What Are the Best Tips for Making Bread in a Rice Cooker?
Making bread in a rice cooker can be convenient, but there are a few tips that can help to ensure the bread bakes properly every time. First, despite any non-stick surfaces or coatings inside the rice cooker, the sides of the cooking bowl should always be greased before baking the bread. Next, the exact type of rice cooker can make a large difference in the times and recipes that can be used and, more often than not, the only way to accurately know exactly what is required to make bread in a rice cooker is to experiment. When baking bread in a rice cooker, some loaves might require flipping so the top portion cooks as well as the bottom portion, though this is not always the case. Embracing the convenience of the rice cooker for making bread also can help if the inner cooking bowl is used for every aspect of bread making, from proofing the yeast to allowing the dough to rise.
The cooking bowl inside many rice cookers often is lined with a non-stick coating. This coating might work well for less dense foods such as rice but can be ineffectual for making bread. For this reason, the bowl can be greased with a non-stick spray, butter or oil so the bread does not stick to the walls, especially while it is rising.
There are many types of rice cookers available, some with automatic bread-making settings. A large portion of making bread in a rice cooker initially is determining the different quirks of the particular rice cooker. This can be as simple as knowing how large a loaf can be cooked or how long the bread needs to bake with the heating elements inside the machine. Some more complex issues can occur with cookers that use only steam to cook rice, because the moisture level in the dough might need to be adjusted to compensate; similarly, rice cookers that have limited power settings could burn the bread or leave it drastically undercooked if not monitored.
As the bread in a rice cooker slowly bakes, it is important to check on the bread from time to time. This is to avoid burning the bread on a hot spot inside the cooker and to ensure that the cooking times are accurate, because some heating elements might not provide the same consistent heat with each use. There also are times when the bread might cook well only when it is in contact with the walls and floor of the cooking bowl, meaning it will need to be flipped part-way through cooking to ensure it bakes evenly.
When I make a loaf of bread in my rice cooker, I always cut back on the liquid ingredients and add a little extra four. These two steps help to make the bread less moist, since it is very common for bread cooked in a rice cooker to turn out too soft and moist.
I have made several different types of bread in a rice cooker, and I have found that this type of cooking method is best left for moist, dense breads. Basic bread usually comes out too moist, in my opinion.
If you want to try to make bread in a rice cooker, some good varieties to try are pumpkin, zucchini, and other types of heavy fruit breads that are best when they are very moist.
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