Last night I prepared a batch of my celebrated rye bread with dried cherries and chocolate chips, and thought it would be fun to contrast it with a plain white loaf. However, I’ve been struggled with getting a good rise (on both rye and white breads). So I turned to the internet for inspiration and found this super-fast bread — 1.5 hours start to finish. It does involve kneading, but I like kneading, so that was fine. What surprised me was 1) it rises in the microwave, and 2) the recipe worked! This the best rise I’ve achieved so far (apart from my baguettes), and the crumb is light yet tasty with a crisp crust.
Key Steps for No-Time Bread
- Preheat the Dutch oven. Just like with our no-knead breads, bake this bread in a preheated Dutch oven for a thin, crackly crust. If you heat the pan while you heat the oven, it will be hot enough to give the dough a good oven spring — which results in a loftier loaf.
- Preheat the dough. No really! You’re going to cover the kneaded dough in a large microwave-safe bowl and heat for 25 seconds to activate the instant yeast and get the dough rising.
- Rest the dough between bursts of heat. In between microwave bursts, let the dough rest in the microwave where it will continue to rise. Follow the first 25 seconds of microwaving with five minutes of resting, and the second burst of microwave heat with 15 minutes of resting time.
Baking and Eating No-Time Bread
Once the dough is shaped into a loaf, it’s ready for baking. There’s no need for further rising. You can shape the dough into a nice tight ball and put it right into the preheated Dutch oven. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for 10 more minutes.
Cool the bread for about 10 minutes before slicing and slathering with butter or serving with soup.
No-Time Bread Recipe
This recipe takes five minutes to mix, five minutes to knead, 20 minutes to proof, and 40 minutes to bake, so less than 1.5 hours in total. It makes one large loaf.
14g (2 x ¼-ounce) packets active dry yeast
12g (1 Tbsp) any type of sugar
235g (1½ cups) water
550g (3½ cups) bread flour
8g (1¼ tsp) kosher salt
8g (3/4 tsp) balsamic vinegar
Proof the yeast: Place the yeast, sugar, and water in the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer and stir to combine.
Preheat the oven and the Dutch oven: Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven, remove any racks above it, and heat to 450°F. Place a Dutch oven (or Le Creuset enameled cast iron casserole with a lid, or equivalent) in the oven as it heats.
Add most of the flour, salt, and vinegar to the yeast and knead for 5 to 7 minutes: Now that the yeast has had a few minutes to bubble up, add 3 cups of the flour, the salt, and the vinegar. Beat on low speed for several minutes with the paddle attachment. Add the last 1/2 cup of flour and switch to the dough hook. Beat for 7 minutes. Alternately, knead vigorously for 5 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.
Shape the dough into a ball and rise in the microwave for 25 seconds. Lightly grease a large microwave-safe bowl with vegetable oil. Transfer the bread dough into the bowl and turn it to coat in the oil. Cover the bowl with a very wet kitchen towel. Cover the whole thing with a dry kitchen towel and put in the microwave. Microwave on HIGH for 25 seconds.
Let the dough rest in the microwave, then microwave again. Let the dough rest in the microwave for 5 minutes. Microwave on HIGH for 25 seconds more. Remove from the microwave and let rest and rise for 15 minutes more.
Shape the dough and transfer to the preheated pan. Shape the dough into a ball and plop it into the preheated Dutch oven. Quickly slash the top with a knife. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until the crust is golden brown and the internal temperature hits 210°F, about 10 minutes more.
Let cool at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving.
Storage: Leftover bread can be stored cut-side down at room temperature for up to three days. It can also be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and aluminum foil and frozen for up to three months.
Click here for the printable .pdf file for No-time Bread.