Quick breads (chemically leavened, not yeast leavened) which most fruit and nut bread recipes are, were not developed until the end of the 18th century. This took place in America, where pearlash was discovered. Pearlash is a refined form of potash, and it produces carbon dioxide gas in dough. In American Cookery, ( 1796 – the first American cookbook), Amelia Simmons published recipes using pearlash, and the US exported some 8,000 tons to Europe in 1792. Baking powder was not developed commercially until 1857 (phosphate baking powder). So the quick bread, as we know it, was probably not made in America until the 18th century, when housewives discovered pearlash as a chemical leavening agent.

“Quick bread” refers to any bread that uses leaveners like baking powder or baking soda instead of yeast and requires no kneading or rising time. The definition includes pancakes, waffles, scones, biscuits, coffee cakes and muffins. These breads keep well, they’re tasty for a quick breakfast, snack, sides, a healthy after school snack and they’re great as gifts, too!

More versatile than most other baked goods, quick breads give you greater freedom to add healthy ingredients and make substitutions that reduce the carbohydrates and calories. See healthy alternate baking ingredients at the bottom of this post.

Bake several loaves and freeze, pulling them out as needed. (Muffins and quick breads can be frozen for up to 3 months.)

Slice loaves and freeze servings individually (wrap each slice in plastic wrap and then in a resealable larger plastic freezer bag). Kids can grab one from the freezer in the morning for a snack if they are going straight from school to an after-school activity.

Tips on Baking Quick Breads:

To lower the fat in your own quick bread recipe, you can substitute some of the oil with an equal amount of almost any fruit puree (applesauce, plum baby food, pumpkin puree, mashed bananas).

The secret to moist, tender quick bread is in the mixing: use a gentle touch. Combine in a bowl the dry ingredients (flour, leaveners, salt, and spices) and mix them thoroughly with a wire whisk. In another bowl, beat together the fat, sugar, and eggs. Stir any other ingredients (fruit puree, flavorings, or extracts) into the wet ingredients.

Only when each bowl of ingredients is mixed thoroughly should they be combined. When you are ready, pour the dry ingredients into the wet ones and fold them together gently with a large spatula. Do this part by hand rather than with a mixer and stir just until incorporated. Over-mixing will cause “tunnels”–holes where the air bubbles escaped–and will make the bread tough.

To keep the bread from sticking to pan, you should always grease the pans before you pour in the batter. The best thing to use for greasing the pan is shortening, because its melting point is higher than any other kind of fat, which helps maintain a “shield” between pan and batter while the bread is baking. A high-quality cooking spray–one that won’t bake on to your pans and discolor them–is also a fast, easy fix. Next, be sure to flour the bottom of the pan and shake out any excess.

The crack on top happens when top of the loaf “sets” in the heat of the oven before the bread is finished rising. Don’t worry–it’s normal for quick breads. Dust with confectioners’ sugar if it is important to have an attractive loaf.

Bread that looks done on the outside but is still raw in the middle is a common quick bread problem. It can be caused by a few different factors. The oven temperature could be too high. (Use an oven thermometer to check: they’re cheap and available at most supermarkets.) Try lowering the oven temperature and/or putting a loose tent of foil over the top of the bread so it won’t burn before the middle has time to catch up.

Another cause of “raw center” could be using a different pan size than the recipe calls for. One of the nice things about quick breads is that you can use the same batter to make muffins, mini loaves, jumbo loaves, or rounds, but each size requires different baking times–and some require different baking temperatures. The larger and thicker the loaf, the longer it’s going to take to bake. If you’re using a different size pan than your recipe calls for, adjust the baking time accordingly and check the bread often.

Tips for using baking soda and baking powder:

Batters made with baking soda should be baked soon after mixing for best results because the leavening starts to work as soon as the wet and dry ingredients are combined.

Batters made with baking powder can be allowed to rest for 15 to 20 minutes at room temperature, but no longer, before going in the oven.

An open can of baking powder should be used within 4 months and kept in the refrigerator. To test for freshness, place 1 teaspoon of baking powder in a small amount of hot water. If it is fresh, it will fizzle rapidly.

Lemon Bread

Ingredients

  • 1  3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar or sugar substitute blend (Truvia for Baking) equivalent to 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup refrigerated egg substitute or 1 lightly beaten egg
  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup finely ground toasted almonds (grind in a processor)

Topping

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of an 8x4x2-inch loaf pan; flour the bottom of the pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.

2 . In another medium bowl combine the egg, milk, oil, lemon peel, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in nuts. Spoon batter into prepared pan.

3. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. If desired, stir together the 2 tablespoons lemon juice and the 1 tablespoon sugar. While bread is still in the pan, brush lemon-sugar mixture over the top of the loaf.

Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack. Wrap and store overnight before serving to improve flavor. Makes 1 loaf (16 slices).

Orange Quick Bread

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup sugar (or sugar substitute blend* (Truvia for Baking) equivalent to 3/4 cup)
  • 1 egg or 1/4 cup egg substitute
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup lowfat milk
  • 1 (8 oz.) carton vanilla yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour or Eagle Brand Ultra Grain flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon flaked, sweetened coconut
  • 2 teaspoon grated orange rind
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and flour bottom. Combine sugar, oil and egg in a bowl and whisk till smooth. Stir in yogurt and milk.

Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup and level with a knife (as opposed to scooping from container). Combine flour, ¼ cup coconut, orange rind, baking soda and salt in another bowl. Make a well in the centre and add milk mixture.

Stir until just moist. Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of coconut on top. Bake at 350°F for 40-45 minutes or until tester inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Cut in slices and serve warm with a little low sugar orange marmalade.

Quick Apple Loaf

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups diced peeled apples
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup almond meal (flour)
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs or 1/2 cup egg substitute
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup skim ricotta
  • 1/4 cup butter or Smart Balance Blend for Baking, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1/2 cup sugar (plus 2 tablespoons for the top) or 1/4 cup Truvia for Baking (plus 1 tablespoon)

Directions:

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. and spray a 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Flour bottom of the pan.

Put the chopped apples in a bowl of warm water with a squeeze of lemon and let them sit while the other ingredients are prepared.

Whisk the eggs, butter, ricotta, vanilla and buttermilk together in one bowl.

Mix the dry ingredients together, including the cinnamon and salt in another bowl until combined. Gently mix in the buttermilk mixture.

Drain the apples in a colander and shake off excess water. Fold in the apples, do not over mix.

Fill the loaf pan and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar or 1 tablespoon Truvia. Bake on the middle rack for 45 minutes until golden on top and springy to the touch.

Test for doneness with a toothpick. Do not overcook, as the bread will continue to cook a bit more when you remove it. Remove and cool.

Honey Banana Bread

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup butter or Smart Balance Blend for Baking, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs or 1/2 cup egg substitute
  • 1 cup mashed ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts

Directions

Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and coat bottom with flour. Mix 1/2 cup flour, the whole wheat flour, oats, baking powder, nutmeg and salt in a medium bowl.

Combine the honey and butter in a large bowl of an electric mixer or use a hand mixer and beat until fluffy. Add the vanilla. Beat in the eggs one at a time.

Fold in the dry ingredients. Stir in the mashed bananas and the walnuts.

Spoon into the prepared pan. Bake at 325 degrees F. for 50 to 55 minutes or until a wooden pick comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove to the wire rack to cool completely.

Cranberry Pecan Bread

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup chopped cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 egg or 1/4 cup egg substitute
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup orange juice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan.

Combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. Add the cranberries and chopped nuts, stir to coat with flour.

Combine the egg, oil, orange juice and grated orange peel in another bowl. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake at 350 degrees F. for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let bread sit for 10 minutes and then remove from the pan and place on a cooling rack. Let cool completely before slicing.

 Choose Healthier Baking Ingredients

 Picture of Ultragrain All Purpose Flour

LightKing Arthur Whole Wheat Pastry Flour / Graham Flour - 3 lb.

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