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What is Quick Bread?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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Quick breads are breads that are prepared with leavening such as baking soda or powder, rather than yeast. As a result, the bread does not have a long proofing and rising time, like yeast breads. These bread can vary widely in texture and flavor, from light and fluffy to extremely dense, and they can be both sweet and savory. The recipes also tend to perform very dependably, making them a great starter for people who are just learning how to cook.

The leavening in quick bread expands as the bread as baked. As a result, it often has a less complex flavor than yeast bread, because the dough does not ferment at all. Dense breads like biscuits may be very lightly leavened, while others, such as pancakes, may be mixed with eggs as well to create a fluffy texture. Just as with yeast breads, the recipes vary immensely, and once cooks learn the basics, they can expand upon them for more creative and unique results.

Banana breads and similar loaf breads like pumpkin or zucchini bread are quick breads, as are muffins, biscuits, pancakes, waffles, and similar foods. Typically, a recipe will include flour, salt, fat (shortening, butter, or oil), and leavening, but it can also include sugar, ingredients like fruit and vegetables, and liquids. Low fat quick breads often use oils as fats, sometimes replacing part of the oil with applesauce or similar ingredients, and they tend to be light in texture as well as flavor. Higher fat examples may be very dense and rich, as is the case with many banana breads.

There are a number of different ways to prepare quick bread. One of the most common ways involves mixing the wet ingredients and dry ingredients separately, and combining them at the very end. The ingredients are stirred until they just come together, and then the resulting dough or batter is quickly baked.

A bread can also be made with the creaming method, where butter and sugar are beaten together before wet and dry ingredients are added. With biscuits, shortening is cut into the dry ingredients. In all cases, the ingredients should not be worked too much, as the dough can get hard and tasteless if it is handled too much.

Many cookbooks have a section set aside just for quick breads, as do recipe exchange sites. Since they are dependable, fast, and fun to make, they are great choices for baking exploration and experimentation. These recipes also come in handy during a cooking emergency, such as an unexpected potluck or social event.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By orangey03 — On Nov 10, 2012

It is hard to find a savory zucchini bread recipe that doesn't include cheese. I ate this type of bread at a restaurant once, and I fell in love with it.

Because I couldn't find a cheeseless recipe, I had to go with a slightly sweet version. It calls for a grated zucchini, half a can of pumpkin, and seasonal spices like cloves, nutmeg, and allspice.

It's delicious either alone or topped with vanilla frosting. My husband likes to spread cream cheese on it.

The bread is very dense, and it does contain a lot of butter. However, I can't help but feel like I'm eating something nutritious because of all the vitamins in the pumpkin and zucchini.

By Perdido — On Nov 09, 2012

Pancakes are my favorite quick breakfast bread. My husband learned from his health nut sister that you can use applesauce instead of butter, or at least in place of most of the butter in the recipe.

The first time he made them, I didn't expect them to taste like regular pancakes. I was pleasantly surprised! They turned out even fluffier than they usually do.

Like regular buttery pancakes, they tasted great with maple syrup. Sometimes, he will add chopped strawberries or blueberries to them, making them even more nutritious and delicious.

By cloudel — On Nov 09, 2012

I didn't know that biscuits were considered a type of quick bread! I always thought they were a category all their own.

The biscuit recipes I have used look so simple and short. They are deceptively tricky, though. You have to find a way to knead the dough without handling it too much.

After you cut the shortening or butter into the flour, you add just enough milk to make everything stick together without making it too sticky to handle. Then, you have to mash it together with your hands to form a big lump.

You have to sprinkle it with more flour so that it won't stick to the rolling pin, and you must roll it out so that it has an even surface. Then, you cut the biscuits with a cookie cutter or the top of a drinking glass.

With all that handling, my biscuits usually turn out kind of bland. I don't know if I'll ever be able to master the art of making great biscuits!

By Kristee — On Nov 08, 2012

@GardenTurtle – That sounds so similar to my chocolate chip pumpkin pie bread. The only differences are that I use applesauce in place of oil and I add chocolate chips to the mix.

Using so many eggs makes the bread very spongy. I like this texture, and I think it complements the flavor of the pumpkin.

This is my favorite quick homemade bread recipe. It was a hit at the office, too. I take it to work with me several times during the holiday season.

By anon255942 — On Mar 20, 2012

Three cups of sugar does not sound like bread to me and even more than any cake I know of!

By medicchristy — On Nov 03, 2010

@calabama71: gardenturtle's recipe is really good. I use the same recipe but before I put the pans in the oven, I add slivered almonds to the top of the loaves. I

By GardenTurtle — On Nov 03, 2010

@calabama71: I have several different recipes for pumpkin bread but this one is the absolute easiest one I have ever made. It is a big hit in my family. I usually make it for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. You need 3 loaf pans for this.

The ingredients are: 2 cups canned or cooked pumpkin, 1 cup oil, 3 cups sugar, 4 eggs, 3 ¼ cup flour, 1 tsp. Baking powder, 1 tsp. Baking soda, 1 tsp. Cloves, 1 tsp. Nutmeg, 1 tsp. Cinnamon, and 2 tsp. Salt.

You start by sifting together the dry ingredients. Mix the pumpkin, sugar, oil, and beaten eggs in a bowl and then stir it in the flour mixture. Divide between the 3 loaf pans and bake at 350 degrees for approximately an hour.

By calabama71 — On Nov 03, 2010

My husband wants me to make some pumpkin bread and I don't even know where to start. I found one recipe but it had tons of ingredients and didn't look like anything that an amateur chef could pop out! Does anyone have a fairly simple recipe for it?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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