Yeast bread in a hurry: it doesn't HAVE to take forever. Honest

Quick, think of five baking aromas that bring you running to the kitchen to see what’s up. (And no, you can’t count “fruit pie filling burning on the oven floor” as one of them. We’re being positive here.)

My five?
Brownies, in the minute before they come out of the oven;
Garlic bread;
•Cinnamon anything; apple pie and oatmeal cookies in particular;
Pepperoni pizza;
•Yeast bread. Any kind. Ciabatta, sticky buns, raisin-pecan rye… Anything made with yeast.

Note that three of my five favorite baking scents involve yeast. Not surprising; enjoying the aroma of fresh-baked bread is probably programmed into our genes, just like our attraction to sugar. (Did you know studies have shown that putting a bit of sugar on an infant’s tongue will create “happy brain waves”? Gee, bet the same thing happens to me when I take a bite of chocolate cake.)

Bread is, after all, one of the first prepared foods known to human civilization. Once our nomadic hunter/gatherer progenitors settled down and began to farm, about 12,000 years ago, wheat was one of their first crops. And bread one of their first creations. Think of those humble beginnings, those first rudimentary, unleavened flatbreads. Now, thousands of years and zillions of loaves later, we’ve created… Wonder Bread.

And sandwich rye. Baguettes and Pan Cubano, whole wheat pain de mie and bagels, and yes, good ol’ Wonder Bread-style white sandwich bread. Check out our Web site: we offer hundreds of yeast bread recipes. We’ve found that yeast bread bakers are our most passionate, engaged readers. Heck, even the posts on this blog elicit many more comments when the subject is yeast bread, compared to anything else (though chocolate runs a close second).

If you’ve never baked yeast bread, here’s a “gimme”—a recipe so simple, you’ll wonder why you thought yeast bread was challenging. Blitz Bread goes from inspiration to on-the-table in under 2 hours. It requires no kneading. And it’ll bring everyone running to the kitchen as it bakes. So, what are you waiting for? Take the yeast bread plunge!

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WOW, look at all that yeast! If you’ve baked bread before, you’ll realize that a tablespoon of yeast is more than you’d usually use. But we’re after speed here; and the more yeast you start with, the faster your bread will rise.

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Beat everything together for 60 seconds at high speed in your electric mixer. Can you do this in a bread machine? Sure. Set it on the dough cycle and let it mix for probably 5 to 10 minutes, till the dough looks like this. Can you do it in a food processor? I haven’t, but I’m betting you could. Use the plastic dough blade, if you have one, and process till it looks like this. Can you do it by hand? Absolutely—if you’ve got really strong arms and lots of energy! (Hey, there’s a reason they call appliances “modern conveniences.”)

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Nice! Look at how smooth and elastic this dough is. That’s the gluten, doing its job.

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Spray a 9” x 13” pan with non-stick vegetable oil spray, then drizzle with olive oil. The spray keeps the bread from sticking, and the olive oil gives the bottom crust wonderful flavor.

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Press the dough into the pan. It’ll take a bit of nudging to get it into the corners; just oil your fingers and press.

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Let the dough rise, covered, for 60 minutes. Using your index finger, make dimples in the dough. Sprinkle with pizza seasoning, Italian herbs, or your favorite combination of savories—rosemary and black pepper, oregano and thyme…

Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 375°F.

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Bake the bread for 25 to 35 minutes, until it’s golden brown. Turn it out of the pan onto a rack; if you’ve greased your pan well, it should flop right out onto the rack. If you leave the bread in the pan as it cools, the bottom crust will become unpleasantly soggy.

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A basket of Blitz Bread is an easy (and much appreciated) contribution to any potluck.

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And here it is in a cheese-stuffed version. I crumbled about a cup of feta cheese into the dough at the end of the 60 seconds of beating, then mixed gently just to combine. Whoa—this is GOOD!!!

You might have noticed I made feta focaccia in the post just previous to this one. I bought a big block of it at our local club store, so I’ve been putting it into everything lately. And I’ve found feta is particularly good for baking, as it doesn’t melt, but just softens nicely. So there.

Read, review, and rate (please!) our recipe for Blitz Bread.

Buy vs. Bake

Buy: Supermarket Rosemary Focaccia, 36¢/ounce

Bake at home: Blitz Bread, including optional Pizza Dough Flavor and cheese powder, 10¢/ounce. Without optional ingredients, 7¢/ounce.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. Peter

    I just bought a bag of vital wheat gluten. I am finding ways to use it. Can I use a tablespoon in the recipe to further enhance this awesome bread recipe. Or, is vital wheat gluten only supposed to be used when baking using whole wheat flour? TIA.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Vital wheat gluten really isn’t needed in non-whole wheat/rye breads. You won’t see a big change in this recipe with the added gluten. Jon@KAF

  2. Dick B.

    The blog calls for baking time of 35-40 min., the recipe page calls for baking time of 25-30 min.
    Why the discrepancy ?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Dick thanks for pointing this out. We were going back and forth with the baking temperature, and finally settled on 375°F. The baking time will be 25 to 30 minutes, maybe 35 minutes… depending on your oven and how brown you like the bread. I’ve amended the blog post to reflect that. Thanks again – PJH

  3. Margo

    I posted yesterday about how I loved your Blitz Bread No Fuss Focaccia recipe. I forgot to tell you that I put 1/4 cup of your Vermont Cheese powder in and since I knew I was going to make two layers out of it , I didn’t want Italian seasoning on top because it would be on the other layer so I added 1/4 cup of your artisan bread seasonings in it….and oh! the aroma as it was baking was scrumptious! Thank you for such a lovely variety of additions that make all of our cooking experiences so marvelous! I have a question, I live in a very old home whose walls have no insulation as they’re just lathe & plaster. We have extra sheet rock on them but the house is probably cooler than a more modern home. I read in an article by a Chef Headley that was connected to your site by someone’s link that I could turn my oven on to 200 degrees for five minutes and then turn it off and place my bread in the oven to rise that it would cut my rise time in half. Would It still have sufficient heat in the oven for the second rise also or would I need to reheat it again for 5 more minutes. My stove is electric not gas or I’d just use the heat from the pilot light to rise the bread. Thanks again for such marvelous products and thank all of you for being such lovely, gracious, caring and helpful people.

    Reply
    1. Susan Reid

      Margo, does your oven have a light inside it? If so, just turn it on and let that be your heat source. It does a great job of maintaining a good yeast rising temperature. If you want your dough to go a little faster, put a pan of simmering water in the bottom of the oven, too. That way you’ll get a nice rise without the risk of baking your bread before its time. Susan

  4. Nicola

    I have been making this basic recipe for a few years now and make lots of versions of this adding extras.

    I live in the UK and pizza flavour cheese powder and pizza seasoning are not available to me so I substitute these big flavours. I use various combinations of the following when I make this bread grated garlic, fresh or defrosted frozen, Parmesan or Pecorino cheese, herbs i use dried mixed Italian herbs, oregano, thyme, or rosemary obviously i do not use all these ingredients at once but they all add great flavour in varying combinations.

    My kids fav is when i add cheddar or feta cheese to the mix and then when in the pan before the first rise i put teaspoons of sundried tomato paste and basil pesto alternately on top about an inch/3cms apart i then just let the dough rise around these. once risen sprinkle the top with Parmesan and a little olive oil. Made this at least twice a week last winter, great with home made soup.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You are making me so hungry and it is not even close to lunch time Nicola! Elisabeth@KAF

  5. mysbhvn1

    I have this baking in the oven and can’t wait for it to come out…it smells heavenly! I do have a question though….after the 60 min rise I was “attempting” to put the indentions in the dough before baking. The dough was extremely sticky and I was pretty much unable to make any indentions that stayed in the dough….it just stuck to my fingers, even if I wet them.
    …any ideas as to what the issue may have been?? I’m not very experienced with the yeast bread world so any help would be appreciated 🙂

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      You know what? Skip the indentations, if they’re not working for you; they’re not critical to the loaf. I’ve stopped making them in my blitz bread. If you still want to try, dip your fingers in olive oil, and quickly/gently “stab” the dough – be quick. If you linger, your fingers will stick. Either way, your bread will taste great! PJH

  6. teach2stamp

    I live in Denver CO. For high altitude I reduced the instant yeast to 2 1/2 teaspoons and increased the water to 2 cups plus to get it to the consistency shown in the picture.

    Reply

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