That is until my talented friend Jane sent me this pumpkin bread recipe and told me to give it a whirl. I had my doubts. Bread is baked in an oven, lady, not a countertop plug-in appliance.
But I trust Jane…and she was right. The bread worked beautifully, better even than plenty of oven loaves I’ve made. The moist environment of the slow cooker results in a particularly tender loaf. Best of all, no babysitting; my bread bakes while I run errands and carpools.
I suppose it’s not surprising that Jane knows her stuff. She’s the writer and recipe developer behind the blog, The Zen of Slow Cooking. Her pumpkin bread is simple to prepare and calls for wholesome ingredients: whole wheat flour, maple syrup instead of sugar, olive oil instead of butter, and a full cup of pumpkin, which means a generous amount of vitamin A, along with vitamin C and potassium. I threw in crystalized ginger and ground cinnamon for the warm flavors that epitomize fall baking. Chocolate chips work well instead, too.
I’ve now made enough loaves — both pumpkin as well as a banana bread version — to open a slow cooker bakery. I may never turn on my oven again.
Have you baked in the slow cooker? Do tell.
Side Note: For the “gluten-freers” amongst you, I spied this GF pumpkin bread recipe in Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food this month.
This is an easy, "one bowl" bread done in the slow cooker, which results in a very moist and tender loaf. It can also be baked in a conventional oven at 350 degrees for about 1 hour. For a tasty variation on the recipe, use one half cup of chocolate chips in place of the crystalized ginger. Leftover pumpkin puree can be folded into pancake batter, whirled into a smoothie, or frozen for future use.
- Oil or cooking spray for coating the pan
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 cup whole-wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup olive oil or canola oil
- 2/3 cup maple syrup
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (or 1/4 cup finely chopped crystalized ginger)
- Get out your loaf pan and be sure that it fits inside the slow cooker. Set your your slow cooker to high with the lid on.
- Coat a 2 pound loaf pan with oil. Shake in 1 tablespoon flour to coat the bottom and sides, patting out any excess flour.
- In a large bowl, put the 1 cup of all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, and stir well with a whisk. Add the olive oil, maple syrup, eggs, milk, and vanilla, and mix well, making sure that the ingredients are thoroughly beaten and the mixture is without lumps. Add the pumpkin, walnuts, and chocolate chips (or ginger), and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until the ingredients are evenly incorporated into the batter.
- Pour the batter into the loaf pan and set the pan into the slow cooker. Put on the lid and cook on high until the bread is done, about 2 hours. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the loaf. If it comes out clean, it is done
- Adapted with permission from a recipe by Jane McKay of The Zen of Slow Cooking