Pressure Cooker Bread: less energy, less time, REAL bread!

UPDATE: We’ve tested this with gluten-free flour, and with a very small change to the recipe, it works!  Scroll down to see the new info and photos.

pressure cooker bread
You can make bread in the pressure cooker with our new technique! It takes minutes not hours of energy to cook.

This recipe was especially designed for cooks with limited energy and space to dedicate to cooking like boaters, RVers and those who camp! This bread won’t replace common bread for the home cook but it’s a fun alternative to blasting the oven in the summer heat.

To figure out how to get decent bread out of the pressure cooker, we had to go back to the basics. The pressure cooker is a lean, mean, steaming machine so the focus went immediately to steamed breads.  But first, what container to use?

Suitable Containers for Pressure Cooking Bread

All steamed bread recipes call for a 1 pound coffee can. Few of us ever actually buy coffee this way or have access to these cans.  So it was time to come up with another solution.

As with all pressure cooker accessories, first shop in your own kitchen. Look for something heat-proof, food safe, tall, narrow and that doesn’t reduce near the top.

Possibilities include – small cookie tins, stainless steel storage canisters (remove attached lids), ceramic cooking utensil holder, cylindrical heat-proof measuring cups and even wide-mouth canning jars where the opening is as wide as the body. Make sure that the opening does not taper – you want to be able to get the bread out, right?!?

Don’t overlook square or rectangular containers in your kitchen (or galley). The possibilities are endless.   Even if your container comes with a heat-safe lid always cover it with foil, instead.

Never pressure cook an air-tight container, as the contents could remain under pressure even after the pressure from the cooker is released , there is no safe way to release this pressure other than waiting for the container and its contents to cool completely overnight.

Here are the “found” containers from our kitchen that we used in this recipe and experiments.

Containers for pressure cooking bread: Decorative ceramic “can”, stainless steel tea canister, 400g aluminum powdered milk can (inner-lip removed with can opener), heat-proof glass measuring cup (only fits 1/2 the recipe).

Using a casserole or pudding mold will not achieve the same results because the container will need to be partially submerged during pressure cooking.

From Sweet to Savory

A steamed bread is generally a sweet mixture between cake and bread.  Think: Corn Bread, Zucchini Bread, and Boston Brown Bread. They are sweet and not savory breads.

Savory pressure cooker bread recipes previously published online use a yeast bread dough with very unsatisfactory results (compared to oven-baked bread).

To distance ourselves from sweet cake-like breads (made with baking powder and eggs) and not prolong the disappointment of  predecessors (leavened with yeast), we gave  quick-breads (leavened with baking soda) a shot.  In fact, the dough in this post closely follows the ingredient ratios for a White Irish Soda Bread.

Where’s the crunch?!?

Steamed breads are not crunchy – though the edges do brown a bit while pressure cooking. The texture of the resulting bread is similar to a grocery-store loaf for sandwiches. We recommend quickly sauteing a few slices in a frying pan or scorching them on a grill, as we did with this recipe, for a satisfying crunch.


Gluten-free it!

Per a reader request, we tested this recipe with an all-purpose gluten-free flour mix.  We followed the recipe exactly as written with the addition of more baking soda (3/4 teaspoon instead of 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda).  We let Gluten Free Girl’s experience guide us on that bit – understanding that perhaps gluten free flours may need more lift.  The consistency, cooking time and everything else was exactly the same.  Scroll to after the recipe to see photos of the gluten-free version made in an electric pressure cooker

Pressure Cooker Accessories Pr. Cook Time Pr. Level Open
6 L or larger  steamer basket, see article    15-20 min.    High(2)  Natural
4.3 from 8 reviews
REAL White Savory Bread - pressure cooker recipe
 
Author: 
Recipe type: pressure cooker
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Up to half of the flour can be replaced with whole wheat - check the consistency as you may need a spoon or two extra of yogurt. Other great additions are ¼ cup sunflower seeds or two tablespoons of anise.
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 cups (250g) all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate baking soda (not baking powder)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1¼ cup (270g)whole milk plain yogurt (or sour milk, or milk with 1¼ tablespoons of vinegar)
  • water to cover
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Prepare the pressure cooker with rack, or steamer basket. Then, oil a long, tall and skinny heat-proof 4 cup capacity container with a teaspoon of olive oil.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl add flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir everything together with a fork and then add the yogurt. Stir lightly to incorporate, then lightly knead. The mixture should be a bit chunky and flaky - break up the biggest flakes and incorporate back into the mixture for about a minute.
  3. Gather the dough together and see if it will hold together into a ball - it will be a little bit sticky. If it won't stay into a ball, sprinkle a little water. Knead lightly for about a minute to amalgamate everything.
  4. Elongate the mixture and lower it in the oiled container, adding a little splash of oil to the top to keep it from sticking to the foil.
  5. If using a coffee can do not use the plastic lid during cooking. If using an air-tight stainless steel canister do not use the lid from the canister (see note, above).
  6. Cover with foil and , to ensure room for expansion, make a little pleat in the middle of the foil.Tie a string around the edge to keep the container tightly closed.
  7. Lower the container into the pressure cooker on the rack and fill the cooker with hot water from the tap to half the height of the container.
  8. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker.
  9. For electric pressure cookers: Cook for 20-25 minutes at high pressure.
    For stove top pressure cookers: Turn the heat up to high and when the cooker indicates it has reached high pressure, lower to the heat to maintain it and begin counting 15-20 minutes pressure cooking time. NOTE: Cooking times may vary depending on the width and materials of the container used (glass and ceramic will take longer than stainless steel or aluminum).
  10. When time is up, open the pressure cooker with the Natural release method - move the cooker off the burner and wait for the pressure to come down on its own (about 10 minutes). For electric pressure cookers, disengage the “keep warm” mode or unplug the cooker and open when the pressure indicator has gone down (20 to 30 minutes).
  11. Carefully remove the container, remove the foil and test the bread by inserting a toothpick. If it comes out clean, un-mould the loaf and put on a cooling rack (or cool burner) to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
  12. Slice and serve warm with fresh butter, lightly fry in a saute pan with your favorite infused oil or scorch on the grill before serving.
    Yields 1 small loaf that can be sliced into 8 slices or more.

Stovetop step-by-step:

Electric pressure cooker step-by-step (using all-purpose gluten free flour):

Have you tried this? Post your favorite variation, in the Comments, below!