5 Secrets for Successful Quick Breads

Before you dive into that new recipe you've been eyeing up, learn how to make quick bread bakes even better with a few simple tips.

Many of the most comforting bakes come fresh from the oven in a loaf pan. No, not a basic homemade bread, but homey favorites like banana bread, lemon loaf or zucchini bread.

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.

Don’t Overmix

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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.

Start Baking These Quick Bread Recipes

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Lisa Kaminski
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.