You can play with bread basics and yeast to suit almost any schedule. The one thing you usually need in making bread, though, is time. No-Knead Bread is delicious partly because of the very long rise. But what if you have a craving for last-minute yeasty goodness? What if you are making dinner and have only an hour or so, and biscuits just won't do? Enter No-Time Bread.
If you're a baker you should be instantly suspicious; time is what generally makes bread good. We can't promise the incredible slow-rise flavor of No-Knead Bread here, but you can indeed trick yeast into a fast rise that gives a different but still delicious homemade loaf.
Also, we stick to what works, and we bake this loaf in a covered pan, like No-Knead. This helps the dough spring to life under its own moisture and develop that wonderful crackly crust and tender interior.
If you're still thinking about buying a Dutch oven, check out our Dutch oven roundup. If you don't have a Dutch oven, no problem! Check out our post on Dutch oven alternatives. We can almost guarantee that you have something around that will work.
The crumb of this bread is much finer than No-Knead; the dough is not quite as wet, so it has a finer crumb compared to the rustic wide holes of a wetter dough.
And the taste? Obviously it doesn't have those complex flavors that are born of long, slow rising. Instead it is yeasty and moist - with just a hint of a tang. We use a little trick from Shirley Corriher, who adds a touch of vinegar to quicker yeast doughs. This simulates a little of the flavor you get in long-rise doughs. It's also incredibly moist and tender, with that homemade yeasty comfort, just slightly sweet from the sugar that is added to get the yeast working quickly.
The final verdict? If you have time, make a slow-rise dough. If you don't have time, don't forgo bread - try No-Time Bread.
4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (two packets)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 cups water
3 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
In the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer put the yeast, sugar, and water and let it sit.
Heat the oven to 450°F. Put a Dutch oven (or one of these alternatives) in to warm as the oven heats. Get out your flour, salt, vinegar, spray oil, and anything else you need.
Now that the yeast has had a few minutes to bubble up, add 3 cups of the flour as well as the salt and vinegar and beat for several minutes with the paddle. Add the last 1/2 cup of flour and switch to the dough hook and beat for seven minutes. Alternately, knead vigorously for five minutes, or until the dough becomes extremely elastic. This will still be a wet dough, but not goopy. The dough will clear the sides of the bowl but still stick to the bottom.
Lightly grease a microwave-safe bowl with vegetable oil and transfer the bread dough to it, rolling it in the oil. Cover the bowl with a very wet towel. Cover the whole thing with a dry towel and put in the microwave. Microwave on HIGH for 25 seconds.
Let rest in the microwave for about five minutes.
Microwave on HIGH for another 25 seconds, then remove.
Let rest and rise for another 15 minutes.
Shape into a ball and plop into the preheated pan. Quickly slash the top with a knife. Cover and bake for about 30 minutes, then remove the cover and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the internal temperature hits 210.