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definitions - Quick bread

quick bread (n.)

1.breads made with a leavening agent that permits immediate baking

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Quick bread

Quick bread
Place of origin United States
Type Bread
Main ingredient(s) Flour, leavening agent

Quick bread is a type of bread which is leavened with leavening agents other than yeast. Quick breads include many cakes, brownies and cookies, as well as banana bread, beer bread, biscuits, cornbread, muffins, pancakes, scones, and soda bread.[1]



"Quick bread" possibly originated from the United States of America at the end of the eighteenth century. Before the creation of quick bread, baked goods were leavened with either yeast or by mixing dough with eggs.[2] During the American Civil War, the demand for food was high. Thus, bread was rapidly made and leavened with baking soda, instead of yeast.[3] Hence the name "quick bread".

  Leavening process

During the chemical leavening process, agents (one or more chemicals—usually an acid and a base) are added into the dough of baked goods. These agents undergo a chemical reaction to produce carbon dioxide, hence increasing the pastry's volume and producing shape and texture.[4] Yeast breads often take hours to rise. The baked good's outcome texture can vary greatly based on external factors such as temperature. However, breads made with chemical leaveners are relatively uniform, reliable, and quick. Usually, the resulting baked product is softer and lighter.

Examples of such agents include baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) plus an acid, such as cream of tartar, lemon juice or cultured buttermilk, to elicit an acid-base reaction that releases carbon dioxide. (Quick Bread leavened specifically with sodium bicarbonate is called soda bread). Baking powder can also be used as it contains an acid and a base and simply needs a liquid medium in which to react.[4] Other leavening agents are egg whites beaten to form stiff peaks as in the case of many waffle recipes, and steam, in the case of cream puffs. Nevertheless, in a commercial process, designated chemical leavening acids and bases are used to make gas production consistent and controlled.[4] Examples of Acid Base Combinations include:[1]

Leavening Acids Leavening Bases
Citric Acid Potassium Bicarbonate
Tartaric Acid Ammonium Bicarbonate
Glucono delta-lactone (GDL) Sodium Bicarbonate

Almost all quick breads have the same basic ingredients: flour, leavening, eggs, fat (butter, margarine, shortening, or oil), and liquid such as milk. Ingredients beyond these basic ingredients are included for variation in flavor and texture.[5] The type of bread produced is variable based predominantly on the method of mixing, the major flavoring, and the ratio of liquid in the batter. Some batters will be thin enough to pour, and others will be thick and consequently be dropped.

  Mixing methods

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 muffin method, also known as the quick-bread method, blending method and stirring method. This method is for pancakes, muffins, corn bread, dumplings, and fritters.[6] It 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, causing the product to rise. In these recipes, the fats are liquid, such as cooking oil. 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.[7]
  • 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 are 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 prevents destroying these pockets.[8]
  • The biscuit method or shortening method is a technique which is used for biscuits, scones, and pie crusts. This method cuts chilled fat (whether lard, butter, or vegetable shortening) into dry ingredients using a food processor, pastry blender, or two forks.[9] The layering from these process gives rise and adds flakiness as the folds of fat melt during baking. Confusingly, while this technique produces "shortened" cakes and breads (regardless of whether the chosen fat is vegetable shortening), shortbread cookies are made with the creaming method, and strawberry shortcake recipes may use any of these three methods.

  Dough consistency

Quick breads also vary widely in the consistency of their dough or batter.[10] There are four main types of quick bread batter: pour batter, drop batter, soft dough and stiff dough.

  • Pour batters, such as pancake batter, have a liquid to dry ratio of about 1:1 and so pours in a steady stream.
  • Drop batters, such as cornbread and muffin batters, have a liquid to dry ratio of about 1:2.
  • Soft doughs such as many chocolate chip cookie doughs, have a liquid to dry ratio of about 1:3. Soft doughs stick significantly to work surfaces.
  • Pie crust and sugar cookie doughs are considered stiff doughs and are easy to work in that they will only minimally stick to work surfaces including hands. Stiff doughs are produced with a ratio of approximately 1:8 liquid to dry ingredients.

  See also


  1. ^ a b "Chemical levening" (PDF). http://www.univarcanada.com/pdfdoc/food/Leavening_Sept05.pdf. Retrieved March 16, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Quick Breads". http://www.foodreference.com/html/fquickbreads.html. Retrieved March 12, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Quick Breads" (PDF). Archived from the original on December 21, 2011. http://web.archive.org/web/20101221195621/http://wheatfoods.org/_FileLibrary/Product/43/Quick%20Breads.pdf. 
  4. ^ a b c Lai, H. M., & Lim, T. C. (2005). Bakery products. In Y. Hui (Ed.), Handbook of food science, technology, and engineering (pp. 9-11). Boca Raton: CRC Press
  5. ^ Gillespie, Gregg R. (1998). 1001 Muffins, Biscuits, Doughnuts, Pancakes, Waffles, Popovers, Fritters, Scones, and other Quick Breads. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers. p. 9. ISBN 1-57912-042-3. 
  6. ^ http://www.tpub.com/content/administration/14163/css/14163_188.htm
  7. ^ Brown, A. (2011). Understanding food: Principles and preparation. (p. 408). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
  8. ^ http://www.quakeroats.com/cooking-and-recipes/content/baking-101/quick-breads/mixing-bread-dough.aspx
  9. ^ http://chestofbooks.com/food/recipes/American-Woman-Cook-Book/Methods-Of-Mixing-Quick-Breads.html
  10. ^ http://www.mahalo.com/quick-bread/


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