A Quick Guide to Quick Breads
What are quick breads? Quick breads are made using chemical leavening agents, namely baking powder or baking soda, instead of yeast. The term “quick bread” is appropriate, as these items don’t involve the long rising times that yeast breads require. From muffins, scones and biscuits to cornbread, pancakes and waffles, quick breads are a great way to get satisfying baked goods on the table a lot faster than traditional yeast baking.
Mixing Methods Quick breads contain varying ratios of flour, oil or butter, sugar, eggs and salt, as well as leavening agents and flavor add-ins. What makes them distinct in texture is the mixing method used. Choose from the following mixing methods for your desired taste, texture and type of quick bread.
Muffin Method: The most commonly used technique is the muffin method that results in a batter rather than dough. Its processes keep quick breads light and tender. Mix all dry ingredients in one bowl, and then mix the liquid ingredients thoroughly in a separate bowl. Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and mix just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Some small lumps should remain, as overmixing yields dry quick breads. Gently incorporate add-in ingredients into the batter near the end of mixing.
Creaming Method: This method mixes the butter more thoroughly with the sugar before combining other ingredients to produce rich, smooth quick breads. Combine softened butter with sugar, salt and other flavorings and beat or vigorously stir until the mixture is fluffy. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, and any liquid ingredients. In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients and add to the mixture. Gently incorporate flavor add-ins last.
Customize Your Quick Breads There are infinite flavor possibilities for quick breads. When you’re looking for an easy homemade solution, especially during current times, turn to ingredients you have on hand to prepare a delicious, one-of-a-kind quick bread. Check out these ingredient ideas for your own comforting masterpiece.
• Spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger and cloves
• Herbs like sage, thyme, rosemary, basil and oregano
• Vegetables like zucchini, carrots, sweet potato and pumpkin
• Fruit such as fresh berries, apples, pears, bananas and mangos
• Dried fruits like cherries, apricots, cranberries, dates, figs or raisins
• Nuts such as walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pecans and pistachios
• Chocolate chips
• Sweetened shredded coconut
• Rolled oats
• Poppy seeds
• Finely grated lemon, lime or orange zest
• Cheeses such as Cheddar, Parmesan and goat cheese