Find out what makes a quick bread and get some great tips to get you started on these deliciously easy bakes.
You may not know the term “quick bread”, but you’ve eaten them before! Quick breads are batter and dough breads that are risen with chemical leavening instead of mechanical or natural yeast leavening. For most modern-day recipes, this means the baked good uses baking powder or baking soda to give lift to the bread.
Yeasted breads require proofing, kneading, and rising time, all of which can be time consuming and intimidating for some folks. Because quick breads use fast acting chemical leavening, they are easy, and are the perfect starter recipes for folks who are beginners in the kitchen (or maybe intimidated by baking). All that said, quick breads do not yield the doughy chew of a loaf of yeasted bread but are more tender and cake-like.
Types Of Quick Breads
Quick breads tend to fall into two different categories. One type of quick bread is made from a batter. Examples of batter quick breads include muffins, cornbread, and quick bread loaves (like banana bread, zucchini bread, and beer bread). The other type of quick bread is made from a thicker dough. This includes biscuits, scones, and Irish soda bread.
How Do You Make Quick Breads?
Quick breads often use a muffin or biscuit method in mixing. Both often start with mixing the dry ingredients together in one bowl and mixing the wet ingredients together in another bowl. Then they are combined gently until a batter or dough forms. The primary difference between the two is the use of a liquid fat (like oil or melted butter) in the muffin method and solid fat (like butter or shortening) in the biscuit method.
Regardless of the method, you don’t want to overmix the dough in any kind of quick bread. Overmixing the dough will lead to tough baked goods as it activates the gluten in the flour, something you want to avoid.
The Difference Between Baking Powder And Baking Soda
Quick breads rely on chemical leavening in the form of baking powder and baking soda to give lift to their baked goods. Baking powder and baking soda are both chemicals that create carbon dioxide. But they aren’t interchangeable.
Baking powder is a blend of different chemicals that have a built-in acid to the powder. This means you can use it by itself in the baked good. The chemical reacts to both liquid (when the baking powder dissolves in the batter) as well as heat. This is why most commercially available baking powders are called double acting. The release of carbon dioxide happens twice. Because baking powder is a blend of different chemicals, you need more of it to make a recipe rise. It’s not as powerful as baking soda.
Baking soda, however, needs an acid in the batter to work. This is why baking soda is used only when there is an acidic element in the recipe. Sour cream, yogurt, and buttermilk are all acidic dairy ingredients that will react with baking soda. Vinegar, lemon juice and the molasses found in brown sugar are also acidic and will work to react with baking soda. Baking soda works immediately when it dissolves and interacts with acid, which means if the baked good only has baking soda in it, you need to bake it right away or you risk all the baking soda reacting and losing the carbon dioxide gas before the baked good is done. Because it does not have a built-in acid, it is more powerful than baking powder and less is required in a recipe.
Some Quick Bread Recipes
There are some great quick bread recipes here on TheCookful as well as my blog Eat the Love. If you are new to making quick breads, I highly recommend checking out my recipes for easy banana bread, blueberry muffins, cornbread muffins, and drop biscuits. They are all easy to make and are classic quick bread recipes.
Once you’ve mastered those recipes check out my lemon poppy seed bread, chocolate chip muffins, bacon and chives biscuits, and jalapeno cornbread here on TheCookful (all coming soon!). Then bounce over to my blog and check out my blueberry muffins with blood orange, my whole wheat blackberry muffins, or my Kahlua chocolate banana bread for even more great quick bread recipes.