There’s nothing better than the smell of freshly-baked yeast bread first thing in the morning. Unfortunately, unless you are an early riser (pun intended), it’s usually pretty difficult to have a loaf baked, cooled and ready for slicing by the time the rest of your household wakes up. I have been experimenting with quick-rise yeast for a little while, trying to come up with a bread recipe that takes just over an hour, start to finish. This recipe makes a dense loaf with lots of small air pockets, perfect for butter and jam to snuggle into. I’m quite delighted with this version, especially because it makes particularly fine toast. Some of my taste testers said it reminded them of English muffins.
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons instant (also called quick-rise) yeast *
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons white sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour (I always used unbleached)
2 teaspoons butter, melted
* If you use regular yeast, you will have to let the dough rise twice, which kind of defeats the purpose of speedy bread…but it will still be delicious.
- Preheat oven to 200F and turn off as soon as it gets up to temperature.
- Put hot water in a large bowl.
- Sprinkle yeast over top.
- Let sit 1 minute for yeast to soften.
- Add salt, sugar and flour.
- Stir to combine thoroughly. The dough will be quite sticky.
- Remove dough from bowl and place on a floured surface. Knead for just a moment or two until the dough comes together. Shape it into a small loaf-sized blob.
- Place the dough in a parchment paper-lined loaf pan (smaller size, 4.5 x 8.5 inches, if you have it).
- Cover the pan with a clean tea towel and place in the warm oven.
- Let rise until the dough reaches the top of the pan (this should take about 30 minutes) then remove pan from oven.
- Heat oven to 350F.
- Bake bread in centre of oven for 25 minutes.
- Remove bread from oven and brush with melted butter.
- Put back in oven and bake 10 minutes longer; crust should be nice and golden.
- Let cool on wire rack for at least 20 minutes before slicing.
Makes one loaf and can easily be doubled.