Our Test Kitchen's Best Tips for Making Quick Bread
Baking a loaf of quick bread is an easy, delicious way to enjoy a homemade treat without putting in a lot of time. Here, you'll learn the basics of how to make quick bread. If your quick bread is too crumbly or falls in the middle, we've got some troubleshooting tips for you as well.
Quick bread favorites such as banana bread, blueberry muffins, and zucchini bread are actually a cinch to bake. But what is considered a quick bread, anyway? It's simply bread that is baked with baking soda and/or baking powder as leavening agents rather than yeast. Since there's no yeast, you don't have to wait to let the dough rise, therefore making it a quick bread. In order to achieve a perfectly moist, delicious loaf, use our Test Kitchen's tried-and-true tricks on how to make quick bread with ease. Once you've got the steps down, you'll want to make fresh quick bread loaves, muffins, and scones to go with your morning cup of coffee all the time. From there, follow our quick bread troubleshooting tips if something doesn't turn out right.
How to Make Quick Bread
Step 1: Grease the Pan
Even if your loaf pan ($6, Walmart) is nonstick, grease it to ensure the quick bread dough bakes evenly and doesn't stick. Use a clean pastry brush to lightly spread vegetable shortening over the bottom and slightly up the sides (about ½ inch) of the loaf pan. The ungreased portion allows the bread to maintain its height as it rises.
Test Kitchen Tip: Always grease pans with shortening unless the recipe specifies butter. Shortening is all fat, but butter has some water in it, which might cause sticking.
Step 2: Prepare Your Recipe
Combine the ingredients necessary to make your chosen quick bread. (Our zucchini bread or pumpkin bread recipes are favorites.) If you're new to making quick breads like banana bread, the recipe will have you prepare the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients separately. Be careful not to overmix the batter once you combine the two bowls—too much mixing can make your loaf heavy and uneven.
Step 3: Check for Doneness
Take a quick look at your loaf 10 to 15 minutes before the minimum baking time. If it is browning too quickly, cover it loosely with foil. Remove the foil once you have placed the baked loaf on a cooling rack.
Test Kitchen Tip: The center is the last part of a quick bread to cook. Insert a wooden toothpick near the center; if it comes out clean, your loaf is done. The very center will firm up while the bread is cooling.
Step 4: Cool Bread
Let the loaf rest 10 minutes on a cooling rack so the bread can set up before it's removed from the pan. Run a spatula ($7, Bed Bath & Beyond) or butter knife between the pan sides and the loaf to loosen the loaf. Invert the pan to remove the baked bread. Allow quick bread to cool completely on a wire rack ($15, Target) before storing in an airtight container or bag.
Storing Quick Breads
Store wrapped quick bread at room temperature for up to three days. Keep it in the fridge if there are dairy products or meat in the recipe. For more info, check out our full guide on storing or freezing muffins and quick bread.
Test Kitchen Tip: Unlike some breads that are best served warm from the oven, quick bread loaves actually improve with age. Wrap your quick bread in plastic wrap and let it stand at room temperature overnight. The quick bread's texture will be more evenly moist and crumbly. Plus, they're also easier to slice.
Tips for Quick Bread Loaves and Troubleshooting Guide
Is your loaf of quick bread too crumbly, dry, or dense? Keep these quick bread tips in mind when making your next batch of muffins, scones, corn bread, or another loaf.
- What to do if your quick bread is tough: After adding the liquid mixture to the flour mixture, stir the ingredients just until they are moistened. If you stir out all the lumps, your loaves will have peaks, tunnels, and a tough texture.
- How to make quick bread rise more: As mentioned in step one above, only grease the bottom and slightly up the sides of the loaf pan (about ½ inch). The ungreased portion allows the bread to maintain its height.
- How to keep quick bread from crumbling: As much as you want to dive right into that banana bread, letting your quick bread rest overnight (as noted in the storage tips above) really does help prevent it from crumbling.
- When your quick bread is browning too fast: Check the bread 10 to 15 minutes before the baking time is completed. Cover with foil if it is browning too fast.
- When your quick bread cracks on top: Don't consider this a failure! This is a common characteristic of quick bread as it sets in the oven but continues to rise through the baking time.
- If the texture of quick bread is soggy and it sinks in the middle: This is likely caused by too much liquid in proportion to the dry ingredients, insufficient leavening, the batter stood too long before baking, or it's underdone.
- When your quick bread has too much fat and leavening, it will have a coarse texture. Too much sugar will give you a thick, dark brown crust. Too much leavening will result in a bitter (baking powder) or soapy (baking soda) aftertaste.