Q. What makes a quick bread quick? — Oscar, Appleton
A. Quick breads are what most people would consider dessert breads or muffins, and also can include such items as biscuits, cakes, brownies, scones, pancakes, cornbread and even cookies.
Quick breads are typically made either into loaves or muffins that are leavened by either chemical leaveners like baking powder or baking soda, instead of yeast or eggs. Because of this more delicate leavening process, the basic fundamental in the preparation of quick breads is to avoid over-mixing them. Over-mixing can cause a variety of problems including toughness of the finished product due to the over-development of gluten, and tunneling which is where elongated holes are created from the leavening agents.
A quick bread is named “quick” for several reasons. First, quick breads are indeed quick to put together. Typically, all that needs to be done is to measure the dry ingredients into one bowl, the wet ingredients into another bowl and then gently combine them together. Another reason for naming these items quick breads is that, unlike yeast, the leaveners used in these items act very quickly when activated. Quick breads are an excellent choice when a product needs to be prepared in a hurry. You may be familiar with a baking mix brand on the market named “Jiffy” whose name certainly implies quick.