13 psi, so use the higher setting. It's hard to find a full 15 psi cooker that doesn't cost > $200 around here, but maybe you are a rich guy with a kuhn rikon... For those looking for a cooker, try an outdoor co-op. This cooker is a great deal at only $55, and it's actually a camping model made by GSI - despite having an "old style" weight regulator, I've never had any of the problems that people worry about. I highly recommend it! The 3.5L size is way more useful than some of the huge ones out there, too. The broccoli stew is a bit of a cheat. I made the sweet-potato stew with spices and other hard vegetables under pressure, then simmered the broccoli in it without pressure. I agree, broccoli is easily destroyed - though I've had limited success with cauliflower curries by cooking the curry first, then adding cauliflower and bringing to pressure for just a few minutes. With respect to bread info, literally there is a ton of it, and that's why I didn't go into details on mixing, kneading, rising, etc... Google for "basic white bread", go grab a book from the library, try the one from the rice-cooker instructable. This technique is really easy on the dough, and you pretty much can't go wrong if you follow any bread recipe. Just make sure your first try is a small loaf, like 1 pound, so you don't oversize it. Good luck! I would recommend a basic french bread recipe to newbie bakers. All you need is white flour, water, salt and yeast. In the USA, you should use bread flour, in Canada you can get away with all-purpose (it has higher gluten content up here)
I will have to add a pressure cooker to my cooking collection, I justed priced one at dogbytecomputer.com $47.90 plus shipping, GSI40500 but they are out of stock. It doesn't say if the internal bread pan is included.
I do have a Kuhn Rikon, and I love it. Adding the broccoli and cauliflower late and only cooking it a little bit is good advice.
Rectifier (author)  ewilhelm7 years ago
Lucky! I haven't even seen any in stores around here, and they are definately out of my price range. Their low pressure setting is something like 8psi? Have you tried it out on low pressure for vegetables? I've been wondering how well it would work - running at 15psi for stew, adding broccoli and cooking at 8psi might be feasible. Mine only has one setting, 13psi, though as the weight can be unscrewed from the pin, I'm tempted to make some smaller ones if low pressure is actually useful :P
Even at 8 psi, broccoli turns to mush quite rapidly.
Hi, it only takes about 2 mins to steam broccoli, waving it near steam is nearly enough. A cup of water in a pot, and a bamboo steamer on top is one of the best ways to cook it. Infact most veg are best cooked quick like this over steam, broccoli is cooked when it's color looks brighter, cook for too long and it loses brightness.
Since originally posting this, I have since given up trying to pressure cook broccoli, and instead steam it for 4-5 minutes, if I want it cooked at all.
mas97796 years ago
my grandfather did something like this to make roast while hunting. he use pie pans
Red_Icculus7 years ago
I did this recipe to the letter twice. My bread fell once and the other time, it was extremely heavy and hard to eat. What am I doing wrong using this instructable?
Rectifier (author)  Red_Icculus7 years ago
Here are some pics from the sourdough oven vs pressure cooker bake-off this afternoon. I made small breads so I could make bread-bowls out of them to eat stew. And then I ate the bowl!! (seen the tim hortons ad?) Turns out the bowls were too small to hold much stew, but I just had to refill mine a few times. First one - spot the pressure-cooked bread. It stands out with its ugly crust. Second pic - spot the pressure-cooked bread again. It has a quite superior crumb despite its rubbery crust, lots of pretty holes. I tried both slices lightly buttered and warmed. The oven bread has a far superior crunchy crust experience, but when comparing the crumbs alone, the pressure bread has a much lighter, springier bite. Flavor is practically identical for the crumb, but the crust of the pressure bread is nonexistant and tastes exactly like the crumb, while the crust of the oven bread tastes, well, crusty. Overall a successful first try at sourdough. For those interested in sourdough, these were made with "Carl's 1847 Sourdough Starter", available through the mail at the affordable cost of one buck US for shipping!
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Rectifier (author)  Red_Icculus7 years ago
By fell, do you mean the top caved in while baking? That sounds like it was over-risen by the time you put it in to bake. The "brick" sounds like the yeast was killed. These are usually dough problems, not baking ones; What bread recipe did you use? Do you have a photo? The bread should be a little denser than usual, not big and fluffy, but it should still be roughly within the range of store bread density. Interesting to hear, because I have baked several different types of bread this way and have had no failures - I figured it to be near fool-proof, but maybe there are more variables than I thought in this process. If your dough is fine, the only way I can see it going wrong is if you didn't let it rise enough in the pan in the pressure-cooker (or let it rise too much, I guess), and just cooked it as a lump of dough. It should be nicely risen before you bring it to pressure - then it should spring by about 20-30% while steaming. Compare the photos in step 1, step 3, and the photo of the whole "muffin loaf" on my cutting board in step 5, to get a feel for how the bread changes in size. It has not quite doubled in size between punching it down in the pan and starting the bake. Today I am trying to make a real sourdough from starter for the first time, baking one in my oven and one in my pressure-cooker. I'm excited to see how it works out.
cheater.....
Very neat. I really do want to get a pressure cooker. I feel like they've fallen out of favor over the years, but they are so useful!
ryzellon7 years ago
And for the audience without a pressure cooker, there's a variation that bakes bread in a rice cooker: Rice Cooker Bread by Robotrix.
It seems to have a pretty good set of recipes scattered throughout the instructable itself and the comments.
Maujabur7 years ago
OK, "there's plenty of info on making bread out there", but could you post your recipe or link to any, please? I want to try this baking technique