Quick breads are a cinch to bake up because they skip the yeast in favor of easier-to-work-with leavening agents like baking soda and baking powder. But there are a few tips to keep in mind while you’re stirring up your next quick bread. Just use these simple techniques and you’ll be baking up loaves that everyone will adore.
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When stirring up quick bread recipes, it’s important not to overmix the batter once you’ve added flour. Instead, mix until the liquid and dry ingredients are just combined. And, yes, it’s OK to have a few small lumps leftover. What’s crucial is that you don’t overwork the flour.
Why? When you stir a batter with flour, it develops gluten which can cause your quick bread to be tough or unpleasantly chewy.
This might sound counterintuitive since developing gluten is the name of the game with yeasted bread recipes—it’s why you knead that dough—but be sure to go easy with stirring on quick bread.
Use the Right Size Pan
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Before you pour your batter into the pan, be sure that you’re using the right size loaf pan for your recipe. This will ensure that your loaf bakes as intended and that no batter overflows.
And yes, even small differences can have a big impact on your bake. For example, an 8×4″ pan holds four cups of batter and a 9×5″ pan holds eight cups. An inch here and an inch there doesn’t seem like much, but it could lead to a big mess in your oven if that smaller pan overflows.
To be safe, invest in a few loaf pans and always be sure to measure before you bake. Keep a tape measure or ruler handy in your kitchen!
Coat Mix-Ins with Flour
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So many quick bread recipes call for stirring in some delicious extras like nuts, fruit or chocolate chips. If you toss these heavy ingredients right into the batter, you’ll find they sink to the bottom of your loaf once baked.
To prevent these mix-ins from sinking and to ensure even distribution, you just need to complete one simple step: toss the mix-ins in flour. Take whatever additions you’re incorporating into the batter, toss them in a few tablespoons of flour and then stir into the batter. It takes 30 extra seconds but ensures a more successful quick bread.
Cool Before Glazing
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Just like with cake, you want to wait until your bread is cool before adding any sort of glaze or frosting. If you ice while the cake is warm, the icing will soak right into the loaf or just slide off completely.
As hard as it is, exercise a little patience and you’ll end up with a gorgeous quick bread to share.
Slice the Right Way
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As tempting as it is, resist the urge to cut into a loaf of quick bread right from the oven. Slicing warm quick bread will cause it to crumble and you won’t get clean slices.
Instead, wait until the bread has cooled, then slice with a sawing motion using a serrated knife. This kind of knife is especially useful when your bread is full of fruit or nuts. It cuts through these extras without tearing them from the loaf.
Of all the quick breads we had growing up, this beautiful lemon blueberry bread is the best! The citrus glaze adds a lustrous finish and locks in moisture. —Julianne Johnson, Grove City, Minnesota
Ever wondered "what is quick bread?" We have the answer for you!
Meals are even more memorable when I compliment them with this light zucchini bread with pineapple. The zucchini makes it so moist and tender...and the pineapple lends a delicate tropical twist to every delicious slice. —Shirley Boulet, Whitefield, New Hampshire
Instead of sprinkling with cinnamon sugar before baking, you could also add your favorite streusel topping to make this bread more like coffee cake. I like to serve it warm with applesauce. — Donna Goutermont, Sequim, Washington
I'm asked to bring this savory loaf to nearly every function I attend. It's great as a side dish, but if you're in the mood for an extraordinary sandwich, start with two slices of beer bread. —Betsy King, Duluth, Minnesota
A friend gave me this cornbread recipe several years ago, and it's my favorite of all I've tried. I love to serve the melt-in-your mouth cornbread hot from the oven with butter and syrup. It gets rave reviews on holidays and at potluck dinners. —Nicole Callen, Auburn, California
This simple bread is especially good with soups and stews, but slices are also tasty alongside fresh green salads. The herbs make it a flavorful treat any time of the year. —Donna Roberts, Manhattan, Kansas
This recipe stars one of our state’s crops. Topped with an easy orange glaze, slices of the moist bread make a sweet snack
to enjoy anytime. —Sweet Potato Festival Committee, Vardaman, Mississippi
(Get recipes for more types of sweet bread!)
As a busy health-care professional and mom, one of the most meaningful gifts I give to the people I love is my time and skills in the kitchen. I have been baking since I was 7 years old and while I still am an avid baker, raising three children, caring for three dogs and working full-time leaves me with little energy! My family appreciates all my efforts and this is a favorite extra "gift" I give people for special events like a housewarming or welcoming a new baby. It is especially good toasted with butter. —Krystal Horudko, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada
Flecks of zucchini give a third dimension to the popular lemon and poppy seed combination in this moist quick bread. My family loves this lemon zucchini bread at all times of the year.—Field Editor Carol Funk, Richard, Saskatchewan.
I've been making these tasty breadsticks that go with almost any meal for years. Since they use ingredients like flour, sugar, baking powder and milk, it's convenient and inexpensive to mix up a batch. —Nancy Johnson, Connersville, Indiana
After learning of gluten and dairy sensitivities in our family, I knew I had to re-create our favorite sweet bread. This gluten-free bread can be made using a premixed gluten-free flour or your own homemade blend. We use coconut milk to make it dairy-free, but any type of milk works! —Courtney Stultz, Weir, Kansas
My delicious quick bread is comforting in the afternoon with a cup of tea, served toasted in the morning for breakfast, or as a midnight snack. Morning, afternoon or evening, this is always a treat! —Mary West, Marstons Mills, Massachusetts
We love quick breads, and I've found that they freeze nicely if properly wrapped. This is a scrumptious recipe to make before the holidays and freeze for last-minute guests or gifts. —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas
I’ve been baking for over 50 years and I never get tired of trying new recipes for my family, friends and co-workers. Baking actually relaxes me. I feel like an artist creating a masterpiece of love. This savory loaf makes a great gift. —Paula Marchesi, Lenhartsville, PA
Tart berries, crunchy nuts and sweet chocolate are simply scrumptious when mixed together in this easy quick bread. Sometimes I'll top it off with an orange-flavored glaze. —Donna Smith, Fairport, New York
Socca is a traditional flatbread from Nice, France. It's a common street food, cooked on a grill and served in a paper cone, usually chopped and sprinkled with salt, pepper or other delicious toppings. Bonus: It's gluten free. — Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
While cinnamon swirl bread is a natural for breakfast, we love it so much we enjoy it all day long. This is a nice twist on traditional cinnamon swirl yeast breads. —Helen Richardson, Shelbyville, Michigan
When our tree branches are loaded with ripe and juicy fruit, I treat my family and friends to lots of easy pear recipes. I always receive raves and requests for this particular pear bread recipe because of the mix of fun ingredients.—Linda Patrick, Houston, Texas
This loaf has a rugged, textured look that adds to its old-fashioned appeal. The mild Parmesan flavor nicely complements the zucchini, which adds bits of green color to every tender slice. —Christine Wilson, Sellersville, Pennsylvania
My family hops out of bed on Valentine’s Day because they know I’m baking this quick bread for breakfast. They’re major chocoholics, and the easy bread always hits the spot. —Angela Lively, Conroe, Texas
I came across these loaves in a local newspaper about 10 years ago, and I still make this pumpkin banana bread recipe on a regular basis. It conveniently yields a number of mini loaves, making gift-giving easy. —Linda Wood, Roanoke, Virginia
My neighbor gave me this recipe, and I love that it makes two loaves. We usually eat one and then give the other away or freeze it for later. The glaze complements the bread perfectly. —Heather Frese, Albany, Missouri
We had a lot of family get-togethers while I was growing up. My grandmother, aunts and mom were all good cooks, and each had her own specialty when it came to bread. Mom's was my favorite—she created this recipe more than 40 years ago. The flavors call to mind the taste of cornbread stuffing! —Shirley Smith, Yorba Linda, California
My aunt brought her tea bread recipe with her from Scotland, and enjoying a fresh-baked loaf has become a family tradition during the holidays. Each slice is loaded with red cherries. —Kathleen Showers, Briggsdale, Colorado
I got this apple quick bread recipe a long time ago and with a few changes it's become one of our favorites. Everyone who's ever tasted this apple bread has asked for the recipe! —Phyllis Herlocker, Farlington, Kansas
This quick bread is a family favorite, so I always try to have ripe bananas on hand for this recipe. I'm sure your family will love this tasty, nutty bread as much as mine does. —Susan Jones, La Grange Park, Illinois
While these loaves may be small, they have a big rich flavor. The macadamia nuts make them a special treat with tropical flair. Plus, they're so pretty with the toasted coconut topping. —Kim Gilliland, Simi Valley, California
This cranberry bread is tender and moist. The first time I made it, it immediately became a favorite for the fall and winter holidays. The tart cranberries complement the sweet chocolate so well.—Jessica Hornaday, Nampa, Idaho
This is authentic ciambellotto, a sweet loaf my great-grandmother used to bake in Italy. I still use her traditional recipe—the only update I made was for using modern appliances. —Denise Perrin, Vancouver, Washington
On this westernmost ridge of the Appalachians, we get abundant rain and sunshine, which allows our children to grow a super sweet corn crop. With staggered plantings, there is enough to eat from mid-July through August, plus plenty to freeze for the long winter. This cornbread is just one way we use some of the bounty! —Anne Wiehler, Farmington, Pennsylvania
I received this recipe as part of a gift, along with a lemon thyme plant and a fresh loaf of this pound cake-like bread. Everyone who tries it asks for the recipe. —Jeannette Mango, Parkesburg, Pennsylvania
Lisa is an editor at Taste of Home where she gets to embrace her passion for baking. She pours this love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. Lisa is also dedicated to finding and testing the best ingredients, kitchen gear and home products for our Test Kitchen-Preferred program. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.