Instant Pot Sandwich Bread

This recipe was adapted from skills I have learned from my flour guy, True Grains Artisan Milling, and from reading Ken Forkish’s Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast. It’s a fantastic read if you have not checked it out. He would also probably cringe to find out I am using an instant pot, but it was very hot, and I wanted to make bread. I did not want to run my oven at 500 degrees since we don’t yet have our air conditioners installed, and so I figured my choices were the grill or the instant pot. I chose the instant pot because I’m getting low on charcoal during this pandemic. This recipe is very simple.

  • 250g unbleached AP flour
  • 250g bread flour (I used a fresh milled whole grain variety)
  • 360g filtered water (heated to 90 degrees)
  • 10g sea salt
  • 2g instant dried yeast

I mixed together my flours and water thoroughly in a bowl using a silicone spatula. You can also do it by hand, but I hate the effect the flour has on my already dry skin. Cover with plastic wrap and put it into the instant pot on the warm setting. You’ll need the lid on, but you don’t have to secure it.

After 25 minutes, remove the mixture and sprinkle in the yeast and salt, trying to spread evenly over the dough. Stretch and fold the dough until the salt and yeast are on the inside, and then use the pinch method to get them securely mixed into your dough. Then fold the dough 3-4 times until it stiffens. Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to sit about 4 hours. You want it to nearly triple in size. The exact amount of time will depend on the temperature of your kitchen and the temperature of your dough when you were finished mixing. Hotter equals faster.

Once your dough has reached the proper rise, remove it from the pan and fold once more. Now you are ready to shape it. I used a cupping and pulling method learned from my flour guy which is also shown in Forkish’s book. At the end, you want a nice tight ball. Cover this with a towel for it’s last proofing. This could take up to 1 1/2 hours depending on your temperature, but I recommend checking it after 45 minutes and then every 15 minutes. It’s ready when it passes the “poke test” as it is so formally referred to in much of my bread education. Forkish more elegantly calls it the “finger-dent test”. Either way, you want it to spring back almost all the way, very slowly when pressed with your finger. Don’t stab it, just poke it gently!

About 30 minutes into this last proofing, set up your instant pot to preheat. I used a rounded casserole dish, but any round dish that will fit in your instant pot and is oven proof will work. I like the casserole because it is thick and gives me an illusion of an even heating similar to a Dutch oven. I don’t know if that is accurate. I’m an amateur cook, not a scientist, engineer…any other type of expert related to food! Anyway, I have the Instapot Duo, so mine has an airfyer lid and a “bake” function, so I used this. However, I have seen many online recipes using the regular pressure cooker setting. I put about a cup of water in the bottom of instant pot pan and then the trivet and set my baking dish on top of that. I set my machine to 400 degree (F) because that is its highest setting.

When the bread is ready to go in the pan, I would put it in first and then do your scoring so you don’t risk damaging the shape and growth. Put the lid on and set it to bake for 40 minutes. At that point, check it for doneness. If you like a darker, crisper top, you can then use the broil function for 5 minutes before removing the loaf.

As tempting as it will be, let it cool completely before cutting. You will get a substantially different texture if you cut it when it is warm.

*This post published both in my recipe section and as a blog post.