A quick bread
is a type of bread
which is leavened
with chemical leaveners such as baking powder
, sodium bicarbonate
, or cream of tartar
. Unlike yeast
breads which often take hours to rise and can vary greatly based on external factors such as temperature, breads made with chemical leaveners are relatively uniform, reliable, and quick. Many common foods are quick breads including banana bread
, and soda bread
Almost all quick breads have only five basic ingredients: flour, baking powder (and/or baking soda), eggs, fat (butter, margerine, shortening, or oil), and milk (or another liquid). Everything beyond these basic ingredients is for variation in flavor and texture. The type of bread produced is variable based predominantly on the major flavoring, the method of mixing, and the ratio of liquid in the batter.
There are three basic methods for making quick breads; the quick-bread method, the creaming method, and the biscuit method. These three methods combine the rise of the chemical leavener with advantageous lift from other ingredients.
- The quick-bread method also known as the "Blending Method" calls for measurement of dry and wet ingredients separately, then quickly mixing the two. Often wet ingredients will include beaten eggs which have trapped air for added rise. Usually mixing is done using a tool with a wide head such as a spoon or spatula to prevent the dough from becoming over beaten and deflating the egg's lift.
- The creaming method is frequently used for cake batters. The butter and sugar are creamed, or beaten together, until smooth and fluffy. Eggs and liquid flavoring mixed in, and finally dry and liquid ingredients are added in. The creaming method combines rise gained from air pockets in the creamed butter with the rise from the chemical leaveners. Gentle folding of the final ingredients is important to prevent destroying these pockets.
- The biscuit method is a technique which is used for biscuits, scones, and pie crusts. This method cuts chilled fat (whether lard, butter, or shortening) into dry ingredients using a food processor, pastry blender, or fork. The layering from these process gives rise and adds flakiness as the folds of fat melt during baking.
Aside from mixing methods, quick breads also vary widely in the consistency of their dough or batter. There are three main types of quick bread batter: pour batter, drop batter, and stiff dough. Pour batters have a dry:liquid ratio of 1:1 and is the most moist type of quick bread batter. Drop batters have a dry:liquid ratio of 3:1. Stiff dough, being the stiffest, has a ratio of about 7:1.
- Cook's Illustrated (2004). The New Best Recipe. America's Test Kitchen. ISBN 0-936184-74-4 (USA)