Quick bread is any bread made with leavened baking powder or baking soda. It’s made in a loaf pan, which differentiates it from a cake, although many cakes can be identified as quick breads.
The term “quick bread” most probably originated in the United States at the end of the eighteenth century. The discovery of chemical leavening agents dates back to 1846 with the introduction of commercial baking soda in New York, by the Arm & Hammer Company. In 1856 baking powder was introduced by a number of companies.
During the American Civil War, the demand for portable and quickly-made food was high, while skilled bread bakers were scarce. This encouraged baking breads that were rapidly made and were leavened with baking soda instead of yeast. Quick bread soon became a staple throughout the United States.
To prepare quick bread, you usually need two mixing containers. One contains all the dry ingredients (including baking powder or soda) and one contains all the wet ingredients that will mix with the leavener to produce air in the bread.
Quick breads do not require any special skill or knowledge of yeast temperatures and times, so anyone can quickly become an expert quick bread baker. They’re also a great way to use up the flour remaining in your pantry before Pesach.
Blueberry Quick Bread
1 stick butter or margarine
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 4 lemons)
3/4 cup heavy cream or coconut milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs
6 ounces blueberries (1 1/4 cups)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 4” x 9” loaf pan with baking spray and then flour.
Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves and syrup is thickened, about 4 minutes. Let stand while making cake.
Meanwhile, combine heavy cream or coconut milk, remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and the vanilla in a bowl. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in another bowl.
Beat butter, lemon zest, and remaining cup sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low, and add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in flour mixture in three additions, alternating with cream mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Gently fold in blueberries using a spatula.
Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of each comes out clean, about 50 minutes.
Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool, and brush top of cake with lemon syrup. Let stand for 20 minutes. Turn out cake from pan, and brush all over with remaining syrup. Let cool completely on wire racks.
Marble Quick Bread
8 ounces (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 cup milk or pareve milk
1/4 cup heavy cream or topping
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9” by 4” inch loaf pan with baking spray with flour.
Sift flour and baking powder into a medium bowl. Melt 5 ounces chocolate in a heat-proof bowl, set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth.
Cream butter or margarine with sugar in the mixer, until pale and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl. Mix in eggs, one at a time. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two batches of milk. Mix until just combined.
Pour half of batter into melted chocolate; stir well. Alternating between remaining plain batter and the chocolate batter, drop large spoonfuls of batter into the prepared pan. When pan is filled, use a table knife to cut through mixture with a swirling motion.
Bake until a cake tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour. If bread browns too quickly, tent with foil. Let bread cool slightly in pan on a wire rack, about 10 minutes. Turn out of the pan and let cool completely on rack.
Make ganache: Put the remaining 3 ounces chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat cream or topping in a small saucepan over medium heat until just about to simmer. Pour cream over chocolate; stir until mixture is smooth. Let stand 10 minutes to thicken slightly. Using a small offset spatula, spread ganache over cooled cake; let stand until set, about 1 hour.