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Quick bread loaves or Tea loaves are fast and easy to make, hence the name "quick bread". The ingredients, method of mixing, and baking technique are similar to those used for muffins. Quick-bread loaves are mixed with the Muffin Method or the Creaming Method, depending on the type of recipe. They are leavened with baking powder and / or baking soda, instead of yeast, used for yeast bread recipes. Their thick batters can be made in multiple variations by adding nuts, fruits, cereals, and other flours. They are mostly baked in a loaf-like shape, the standard being 9 x 5-inches, and develop a characteristic crack down the middle during baking. Most recipes can also be baked as mini-loaves or as muffins.
SARAH SAYS: Quick breads are not always baked in loaf pans. For example, corn bread and Irish soda bread are baked in shallow pans, spoon breads in casserole dishes or layer cake pans, Sally Lunn bread in a tube pan, and Boston brown bread may be baked in loaves or steamed in covered cans or special molds.
|Appearance||Even contour, no “lip” at upper edge
May have a center crack
Evenly browned top and bottom
Uniform crumb color
Well-distributed nuts and fruit
|Texture||Relatively fine crumb
Free of large tunnels
Not mealy or crumbly
|Tenderness||Crisp, tender crust
Firm but delicate crumb
Characteristic of the variety of loaf
Chop, shred or mash fruits, vegetables or nuts before you start making the batter. If you start the batter and then stop to chop, the moistened leaveners will continue to release carbon dioxide gas, and will have less leavening power left for baking. Hold back on using up extra amounts of fruits or vegetables; the extras can make a heavy, damp loaf that sometimes won't bake in the middle.
As with any baking recipe, start checking for doneness about 10 minutes before the baking time is up.
SARAH SAYS: If you find that your bread is beginning to brown too fast in the oven, cover it with a tent of aluminum foil. It doesn't matter which side is showing.
When you remove the pan from the oven, let it sit for 10 minutes and then unmold to a wire cake rack. If meant to be eaten from the pan, leave as is and let cool. The bread should still be quite warm when you remove it from its pan. Sometimes the bread sticks to the pan and you can't get it out. If it does, hold the pan upright and give it a couple of sharp, downward jerks, then try again. If it's really obstinate, loosen the bread by sliding a table knife around the edge of the loaf, in the fine hairline crack between the bread and the pan.
Cool quick breads completely before slicing; cutting while warm is one of the chief reasons for crumbling. Even better, store them tightly covered at room temperature for 24 hours for easier cutting. Cut with a sharp, thin-bladed knife, using a light sawing motion. Or, after cooling, wrap loaves tightly and store them in the fridge for up to a week or freeze up to 3 months.
QUESTION: I baked a banana bread...stuck in the tester...it came out clean...took the bread out...came back later to cut it...it was completely raw in the center...What happened? And how might I prevent this in the future? Thanks.
SARAH SAYS: It may be that you just placed the tester in an area that was cooked, or even a piece of banana, so it didn't show the raw batter. To check a quick-bread loaf for doneness, I always use the poke method as well and I press on the surface of the bread and peek inside the cracks. The cracks should have no moisture beads, and if you press the top it should be firm and not bounce back like a cake. Then test with the toothpick in two different places, especially if your recipe has anything with chunks that will give you a false reading.
QUESTION: Can I make muffins from my quick-bread recipe? The original recipe calls for a 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 x 2-1/2 pan. You want to make muffins in a standard muffin tin (2-3/4 x 1-1/2)
SARAH SAYS: Yes, but you have to do a few things first: You have to calculate how much your original pan holds so you can figure out how many muffins you can make.
1. You need to convert pan sizes:
A. Any easy way: Fill a large measuring cup with water, taking note of its measurement. Pour water into the pan originally called for in the recipe until it reaches 2/3 from the top, the amount you'd fill that pan with batter; 2/3rds full is typical for quick-bread and muffin recipes. Make note of how much water was used. If it is a two-part pan, fill it with sugar or rice.
B. Or, Another way is it to calculate:
|Standard Loaf Pan||9 x 5||4 cups||2/3|
|Loaf Pan||8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2||2 1/4 cups||2/3|
|Standard Muffin Tin||2 3/4 x 1 1/2||4 TBSP ea tin||2/3|
|Mini Muffin Tin||1 3/4 across||1 TBSP ea tin||3/4|
a. 1 cup holds 16 TBSP
b. Pan: 2-1/4 cups = 36 TBSP (2.25 x 16)
c. Muffin Tin (each one) = 4 TBSP
d. ANSWER: So, the recipe will make: 9 muffins (36/4 TBSPS)
2. Adjust baking times: The oven temperature should stay the same, but the baking times will be shorter. One quick bread loaf, typically takes about 40 to 60 minutes to bake. A dozen standar-size muffins typically take about 20 to 30 minutes. NOTE: If you have multiple pans in the oven at once, baking times will increase.
When making mini-loaves, estimate that the baking time will be 1/4 less than the recipe states for the large loaf. Make sure you stagger the pans in the oven so the hot air can circulate around them.
SARAH SAYS: If the pans are tiny and won't sit flat on the oven shelf, I position mine in a rimmed baking sheet to bake. Make sure you leave 1-inch space between the pans and place in the oven on the middle baking shelf.
|Approx. Pan Volume||Batter Volume||Bake Time @ 350 degrees F per 1 pan|
|1/3 cup||1/4 cup||15 to 20 min|
|1/2 cup||1/3 cup||15 to 20 min|
|2/3 to 3/4 cup||1/2 cup||20 min|
|1 cup||3/4 cup||25 min|
PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS
Inaccurate measuring techniques
Too little leavening
Too much liquid or flour
Fry line edge because sides of pan were greased
Too little liquid or fat
Too much flour
Wrong type of flour
Too much flour
Coarse textured, irregular grain, tunnels
Too little fat or sugar
Too much flour
Too much batter in pan
Too close to heating element of oven
Baked too long
Too high an oven temperature
Wrapped while warm
Too much fruit
Too little salt