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How to Proof Dough in the Instant Pot

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Proofing Dough in the Instant Pot is probably one of the best kitchen hacks that I’ve found in a long time. It provides a beautiful, soft dough that rises consistently every time!

I’ve been thinking about this post for weeks but wasn’t sure how to go about writing it. It’s not like our usual recipe posts where we talk about the recipe, give the ingredients, instructions, tips, and we’re done.

This post is different. It’s more about a process of “How-to” do something, and it doesn’t involve a specific recipe.

All this came about when I needed a loaf of bread for our homemade beef bolognese post. I meant to pick one up at the grocery store to use as a prop but forgot.

It made sense to whip up a quick French bread recipe. The only problem was the time it would take for the bread to rise.

Fluffy bread dough on a gray plate.

I used this homemade French bread recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, and got to the part where the dough is supposed to rise. John and I needed to run a couple of errands, so I put the dough into the Instant Pot and crossed my fingers

After arriving home, I found a beautiful, huge amount of dough. It rose even more in the Instant Pot than it ever would have on the counter. Since then, I’ve been using the Instant Pot to proof bread dough.

There are two ways that I’ve used the Instant Pot to proof dough. One is with the yogurt function and the other is using the keep warm function.

The yogurt function is my preferred method, but it’s not available on all Instant Pot models. The keep warm function serves a workable backup.

How to Proof Dough in the Instant Pot Using the Yogurt Function:

Start by using a dough that needs to rise in a bowl or vessel for its first rise. This method is not ideal for dough that needs to be shaped before rising.

Make the dough according to the recipe. Instead of placing the dough in a bowl, covering it, and letting it double in size for 1 – 1 1/2 hours in a warm area, it’s going to go into the Instant Pot.

Equipment You’ll Need:

Prepare the Liner:

Pour 1 teaspoon of olive oil into the liner of the Instant Pot. The olive oil is used to coat the dough and prevent it from drying out and sticking to the liner.

Adjust the amount of olive oil as needed if 1 teaspoon doesn’t completely coat the dough.

Teaspoon of olive oil being poured into the Instant Pot.

Coat the Dough:

Place the dough into the Instant Pot and roll in the olive oil to evenly coat.

*If you don’t want to use olive oil, place the dough onto a large piece of parchment paper, and drop it directly onto the liner of the Instant Pot.

Ariel view of a ball of dough in the Instant Pot.

Add the lid:

Set the ball of dough in the center of the liner, and cover the Instant Pot with a glass lid or plate that fits snuggly around the edges.

Set the Timer:

Press the yogurt button on the right side of the Instant Pot, and ensure that screen says “Less.” That means that less heat is being used to heat the liner.

In this case, less is best. Next, use the + and – buttons to adjust the time to 30 minutes. The amount of time is not set in stone and can vary depending on the dough.

I don’t watch the dough like a hawk and chose 30 minutes as an estimate (half the time a normal recipe says). It’s always worked perfectly, so I’ve never changed it.

That being said, some dough may take less time to rise and others may take more. Thirty minutes is a good starting point.

Instant Pot showing 30 minute timer on the yogurt function.

Remove the Dough:

After the time is up, check to see if the dough has risen to the recipe specifications. If so, remove it from the liner. If not, set the time for a few more minutes.

Ariel view of proofed dough in the Instant Pot.

I stay pretty busy taking photos, shooting videos, doing dishes, etc., so I’m not tempted to take a peek at what’s happening inside the pot.

It’s important not to remove the lid from the Instant Pot while the dough is rising. Removing the lid could cause the heat to escape.

Some dough recipes require a second rise. If feasible, the Instant Pot can be used for the second rise as well.

Proof Dough in the Instant Pot Using the Keep Warm Function:

Equipment You’ll Need:

Like I was saying above, many Instant Pot models do not have a yogurt function. After testing out a few different methods, the keep warm function seemed to be the next best option.

Start by placing a trivet with handles into the Instant Pot. Place the dough into a glass bowl, lightly roll in olive oil, and set the bowl on the trivet.

Cover the Instant Pot with a glass lid or plate. Press the keep warm button until the screen shows “less.” Mine automatically defaults to “more” which is too hot for the dough.

Next, use the + and – buttons to adjust the time to 30 minutes. After the time is up, check to see if the dough has risen to recipe specifications. If so, remove from the Instant Pot. If not, adjust the time for a few more minutes.

Proofed pizza dough on a gray plate.

Drawbacks to Using the Keep Warm Function:

The keep warm function is great in a pinch. However, in my opinion, it’s a tad too warm for dough.

The first time I tried it, the dough was placed directly on the liner and the temperature was set to “more.”

Unfortunately, the dough began to cook and dry out.

The second time, I used the bowl and trivet method listed above. It worked well, but I was only able to use half the amount of dough since the bowl was small.

I didn’t want to run the risk of the dough expanding over the bowl. Additionally, the bottom of the bowl and the dough felt overly warm from the heat of the liner.

If you have the ability to use the yogurt function, that would be my recommendation.

Have Questions About How to Activate Yeast?

We have a How To Activate Yeast post that helps troubleshoot issues with proofing yeast.

Recipes to Try:

We haven’t had great success with proofing sourdough bread in the Instant Pot. I’m talking about real sourdough that utilizes a starter not Greek yogurt.

If you’re looking for sourdough bread recipes, check out our sister site More Than Meat and Potatoes. We have several, and the list is growing.

Here are a few recipes that work great if you’d like to try this proofing method for the first time:

If you like this How to Proof Dough in an Instant Pot post, please leave us a comment and rate the recipe card. You can also find us on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram searching for Berly’s Kitchen!

Join our Facebook group for more recipes from Berly’s Kitchen, our new site More Than Meat and Potatoes, and some of our blogger friends!

Gray plate of pizza dough in front of a black and white towel.

How to Proof Dough in the Instant Pot

Yield: 1 Dough
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: $1.50

Proofing Dough in the Instant Pot is probably one of the best kitchen hacks that I've found. It provides a dough that rises consistently every time!

Materials

  • 1 Teaspoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Prepared Dough (ingredients already mixed)

Tools

  • Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker (one that utilizes the yogurt function with a glass lid is preferred)
  • Glass Lid
  • Glass Bowl (if using the alternate "keep warm" method)
  • Trivet with Handles (if using the alternate "keep warm" method)

Instructions

  1. Place 1 teaspoon olive oil into the liner of the Instant Pot. Place prepared dough into the liner and roll it in oil ensuring even coating. Top down view of dough in the Instant Pot.
  2. Use a glass lid or plate to cover the liner. Turn on the Instant Pot using the yogurt button, and make sure the screen says "less" under the time. Use the + and - buttons to adjust the time to 30 minutes. Front panel of the Instant Pot.
  3. After the 30 minutes is up, remove the lid. If the dough has risen to the specified size, remove it and continue with your recipe. If not add additional time. Puffy dough in the Instant Pot.

Notes

*We used a 6-Quart Instant Pot for this post and have not tried another size for comparison. (Link to our model of Instant Pot is listed below. See photo of the Instant Pot.)

*Please see post for links to equipment needed, more in-depth information, and links to recipes. 

*Please refer to the post for instructions for proofing dough using the "Keep Warm" method.

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Genevieve

Friday 15th of May 2020

Worked perfectly fine for me. Normally the dought i use needs to 12-14h and with the instant pot it was 5h instead! Thanks a lot!

John

Saturday 16th of May 2020

Thank you Genevieve! We're glad to hear it worked well for you. Thank again for coming back to comment on and rate the recipe card. Have a lovely day :)

Heather

Wednesday 29th of January 2020

Have you tried proofing sourdough? And, how long did it take?

John

Thursday 30th of January 2020

Good Afternoon Heather, that's a good question. Unfortunately, we have not proofed sourdough in our Instant Pot. Sorry we couldn't be more helpful. Have a lovely day :)

Nadine

Tuesday 21st of January 2020

I seem to have trouble using the yoghurt function. It won't start unless I use the instapot lid. It keep beeping and the letters lid keep blinking. What am.i doing wrong?

John

Wednesday 22nd of January 2020

Good Morning Nadine, that seems to be an issue with certain models of the Instant Pot. So, you're not doing anything wrong. Some models will allow users to place a glass lid the pot, while newer models will not allow for a glass lid. Unfortunately, we don't know of a safe way to proof bread using the Instant Pot lid (instead the glass lid). Sorry, we couldn't be more helpful.

Claudia

Friday 10th of January 2020

Did you make the full recipe for French bread from Mel’s kitchen? Did you make two loaves or one large round one? Thanks, looking forward to trying this proofing of the dough. I tried another recipe using the IP but the rise time was 3 hours. I like this idea better since it would be much better for last minute.

John

Friday 10th of January 2020

Good Morning Claudia, that's a good question. I spoke with Kim and she said that she used the full recipe from Mel's Kitchen to make two loaves of the bread. Thank you for asking and have a lovely day :)

Rob

Wednesday 25th of December 2019

Hi. I have a new instant pot duo sv with the yoghurt function but when I try and proof bed it gives me a constant lid warning if I try not to use the lid.

I understand it can cause damage if u use the lid ad the dough may overrise.

Thanks for any help in advance

Rob

Cathy

Tuesday 23rd of June 2020

I just got the same Instant Pot Duo SV model and tried to proof my dough by using the yogurt setting and had the same issue. It won't work unless I have the instant pot lid on. :( I also don't have the option to lower the temp.

John

Thursday 26th of December 2019

Good Morning Rob, That's a great question. Kim did some research both in Instant Pot's website and the user manual for your model. Unfortunately, the information she found seems a bit conflicting. So, after talking, our best advice is for you to contact Instant Pot's customer service. Mainly, because we're not certain as to why your model is behaving that way. Sorry, we couldn't be more helpful. However, the last thing we want to do is give incorrect information. Hopefully, their customer service can get to the root of the issue. Thank you for dropping by, Rob! Have a great day :)