Instant Pot bread proofing?

(Leah) #1

Has anyone here on our forum tried proofing any of the Breadtopia sourdough NK recipes in an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker? If you have and have been successful, would you please share the exact steps and instructions for doing so? I don’t own a bread proofer but I am a new owner of an Instant Pot DUO 7-1 6qt size.

Many thanks,

(Leah) #2

Hi everyone! I decided to contact Instant Pot and ask them directly about proofing bread dough in their machine. I CAN!

Here’s the transcript of the short chat I had online with one of their reps:

Can my Instant Pot DUO 6qt be used to proof no-knead sourdough bread dough?

Your Instant Pot Duo can definitely do that! By using the “Yogurt” function, toggle it to Normal. Just make sure that you don’t exceed the 1/2 mark on the Inner Pot when doing this.

do I need a special bowl to fit inside the liner or do I put my dough directly into the liner?


Good question, you can just put the dough directly into the liner.

No water used, correct? I’m just using the IP to basically temperature set the dough? And, do I seal the lid to “seal” or “vent”?


That is correct. You have to put the steam release handle to "Sealing".

And no water?


And no water.

I’ll have to let you all know how it works, IF I get up enough nerve to try it, LOL! My bread dough has been a bit challenged lately by cooler temperatures in the house. I’ve actually raised the house temperatures overnight to accommodate bread dough sitting on the kitchen counter. That’s an expensive option that I’d rather not continue. Now I just have to get up enough nerve to use my Instant Pot. Unfortunately, I forgot to ask how long to proof the dough in it…oh well, I’ll just have to guess and try it. Here’s hoping someone on this forum knows that answer.


(Melissa) #3

Curious to hear how it goes! Thanks for sharing what you learned so far.

Some other options to keep the dough warmer than winter house temps are: putting your dough in the oven with the light on, and using warmer water when you mix the dough. Also, reversing your process: bulk fermentation during the day.

(Leah) #4

@Fermentada, Well, Melissa, so far I have had utter failure with two loaves of the cinnamon raisin bread I’ve been faithfully baking since April 2018. Even with raising the heat in the house overnight my dough simply refused to raise and was a heavy mess. I still put it into a banneton for over an hour, put it into my preheated clay baker, scored it, etc., everything I know to do and have done successfully in the past. Today’s loaf, which was supposed to be a gift for my mom, was a flat, heavy “pancake” when it came out of the oven. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with my sourdough, Cyril. He feeds regularly and appears to be a happy starter. My other loaves have turned out well! I recently baked a rye bread for a friend. It came out fine! My cranberry-pecan loaves come out perfect. But trying to once again produce a well baked and risen cinnamon raisin is eluding me! So I’m hoping to soon try proofing one IN my Instant Pot. If you know of anyone who might have any idea of how long to proof it in the Instant Pot, please let me know. Unfortunately, I forgot to ask when I was on Instant Chat. Just call that glitch a winter brain-fart!


(Melissa) #5

That’s really strange. Any chance your raisins are a different brand or something?

(Leah) #6

I’m using the same organic raisins I’ve always used. One thing I did change in the last couple of loaves is that I didn’t use any whole grain flour. I just used the Breadtopia high protein organic white flour. The organic high protein flour is a wonderful staple so I can’t imagine why I’ve had two dismal failures with ONLY that one recipe. Could it be that it truly needs the whole grain added to it? I just got lazy and didn’t feel like pulling whole wheat berries out of the freezer and waiting for them to come to room temperature before running them through my Mockmill 100. That is the only thing I can think of at this moment. I’m even feeding Cyril EXACTLY the same brand and type of flour and pure spring water I’ve been feeding him since I was gifted him in February 2018.

(susanmcc99) #7

Whoa, genius idea. I’ve only used my IP for sauteing and high pressure cooking – beans, chilis, beef stews, etc. Haven’t made yogurt with it yet, so haven’t even explored its low temp capabilities. Here in New England, in winter our house is typically 67 during the day, only occasionally above 70 if the wood fireplace is well-stocked, but also dropping to 62 for much of the night when we’re sleeping. It does seem to slow down fermentation.

(Leah) #8

@susanmcc99, I did a little more research and found out that Instant Pot tries to maintain the Yogurt culturing temperature at 106°F – 113°F. So it appears that attempting a long overnight proof like we normally do would be WAY TO LONG! Id like to attempt this way of proofing in the morning but I’m only going to set the timer for about three hours. Then I’ll check the dough and see if it needs more time. I’m unavailable to babysit dough through Wednesday afternoon so my attempt may have to wait until Thursday.

@Fermentada, with an incubation of between 106-113F, would you know if three hours is an acceptable amount of time to proof the dough? I’m basically guessing based on a recipe blog someone wrote on using their IP to proof bread dough. Their dough was raised using fast action yeast. I only use sourdough. so trust me, this is one BIG experiment on my part.

And ladies, I’ve only had my Instant Pot for about a month so I’m still a real newbie at using it and I’ve never made yogurt in my life. Since I’m the only one in our home that even occasionally eats it, I have never considered making it. But if the yogurt function on the IP will proof NK sourdough bread dough in a much shorter time then baking bread around my personal schedule will suddenly have many more options.


(Leah) #9

Sometimes the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing. I contacted Instant Pot one more time this morning to ask how long to proof bread dough in the IP. I chatted with a different representative than I did yesterday and he said that the IP hadn’t been tested for proofing bread dough so they couldn’t advise me on it. However the rep did give me a link to an article that had a portion of it written on proofing yeast dough. I have copied the information here:

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:

Place the bread on parchment paper.

Put the steamer rack into the inner pot the normal way.

Secure the lid.

Turn the valve to Venting .

Use the Yogurt button in Low mode to keep the dough just warm enough to rise.

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.

I may try this technique anyway to see if it works at all with my sourdough bread. Worst case scenario is that I’ve wasted ingredients and a bit of time. Best case scenario is that I’ve found a new way to raise bread dough. I’ll let you all know how it works (or doesn’t).


(Leah) #10

Well everyone, proofing my NK sourdough cinnamon raisin bread in my Instant Pot DID NOT WORK! Unfortunately it was a waste of wonderful organic ingredients because I had to throw out the dough. Not only did in never rise, even after putting it in the refrigerator hoping for a refrigerator “proof” and then leaving it on the kitchen counter overnight yet again, it was just a disaster. It was heavy, wet, unrisen and on top of it, completely stuck to the parchment paper. I just dumped it all. My sweet Stanley just said, "don’t even make the cinnamon raisin in the winter. Just wait until the house warms up. So, fellow bakers, there you have it. At least for me, I will not be trying to proof bread dough in my Instant Pot.


(Melissa) #11

I’m sorry the instant pot didn’t work out for you. Did you see the recent post by @easummers where she talked about using a lamp to warm up a proof? Indirect and diffuse heat + being able to rotate the bowl is helpful.

One other suggestion–since you think it’s a recipe+temp problem:

How about adding raisins after the bulk fermentation?

I did this today. I think it will be good :slight_smile: yes, I should have scored lol

For a long loaf, you can just roll

For a round loaf, try this sequence of topping and folding.

(pretend you’re looking at raisins and cinnamon, not cheese :joy:)

(easummers) #12

I’ve followed this post and I think the Instant Pot could be used for proofing (I’ve had one for 3 years), but I would follow my own common sense (vs IP reps) and use it as a source of a boost of temp. I would NOT secure the lid. I would use the Yogurt setting and leave the lid sitting askew or off all together. All you are looking for during the colder months is a way of indirectly getting the ambient temperature a boost.

As a test, I would do the above with an oven thermometer in the Instant Pot and see what the temp is under those conditions. Additionally, as a test, I would have another batch in normal house conditions. Srsly, unless your house temp is below 40 degrees (refrigerator temp), you will/should be able to get fermentation/rise even if takes 24-36-48 hours vs 4-8-12 summer time. If you can’t get a bulk in 48 hours then I would suspect the usual culprit: yeast/starter.

I’ve found that in my own oven, oven light on, the temp is 90F which is pretty hot! I think that moves things along too fast, although I do use it as a short boost when I can keep an eye on things.

(Leah) #13

@Fermentada and @easummers, Thank you both so much for your help. Here’s the cinnamon loaf I baked for my sweet Stanley this morning. It came out large and very tall so my sourdough, Cyril, is healthy and a happy starter. There’s no problem with him. For some reason the ONLY bread I have had trouble baking during these winter months is the cinnamon raisin. This bread I just made for my husband is a modified recipe of the cinnamon raisin. Due to health restrictions, I’ve had to modify the bread. There’s no added salt at all, no whole grains and no raisins. It basically just has in it the organic high protein bread flour, pure spring water, Cyril, Ceylon cinnamon (can’t use cassia because it can act as blood thinner) and organic maple syrup. Instead of 400g of water I only use 325g and this particular recipe comes out perfect every time as long as I have the temperature in my kitchen at 74 degrees overnight. So that’s what I did last night. ALSO I made sure Cyril was freshly fed so he ate heartily for about 7 hours before I used some of him. As you can see this loaf is HUGE! I’m not sure if I’ll try using my IP again to proof dough. Since I live in the desert southwest it’ll start warming up here probably in the next 6 weeks or so.


(Raydee8) #14

I too keep my house at 64 degrees…so I can go with an extra long ferment OR do what America’s Test Kitchen suggests…

Place your covered dough in the oven - on bottom surface of oven, put 3 cups of boiling water in a loaf pan, 8x8 pan…something that size.

The environment in the oven is similar to a more humid day when rising dough is effortless.

The no knead recipe I use is theirs and this step is actually part of the recipe…works well!

(Leah) #15

@Raydee8, I’ve never tried putting my dough into my oven. I’ve always left it on the kitchen counter. Why? I don’t know! I understand lots of people use their ovens to assist their dough. I may just have to try that, especially since here in the desert southwest this is the extremely dry part of our season and there’s very little humidity. This is actually the very first “winter” I’m baking bread because I only acquired my sourdough in February 2018 and didn’t start baking with him until April 2018. By then the temperature in my house was already warmer. So this winter baking has been a learning experience for me.


(Raydee8) #16

Yes!! Completely different with low temps and here for us…the lower humidity makes it tougher too…that’s why if you add that 3 cups of boiling water in a pan on the bottom (not rack) of your oven, I think you may be pleased!!

(Leah) #17

I may try that when I prep my next loaf because now I’m curious if that will work. If it does, it sure beats putting up the temperature in the whole house overnight just to raise bread dough, LOL!


(christine.r.freed) #18

EHi There Fellow Newbie Bakers!!

I have an instant pot that I make yogurt in all the time, works fantastic! I have never tried to proof bread in it though. I have a dehydrator that works great for proofing. Placing the dough in a warmed, then turned off, dehydrator covered by a thick towel vs leaving it sit on the counter works well. I have a ceiling fan in the kitchen, so I think elimimating the air blowing on it might have something to do with it. I’ve noticed since winter came it takes about 18 hours for the bulk proof versus 14 hours in the summer…both bulk proofing in the dehydrator.


(doughinyuma) #19

the manufacturer does not recommend using an instant pot to proof bread…for whatever that’s worth.

(skipper1994) #20

I love my Brod and Taylor proofing box. It’s been the best investment. Maybe check it out?