How to Make Bread at Home Without an Oven
Turn your air fryer, toaster oven or even microwave into your in-house bread bakery.
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By Erin Hartigan for Food Network Kitchen
Looking to try your hand at baking bread at home? Having an oven is usually pretty mandatory. After all the term "bake" means something is cooked by dry heat in an oven, which is how you get the right conditions to yield something like No-Knead Peasant Bread.
But if you don’t have access to an oven, the great news is that you can still make a satisfying loaf of homemade bread. Whether you don't have access to an oven, your oven is on the fritz, it's too hot to turn on the oven or it’s already occupied by other cooking projects, Food Network Kitchen has come up with recipes for FIVE different methods to make real bread without an oven. And even if you have a perfectly good working oven, these are mighty cool ways to put your kitchen appliances to new use.
If you have a microwave, an air fryer, a slow cooker, a stove top or a toaster oven, you can make your own bread — we created edible, enjoyable loaves using each one. Not all yielded the kind of golden, crackly exterior you’d want from a classic loaf, but all were light and puffy inside and satisfied the craving for sandwiches and dunking into soups and nibbling slathered with good butter and jam.
How We Made Them
We used the same ratio of ingredients for every cooking method (though we didn’t set the slow cooker bread to rise). Each recipe yields one loaf. The basic recipe calls for melted unsalted butter, yeast, sugar, salt and flour, then kneaded.
Which Is Best?
Of all of the methods, the air fryer bread (pictured) was our favorite. We let the dough rise for an hour (or until it doubled in size), then cooked it at 380 degrees F for 20 minutes, followed by an additional 5 minutes with a foil top. It emerged light and airy, with a nicely browned crust.
The toaster oven bread was another excellent option. Preheated to 400 degrees F, the toaster oven method yielded a fluffy loaf with a nicely browned crust in 20-25 minutes.
The slow cooker bread, which needed no rising time, cooked in a buttered round pan on high heat for two hours. Though it emerged without a crust or any of that usual baked golden color, the loaf was light and airy.
We also cooked the bread in a buttered Dutch oven on the stove, which yielded a nicely darkened crust and puffy interior.
The most surprising loaf came from the microwave. Although it had no crust or color, it was light and airy with impressive texture, reminiscent of Chinese-style steamed buns, all in only 4 minutes.
The only method that ultimately failed was the Instant Pot. When we tried pressure-cooking the bread, it emerged dense and wet, then collapsed on itself. Oh well, that simply means you can save the pressure cooker to make the stew you'll dip your bread into.
But as long as you have another of these methods, you’ve got a path to homemade upper-crust bread.
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