Cambridge, Mass. — A one-rise loaf of French bread from scratch in less than an hour? Impossible? Not any more. With fast-rising yeasts now on the market you can bake a dozen rolls, a loaf of American bread, or a plaited loaf of French bread in not much more time than it takes to heat and serve a frozen dinner.
Preparation time for the new yeast breads is also cut down because the container of dough is steamed over or placed in a pan of hot water to quicken the rising process. Only one rising is needed.
``Everyone loves those `comfort foods' like homemade bread, but most people don't bake at home for two reasons -- time and fear,'' said Theodore T. Lithgow, president of Fleischmann Division, Nabisco Brands, at a recent bread-baking workshop.
``Fast-rising yeast takes care of the time. You can actually have a loaf of bread on the table in one hour from the time you start. And we've established a Bakers Hot Line, to take care of the `fear.'
``Seventy-five percent of the yeast sold in this country is bought by only 20 percent of the population,'' Mr. Lithgow added. ``Most hot-line questions come up because people treat fast-rising yeast like the old. They already know how to bake so they don't read the instructions.
``It's like putting together a bicycle on Christmas Eve. You think you know what you're doing, then when everything else fails, you read the directions,'' he said.
Faye Eagan, manager of Nabisco's Food and Nutrition Center, explained how to use Fleischmann's new ``RapidRise'' yeast as she prepared several different breads. ``The most frequently asked question we get on the hot line is, `Why didn't my bread rise?' '' she said.
``Usually it's because people dissolve the yeast in warm water, as they would conventional yeast, rather than the quick method of just mixing it with the dry ingredients in the recipe.''
Ms. Eagan passed loaves of dill and Roquefort breads and sweet butter around for all to sample. The flavors were excellent, although some thought the texture of the Roquefort was a bit heavy. Less water in the recipe or a longer baking time may have improved it, Ms. Eagan suggested.
Easy conversion directions for any yeast baking are on each package of rapid-rising yeast. If you still won't read the instructions, and need the hot line, call 800-932-7800 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday. Dilly Ring 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 2 tablespoons sugar 3 tablespoons instant minced onion 2 teaspoons dill weed (not seed) 1 teaspoon salt 1 package quick-rising yeast 1 cup plain yogurt 1/2 cup water 2 tablespoons butter or margarine 1 egg, room temperature
Set aside 1 cup flour. In large bowl, mix remaining flour, sugar, 2 tablespoons onion, dill weed, salt, and yeast. In saucepan, heat yogurt, water, and butter or margarine until hot to touch (125 to 130 degrees F.); stir into dry mixture. Mix in egg and only enough reserved flour to make stiff batter. Grease 12-cup fluted tube pan, sprinkle with remaining onion, spoon in batter. Cover.
Place in large shallow pan half filled with hottest tap water for 20 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees F. 30 minutes or until done. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack. Quick Italian Pan Rolls 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon sugar 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon basil leaves 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 package quick-rising yeast 2 tablespoons margarine, cut into 2 pats 1/2 cup hot water (125 to 130 degrees F.) 3/4 cup cold milk Parmesan cheese
Insert dough-kneading blade into food processor. Add flour, sugar, salt, basil leaves, garlic powder, baking soda, yeast, and margarine. Process 20 seconds.
With motor running, pour hot water, then cold milk through feed tube in steady stream. After dough cleans side of bowl, process for 45 seconds longer.
Remove dough from bowl and press evenly into a greased 9-by-9-by-2-inch baking pan, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. With sharp knife, cut dough into 16 rolls, cutting almost to bottom of pan. Sprinkle top with additional Parmesan cheese. Cover.
Place large shallow pan on counter. Half fill with boiling water. Place baking pan on rack over shallow pan; let dough rise 20 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees F. 20 to 25 minutes or until done. Remove from pan; break into rolls. Serve warm. Makes 1 dozen. Plaited French Bread 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt 1 package quick-rising yeast 1 cup hot water (125 to 130 degrees F.) 1 tablespoon margarine, softened Cornmeal 1 egg white 1 tablespoon cold water
Set aside 1 cup flour.
In large bowl, mix remaining flour, salt, and yeast. Stir in hot water and margarine. Mix in only enough reserved flour to make soft dough. On floured surface, knead 4 minutes.
Roll dough to 13-by-8-inch rectangle. Cut 3-inch strips along both long sides, about 3/4 inch apart, leaving center portion uncut. Alternately fold strips to center at an angle; seal ends.
Place on greased baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal; cover.
Place large shallow pan on counter; half fill with boiling water. Place baking sheet over shallow pan; let dough rise 20 minutes.
Bake at 450 degrees F. for 15 minutes.
Beat egg white and cold water; remove bread from oven and brush with egg white mixture. Return to oven and bake 5 minutes longer or until done.
Remove from baking sheet; cool on wire rack.