How to Proof Bread in an Instant Pot to Turn Out a Faster Loaf

We have the inside scoop about proofing bread in the Instant Pot so you can slice into a homemade loaf a bit quicker.

The best thing since sliced bread might be Instant Pot bread proofing. That's right, the multicooker is the top tool to try if you're searching for ways to speed up your rise. Proof dough in an Instant Pot and you'll cut that rise time about in half, confirms a spokesperson for Instant Brands, who we spoke to exclusively for this story. If you're wondering "Can you make bread in an Instant Pot?" you can bake some loaves, but not all. Since you're steaming more than baking when cooking under pressure, be sure to use a bread recipe specifically designed for baking in a multicooker if you prefer to go that route.

You can absolutely use the following tips for how to proof bread in an Instant Pot for any and all yeast doughs that require proofing, though. For bagels, pretzels, French bread, and Italian bread, read on for our complete guide for proofing bread in an Instant Pot.

Bread Proofing 101

Proofing bread is the baking term used for the process dough undergoes as it ferments, rises, and develops gluten. Each "proof" is defined as the time when the dough doubles in size. As the yeast reacts with the sugar in the recipe, it releases carbon dioxide, which triggers the rise and lends the light, airy, and squishy texture.

Many bread recipes are proofed twice. The first round yields air pockets, then after you punch down the dough, you shape the dough into its desired format, proof it once more in its baking pan, then pop it in the oven after it doubles in size. The second proof makes smaller air pockets, a thicker crust, and lovely crumb texture.

Some restaurants or commercial kitchens utilize specially-designed proofing drawers or ovens that control temperature and humidity so the yeast activates optimally. Luckily for home cooks, those proofing chambers are remarkably similar to a certain setting on an Instant Pot.

crusty bread cut in half next to an instant pot
Courtesy of Amazon

Buy It: Instant Pot Duo ($100, Target)

How Instant Pot Bread Proofing Works

Proofing dough is best done at a controlled temperature between 70°F to 90°F, and the Instant Pot's yogurt setting on low hits that right on the mark. (Of course, this would work in any brand of multicooker with a yogurt setting, not just an Instant Pot.) Traditionally, this setting is used for fermenting milk into yogurt. That same atmosphere is ideal for fermenting the yeast in bread dough.

"The Instant Pot provides the perfect controlled temperature, unlike proofing on your countertop which can have many variables that can affect the overall temperature. By controlling the temperature in the Instant Pot, the proofing process is faster than if you were to let it sit on your countertop in an uncontrolled environment," says a spokesperson for Instant Brands.

You can cut a lot of time with this bread proofing strategy: Dough that doubles in 2 hours at 73°F (about room temperature in many homes) will double in just 1 hour at 90°F. So if you're in a hurry, proofing bread in an Instant Pot can be a game-changer.

How to Proof Bread in an Instant Pot

To try this at home, mix up any yeast bread dough. Then prep your pot: "Put a lining of parchment paper in the pot, before adding the dough, to prevent sticking," a spokesperson for Instant Brands recommends. "The parchment paper also makes it easier to lift the dough out of the pot, as you can hold the sides of the paper and lift it out. Oil or nonstick spray can also be used as an alternative."

Press the YOGURT button on the Instant Pot, then select LOW temperature. After a few seconds, the Instant Pot will make a beeping sound. Cover the pot with a glass lid or aluminum foil (rather than the original lid, which can get stuck to the dough and be tough to remove if the bread rises too quickly).

Set a timer for 30 minutes. Check the dough to see if it has doubled after those 30 minutes; if not, take a peek every 10 minutes after up to 60 minutes. Cut your bread recipe's proofing time in half, and that should be about when your Instant Pot bread proofing is complete for the first proof.

"Sourdough tends to take a bit longer to proof, where quick yeast dough will require less time," says a spokesperson for Instant Brands, so adjust accordingly and keep an eye on your dough. "We want to look for the dough to double in size."

Once doubled, punch down the dough to release the gases, shape as explained in the recipe and allow to rise once more per recipe instructions outside of the appliance. This second rise will often take place in a loaf pan, as rolls on a sheet pan, or as a baguette on a sheet pan.

If you have a multicooker, you can now trim about an hour of prep time by proofing dough in an Instant Pot. The bread-making process does take time, but now there will be fewer minutes between you and a warm, fluffy loaf of bread.

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