Yes, I have baked bread by this method. IIRC, bread browns for two reasons, one is the heat carmelizes the sugars in the bread, the other is that the hot surface and air dries out the surface of the bread and allows it to brown, much like what happens in a toaster. There are two types of pressure cooker bread recipes.
The first class of recipes, the bread is cooked under pressure, with the weight or pressure switch on, and the gasket in place. These are steam baked breads. Here is a recipe from this first class of pressure cooker baking:
Sun-dried Tomato/Herb Bread
This bread is an example of steam-baking in the pressure cooker. It is done under pressure. The amount of time for steam-baking is a bit shorter than when using an oven, and you save fuel by heating only the pressure cooker.
Pre-heat the pressure cooker on medium heat five minutes before putting in your food to be baked, covered with aluminum foil to retain heat. Turn your burner down very low. A consistent low flame will produce a moderate oven temperature. Cakes and other sweets seem to take a little longer than breads this way.
We love this bread sliced and toasted under the broiler with cheese melted on top. The crust is chewy and not browned on top. You can make plain bread this way by leaving out the seasonings. I like to use 1/2 whole wheat to hide the fact that the bread is not browned on top.
1 cup warm water (110-115 F)
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
About 3 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
1 cup fresh basil, chopped finely
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 reconstituted dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Dissolve yeast and sugar in small bowl with 1/4 cup of the warm water. Add remaining water to large mixing bowl. Add salt and oil and allow to cool while yeast is dissolving. Add yeast mixture and 3 cups of flour along with basil, garlic, dried tomatoes, and cheese. Turn out on floured counter and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic, adding flour as needed. Place dough in a greased 2-quart oven-safe casserole dish or bowl that will fit in your pressure cooker. Let rise until doubled in volume in a warm draft-free place 40 minutes to 1 hour. When doubled, punch down, turn out onto counter, and knead a few times. Place dough back in dish and let rise a second time for 1/2 hour.
Pour 2 cups fresh or salt water into pressure cooker with rack. Place container of dough in the pressure cooker and seal with lid. Bring up to 15 pounds pressure. Turn heat down to maintain pressure, and cook 40 minutes. Cool cooker immediately by placing in a pan of cold water or letting cold water run over cooker. Open lid carefully and remove bread. Cool in baking container for 10 minutes, then invert and take out of dish. Cool 15 minutes before slicing. Makes 1 loaf.
The second class of recipes are tradionally baked recipes, and require that you remove the gasket and leave the pressure weight/switch in the relief position. These are usually baked using a small rack and a smaller baking container, inside the pressure cooker. In this situation, the pressure cooker is merely acting as a stove-top oven, much like a traditional dutch oven. Here is a traditional baking recipe for brownies, adapted to pressure cooker baking:
This is an example of baking with a pressure cooker. To bake in the pressure cooker, remove the gasket, leave the pressure regulator off the top, and use the cooking rack and a separate heatproof dish that fits inside the cooker for the food. Doubling the recipe and baking it in an oven will produce a 13x9 pan of brownies. It is a scaled-down recipe tailored to using my medium stainless steel bowl (that holds 6 cups) as a baking pan. A soufflé dish would work well as a heatproof dish.
2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
3 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup unbleached flour
1/2 cup nuts (optional)
Pre-heat pressure cooker over a medium flame with rack inside and top locked on but without a gasket or the pressure regulator. Do not put liquid inside. Lightly grease the heatproof dish that will fit inside your pressure cooker for the batter.
In a pot over very low heat, melt chocolate and butter, stirring constantly. As soon as it's melted and smooth, remove from heat and add sugar. Stir until well blended. Add egg and vanilla; mix well. Add flour and nuts, if desired. Stir mixture well. Pour into heatproof bowl. Cover with aluminum foil. Open your pressure cooker and place dish inside on rack. Turn heat down to low and bake 45 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from pressure cooker and cool. Enjoy!
I hope this clears things up a bit. BTW, both of these recipes were from the Good Old Boat magazine website, and their article on cooking with a pressure cooker can be found here
. One other point, the second type of baking generally requires a larger pressure cooker than the first type, which can be done with a four-quart model. I have both a four-quart and an eight-quart pressure cooker that came as a package
. A nine-inch round cake pan fit inside without much trouble, as the pressure cooker is 10" in diameter. Getting the cake pan out is another story.