I’ve now made about seven batches of No-Time Bread – so quick and easy – so I’m now experimenting with more variations. Today’s loaf uses the spices from the Swedish Limpa Bread, with a touch of molasses and a quarter cup of organic black cocoa powder. My beta testers agree: this combination works well. It’s not sweet (despite the cocoa and spices); somehow it all combines on boundary of savory rye and almost a tea cake.
These are the Key Steps for any No-Time Rye Bread:
Preheat the Dutch oven. Just like with no-knead breads, this bread bakes in a preheated Dutch oven (or, in my case, a Le Creuset enameled cast-iron casserole with lid) 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. Rye doesn’t rise as much as white, but still gives a good result.
Preheat the dough. Make sure to grease both the rising bowl and the Dutch oven or Le Creuset casserole; I use Pam spray. Once you’ve finished the final rise, don’t poke at the dough. Use oven gloves to take the casserole out of the oven, invert the bowl over the casserole and nudge the dough until it falls into the casserole. Make sure to score the top with a sharp knife. Bake, covered, for 25 minutes, then uncover and bake for 12-15 more minutes.
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. For rye bread, consider a third bout of 25 seconds with another 15 minutes of rest. This will still get your bread made, start to finish, in 90 minutes.
Let the bread cool and firm up for at least 10 minutes before slicing and slathering with butter, nibbling with soft cheese such as Brie or Camembert, or serving with soup.
No-Time Rye Bread Recipe
This recipe makes a good-sized boule, and takes 1½ hours, start to finish. It does require a microwave, plus (of course) a Dutch oven or Le Creuset pot (or equivalent).
14g (2 x ¼-ounce packets or 4 tsp) active dry yeast
20g molasses – a good dollop
350g (generous 1½ cups) hand-hot water
275g (1¾ cups) bread flour
275g (1¾ cups) rye flour
8g (1¼ tsp) kosher salt
25g (1/4 cup) organic cocoa powder
2-3 g each fennel, ground anise, caraway seeds and cardamom
Scant tsp orange flavoring
1. Place the yeast, molasse, and water in a large mixing bowl; stir well and let stand for five minutes to activate the year.
2. 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.
3. Now that the yeast has had a few minutes to bubble up, add 3 cups of the flour, the salt, and the flavorings. Beat on low speed for 30-40 seconds until everything is combined and forms a dough that is wet but not sloppy. Spread the remaining flour over your work surface, dump the dough on the counter, and immediately wash the bowl. Knead the dough vigorously for 5 minutes, or until it becomes elastic: it will no longer sticks to your hands, but will stick slightly to the counter.
4. Lightly grease the same microwave-safe bowl with vegetable oil – I use Pam spray. Slap the bread dough into the bowl and cover with a piece of plastic wrap also sprayed with Pam. Cover the whole thing with a dry tea towel and put in the microwave. Microwave on HIGH for 25 seconds.
5. Let the dough rest in the microwave for five minutes. Microwave on HIGH for 25 seconds more. Let it rest and rise for 15 minutes more. With the heavier rye dough, microwave for another 25 seconds, and let rest for 15 minutes more.
6. Using oven gloves, take the pot out the oven. Invert the bowl over it and let the bread fall into the casserole. Quickly slash the top with a lame or sharp knife. Cover and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake another 12-15 minutes until the crust is golden brown. the internal temperature hits 210°F, and the bottom sounds hollow.
7. For smooth slicing, let the loaf cool at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving.
8. Leftover bread can be stored cut-side down at room temperature for up to 3 days. It can also be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and aluminum foil and frozen for up to 3 months.