Make It Quick!

Quick breads are breads that are prepared with leavening agents such as baking soda or powder, rather than yeast. As a result, the bread does not have a long rising time. These breads can vary widely in texture and flavor, from light and fluffy to extremely dense, and they can be sweet or savory.

Banana breads and similar loaf breads like zucchini bread are quick breads, as are muffins, pancakes and waffles. Typically, a recipe will include flour, butter or oil, and leavening, but it can also include sugar, ingredients like fruit and vegetables, and liquids. Low-fat quick breads often use applesauce instead of fat, and they tend to be lighter in texture.

There are a number of different ways to prepare quick bread. One of the most common ways involves mixing the wet ingredients and dry ingredients separately, and combining them at the very end. The ingredients are stirred until they just come together, and then the resulting dough or batter is quickly baked.

Quick bread can also be made with the creaming method, where butter and sugar are beaten together before wet and dry ingredients are added. With biscuits, shortening is cut into the dry ingredients. In all cases, the ingredients should not be worked too much, as the dough can get hard and tasteless if it is handled too much.

Quick bread is great if you are an inexperienced baker as most recipes are simple and forgiving like ours below.

Cranberry Orange Quick Bread

1 cup fresh cranberries
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons grated orange zest
1 1/2 cups plus 1 teaspoon flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup honey
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with baking spray; line bottom of pan with parchment paper. Coat paper with baking spray as well.

Combine cranberries, sugar, zest and 1 teaspoon flour in a bowl, and toss well. Sprinkle bottom of pan with cranberry mixture.

Combine flour, cornmeal, and baking powder in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Combine honey and the remaining ingredients in a bowl, stirring well, and add honey mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until combined. Scrape batter into prepared pan over cranberry mixture. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack.

Place a plate upside down on top of bread; invert bread onto plate. Remove parchment paper. Cool and serve.

Almond Quick Bread

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cup sugar
4 tablespoons canola oil
8 ounces almond paste
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon almond milk or rice milk
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with baking spray.

Combine flour and baking powder, stirring well with a whisk. Place granulated sugar, oil and almond paste ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well combined. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition; beat in vanilla. Beating at low speed, add flour mixture and 1/2 cup almond milk alternately to batter, beginning and ending with flour mixture; beat just until combined.

Scrape batter into prepared pan; sprinkle with sliced almonds. Bake for 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool on wire rack.

Place confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl. Add remaining 1 tablespoon almond milk; stir with a whisk until smooth. Drizzle glaze over top of bread; let stand until set.