What Is a Quick Bread?

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Modern life is becoming more fast-paced, and we all find ourselves short on time from time to time. We’d all want to cook and bake like our grandmothers, but the demands of our modern lives sometimes prevent us from doing so.

Fortunately, this faster-paced contemporary culture has brought with it answers to some of our issues, as well as the development of new traditions that are appropriate for the way we live, cook, and eat today.

Quick bread is one of these options. Although the term seems self-explanatory, it may signify various things in different settings. A fast bread is, at its most basic, a form of bread or baked item that is easy to create and bake.

This might include non-leavened breads like flatbreads, which need just flour, water, and salt in their most basic form and can be cooked in a couple of minutes.

However, there is a more particular definition of fast bread, and it is this variety that we will cover in this post. Specifically, a baked item that does not employ yeast or eggs to leaven the dough or batter, but instead relies on food-safe chemical leavening agents for aeration and rise.

Because these leavening agents work quickly, there is no need to wait or ferment the dough or batter before baking it.

This description encompasses both sweet and savory goods, including everything from traditional bread to cakes, biscuits, and cookies.

It is a baking method that has evolved with our modernization, and it has come to both speed up the production of classic forms of baking and open the door to many new and exciting alternatives.

History of quick breads

What Is a Quick Bread?

Bakers have depended on eggs or yeast in some form or another to leaven their goods for thousands of years.

It might take hours for the yeast to proliferate, ferment the dough, and create enough carbon dioxide to aerate and drive it to rise. It was also an imprecise science, capricious and sensitive to its surroundings.

Temperature and humidity, for example, may have a significant impact on the pace and quality of fermentation. Inconsistent outcomes may also be caused by variations in the quality of the components, therefore the same product may change from day to day or at various seasons of the year.

This all changed in the middle of the nineteenth century, with the invention of baking soda and eventually baking powder. These are chemical leaveners that react in a dough to create carbon dioxide, the same gas that yeast produces in a yeasted dough.

The benefit was that they produced gas immediately after the reaction began, reducing waiting time significantly by removing the requirement for fermentation.

They not only sped up the baking process, but they also generated more consistent results. Because they are synthetic chemicals rather than biological organisms, their effect can be more readily regulated, and bakers may expect consistent and dependable results every time.

Furthermore, since the gas was no longer required to be held inside the dough for a significant amount of time, a strong gluten structure was no longer required, reducing the time spent combining and kneading even further.

Our baking culture has been irreversibly affected by the invention of artificial leavening agents and the popularity of fast breads.

While many bread loaves are still leavened with yeast (there are notable outliers), sweet products such as cakes, cookies, and biscuits are now almost exclusively produced using the quick bread process for the reasons indicated below.

Quick bread vs. yeasted bread

What Is a Quick Bread?

While the promise of speed and efficiency is appealing, the fast bread process has both benefits and cons, with an improvement in speed frequently implying a loss in some other desirable quality.

As a result of this unavoidable tradeoff, certain baked goods are better suited to fast breads, while others benefit from a prolonged yeasted fermentation.

As previously said, quick breads have various benefits, including their speed and uniformity. They need less preparation ahead of time and are much less labor-intensive than leavened doughs.

Because environmental factors are less of a factor, consistent findings may be obtained throughout the year. They also enable for the creation of novel items by combining various flours and components, which would not be feasible with yeast.

However, yeast fermentation has benefits. Flour fermentation adds flavor to dough by breaking down starches into sugars and producing a variety of tasty organic by-products. It improves the availability of certain nutrients, making the food more healthy, and it may generate textures that fast bread cannot.

Because the reaction begins instantly in a fast bread but takes time to build up and mature in a yeasted bread, there is greater control and flexibility in the mixing process. In some instances, this may provide the baker additional control, enabling her to bake the bread at the optimal time.

When nutrition is a concern, and the majority of the taste will come from the flour itself, yeasted fermentation is preferable. This, together with its capacity to produce an extraordinarily airy rise in a dough with a dense gluten network, explains why it is still employed to make ordinary bread.

Cakes and cookies, on the other hand, which include tasty components like fats, sugar, and eggs, are ideal candidates for baking as fast breads.

Quick bread chemistry

Quick breads depend on the interaction of a weak base and a weak acid, which produces carbon dioxide in the presence of water. This carbon dioxide aerates the dough or batter, resulting in a porous structure with a light, often fluffy texture.

Sodium bicarbonate, potassium bicarbonate, and ammonium bicarbonate are examples of weak bases used as leaveners. Citric acid (in chemical form or as lemon or orange juice) and tartaric acid (cream of tartar) are examples of weak acids with which these might react.

Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, and when used as a leavening agent, it must be combined with an acid component to operate as a reactant. Baking powder, on the other hand, contains dried forms of both a weak base and a weak acid, requiring only the addition of moisture to initiate the reaction.

As a result, a starch such as cornstarch or potato starch is added to the mixture to function as a moisture absorber and to bulk out the liquid for simpler measuring.

Learn more about how common baking ingredients interact with one another.

Working with quick bread

When dealing with quick breads, keep in mind that the reaction between the reactants takes place as soon as they are combined in the presence of a liquid. There is a finite supply of these reactants, and if they are depleted, they will stop to manufacture any more carbon dioxide.

Because fast breads often lack a strong gluten structure, most of this gas will be wasted if the dough is not baked as rapidly as feasible.

As a result, many fast bread recipes recommend utilizing the two-bowl mixing approach, in which the dry ingredients (including the leavening agents) are weighed and combined in one bowl while the liquid components are weighed in another.

As a result, the two may be blended at the last minute, just before the oven is turned on. Recipes that depend on extra ingredients for rise, such as whisked eggs or creamed butter and sugar, may need preparing these components first and then gently incorporating them into the other dry ingredients.

Regardless of the technique employed, it is critical not to over-mix the dough or batter in order to keep as much of the gas within as possible.

Classic quick breads

Sweet banana bread and the Southern traditional cornbread are two popular fast bread recipes. Banana bread has a more cake-like texture, making it suitable for rapid bread baking. Because corn lacks gluten like wheat, it cannot be leavened with yeast like a wheat-based bread.

Soda bread is an excellent example of a more traditional wheat loaf that can be made fast utilizing baking soda as the leavening agent and buttermilk as the liquid acidic reactive.

The popularity of quick breads in baking has resulted in several excellent new items, expanding the options for both professional and amateur bakers alike.

However, you may be wondering whether there is a method to obtain the best of both worlds by fermenting a dough with yeast for taste and nutrition while also speeding it up and using its distinctive leavening activity with the use of artificial leaveners.

Yes, the answer is yes! English crumpets were created with the advent of baking powder, and they employ a yeasted dough for a general rise, with baking powder added at the last minute to produce a porous, spongy feel. Warm from the pan and smeared with butter, they’re a delectable, warming delicacy. You might like Is it possible to let bread rise for too long? (And what happens if it does?)

Get some crumpet rings and test them for yourself!


What defines a quick bread?

Bread that bakes quickly. a bread prepared using baking powder or baking soda that does not need to rise before baking.

What are examples of quick breads?

Many cakes, brownies, and cookies are quick breads, as are banana bread, pumpkin bread, beer bread, biscuits, cornbread, muffins, pancakes, scones, and soda bread.

What are the 3 types of quick breads?

Quick Bread Types
One of the most popular types of fast bread is banana bread.
Cornbread: This yeast-free bread complements any meal, particularly chili and other hearty cuisine.
Bread with soda: Soda bread derives its name from the baking soda that is used in the preparation.

What is a quick bread and why is it called that?

Quick breads are self-explanatory – they’re named that because they’re easy to create. Quick bread loaves and coffeecakes are leavened with baking powder or baking soda and need little to no kneading. Flavoring agents include fruits, nuts, cereals, vegetables, and spices.

What are the 4 types of quick bread?

Quick Bread Subcategories

Muffins, cornbread, and fast loaf breads (such as banana bread and zucchini bread) are examples of quick breads prepared using a batter. Biscuits and scones are examples of quick breads produced using dough.

Is a tortilla a quick bread?

4 Tortillas are a kind of fast bread.

Tortillas aren’t leavened, so they’re a quicker and simpler bread to prepare at home. A tortilla dish may be produced and cooked in less than an hour, but pita bread recipes take at least an hour for the yeast to proliferate and rise the dough.

Is a waffle a quick bread?

Everyday baked items that are fast breads include muffins, corn bread, biscuits, scones, and quick loaf breads (such as banana bread and fruit and nut breads). Pancakes, waffles, doughnuts, fritters, dumplings, short cake, and coffee cakes are all included in the fast bread group.

Is sourdough bread a type of quick bread?

The definition clearly states that it is a fast bread. So, even if you created a sourdough bread using baking soda and buttermilk, you couldn’t call it a fast bread until you baked it with little to no proving time.

What is not considered a quick bread?

If there are no chemical leavening ingredients present, such as baking powder, soda, or even cream of tartar, it is not a fast bread.

Is donut a quick bread?

Doughnuts (donuts) are classified into two types: yeast leavened and chemically leavened using baking powder. The ones created with baking powder are a form of fast bread that is easier to make and denser than the yeasted version.

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