What Is Quick Bread: Your Guide to This Simple, Delicious Bake
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Ever page through a cookbook and wonder what is quick bread? We've got the answers and all the tips you need to make this super simple, yeast-free bake.
The good news is you don’t have to deal with any of that if you opt for a quick bread recipe instead. That’s right! Quick bread is a simple version of its yeasted cousin and there are so many delicious variations. So break out your favorite wooden spoon and tackle this bake with abandon.
What Is a Quick Bread?
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Simply put, quick bread is a bread recipe that is made without yeast. That’s it! Instead of using yeast to achieve a rise, these bread recipes rely upon leavening agents like baking soda and baking powder.
Unlike yeasted breads, quick breads don’t need to be proofed or kneaded. They can go from the mixing bowl to the pan to the oven. While the bake times can seem long (sometimes up to an hour), they are definitely speedier to make than a yeasted dough.
Quick breads don’t have the same texture as yeasted breads either. Most quick breads have a texture that’s similar to a muffin. They can be sliced and toasted but they’re not really suitable for something like your lunchtime sandwich. Many types of sweet bread fall into the quick bread category, too.
Types of Quick Bread
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There are near-limitless kinds of quick bread. If you can think of a flavor, chances are that some clever baker has thought of a way to stir it into a quick bread batter and bake it up in a loaf pan.
That being said, there are a few popular types of quick bread (some of which you may have already made before).
- Banana bread: This is one of the most popular kinds of quick bread. It’s the perfect way to use up a few bananas that are past their prime. Plus, you can gussy up the recipe by adding mix-ins and more.
- Cornbread: This yeast-free bread is a fantastic compliment to any meal—especially chilis and other hearty fare.
- Soda bread: You guessed it: Soda bread gets its name from the baking soda used in the recipe. Unlike many other quick breads, Irish soda breads are often baked freeform on a baking sheet.
- Beer bread: While many quick breads tend to lean toward the sweet side, beer bread is distinctly savory. This bread gets its signature flavor and lift from the beer added to the batter. When combined with the leavening agents, the batter bubbles up and has a nice rise.
- Zucchini bread: It’s safe to say that zucchini bread is the most delicious way to enjoy this summer bumper crop. Zucchini bread bakes up very moist thanks to the shredded veggie inside.
Ways to Bake Quick Bread
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Quick bread recipes are extremely versatile. While most recipes are baked in a loaf pan, that’s certainly not the only way to bake these breads. Lots of vessels can be used for these delicious bakes.
- Cast-iron skillet: Don’t put that skillet away after dinner! You can use a cast-iron skillet to bake up plenty of bread recipes including banana bread, savory herb bread and cornbread.
- Loaf pans: As we said, loaf pans are the most common pan used for baking up quick breads. Grab your favorite and you can make all these recipes (and hundreds more).
- Mini loaf pans: If you want to share your bakes, you can easily convert your recipe to fit inside smaller loaf pans. Follow our pan conversion guide for help.
- Sheet pan: Some quick bread recipes don’t require any particular pan at all. Recipes like Irish soda bread are just formed by hand and baked on a sheet pan.
Quick Bread Techniques
One of the greatest joys of quick bread—outside of not having to fuss with temperamental yeast—is that it doesn’t require any special tools or challenging techniques. All you need to know are a few baking basics to bake up a successful loaf.
- Dust mix-ins with flour: If your recipe calls for nuts, chocolate chips or fruit, it’s best to toss these ingredients in a tablespoon or two of flour before adding to the batter. This quick dusting will prevent all these add-ins from skinking to the bottom of the loaf.
- Don’t overmix: As with bakes like cookies or cake, you don’t want to overmix the batter once you add flour. Overmixing will strengthen the gluten in the batter and make your bread tough and unpleasantly chewy. Stir in the flour until just combined.
- Check the bake with a toothpick: Just like with cake, you can test the doneness of your quick bread using a toothpick or thin skewer. If the toothpick comes away clean, the bread is done; if it comes away gooey, it needs a little more time in the oven.
- Wait to cool until you frost: Many sweet quick bread recipes call for a confectioners’ sugar glaze on top. Make sure that your bread is cooled to room temperature before adding this finishing touch. If you frost a warm bread, the glaze will seep right into it leaving you with soggy bread with no decoration.
Quick Bread Recipes
If you’re new to baking (or are just looking to take it easy in the kitchen), start with easy quick bread recipes that require just a handful of ingredients that you already have in the pantry.
Once you’ve tackled a few basics, you can pull out all the stops and bake up some of our prettiest quick bread recipes. These recipes require a few more mix-ins and might require some icing or toppings. Don’t worry, though—they are still a cinch to pull together compared to these breads’ yeasted cousins.