These yeast-free breads are a fast solution for the holidays
Biscuits, scones, muffins and even pancakes fall into the quick bread category, and we often find the word "tea" in the title -- think banana tea bread. (Tribune file)
Biscuits, scones, muffins and even pancakes fall into the quick bread category, and we often find the word "tea" in the title -- think banana tea bread. And nuts often are an addition. Date and nut bread is a classic.
Tradition aside, you could choose zucchini bread, a quick loaf dense with grated zucchini and chopped pistachios. Or try lemon bread, a light loaf reminiscent of an old-fashioned pound cake. When it's glazed with a sweet-tart lemon syrup, it's a colorful way to brighten up a party. To prevent crumbling, and for easier slicing, make these breads a day ahead.
Quick bread tips
The key to making quick breads is using a light hand. Don't overmix the batter.
"While in most yeast breads you want to develop gluten in order to get a tough crust and chewy crumb, in quick breads you want to retard its development to keep the bread nice and light," writes Mark Bittman in "How to Cook Everything."
When you see no more dry bits of flour, the mixing is done; don't worry about remaining lumps, he suggests. Here are more tips:
Quick bread recipes are easy to double; then just freeze the extra loaf for later. It will keep, tightly wrapped in foil or food storage bags for up to 3 months.
Fresh fruit such as berries should be lightly coated with flour before they are folded into the batter. This prevents them from sinking to the bottom of the loaf.
The breads can be baked in a square baking pan instead of a loaf pan, if you like. Or try them in an oven-safe cast-iron skillet.
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 55 minutes
Makes: 1 loaf
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon each: baking soda, cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder