When baking powder was introduced in 1850, it changed the way bread was made and the quick bread tradition is a result of this change. Before that, cakes were always leavened with yeast. However, baking powder has replaced yeast almost entirely (except for yeast bread dough).
Quick bread is a common term used for everything from scones to biscuits, that are made from dough, to loaves and muffins that are made from various batters. They can be either sweet or savoury or small or large. The main factor that identifies them is that they are quick to make. There are a variety of different quick breads which are categorised as dough or drop/pour batters. The fluidity of the original flour mixture, the mixing methods and the ingredients used in their preparation decide which category they fall in.
The basic recipe
Tea breads, unleavened breads, waffles, scones, pancakes, muffins, and loaves are all essentially quick breads. The basic ingredients of all recipes are all-purpose flour, milk (or some other liquid) leavening agent (baking soda and/or baking powder), and salt. These breads generally contain some proportion of vegetable oil or butter, sugar, and eggs, depending on the recipe. That’s what makes some of them richer and sweeter than others. Their dough and batters work well with various colourful and flavourful additions such as dried fruit, nuts and fresh fruit as well as berries.
What makes them “quick”?
Quick breads are tagged “quick” because they need to be cooked or baked soon after they are mixed. Baking soda and/or baking powder are an inherent part of most of these recipes. As soon as their dough or batters are formed and the leaveners have been moistened, they release CO2 bubbles. The steam & air produced during cooking/baking, along with the CO2 bubbles help in leavening the recipes.
In contrast, bread that has been leavened with yeast needs a slow fermentation process, that’s measured in hours. While a few recipes from this category, such as pancakes and waffles can also be made with yeast, they are generally cooked within an hour/two of mixing the batter.
Quick breads – how they are made
The other thing that quick breads have in common is their gluten structure. The Two-Bowl Mixing or The Muffin are the basic methods used to prepare most quick bread, although some recipes call for the use of other methods – e.g. The Creaming Method used for cakes. This involves combining all the dry ingredients (flour, salt and baking powder) separately from the sugar and liquid ingredients (milk, egg, sugar, and oil). The next step involves mixing these dry and wet ingredients gingerly and quickly. The two have to be folded together using just a few strokes. Overmixing will only affect the quality of the final product so you need to lightly moisten all the ingredients and leave the mix a little lumpy, with a few wisps of flour showing. The cooking, frying or baking should be done without any loss of time after this so the leaveners don’t expand their CO2 gases. It’s important that you be watchful of these basic quick bread recipe warnings – “Don’t overmix”, “Don’t overbake”
While quick bread recipes may seem simpler than their more traditional counterparts made using yeast, the former too have to be made with attention to detail. It’s important that you use top quality ingredients and follow the recipe to the tee until you master the art of making basic quick breads.
At Ganache Patisserie you will find fantastic breads and delicious croissants, french cakes, sculpted cakes, cupcakes, savoury treats and other baked goods for everyday consumption as well as for special occasions. Come; explore our scrumptious world of goodies.
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