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.''