Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Quick Breads

I explained the basics of baking yeast breads in a previous post. Today, I’d like to discuss alternative methods of leavening, which is the process wherein bread yeasts consume sugars and produce carbon dioxide which creates light, airy loaves. 

Quick breads usually operate without yeast, often substituting a chemical leavening agent such as baking powder and/or baking soda to generate a similar result. Chemical leaveners require an acid to activate, which is why quick bread recipes will include sour cream, yogurt, buttermilk, or even vinegar.

Below are three quick bread recipes I enjoy making and eating.

I first saw a version of this recipe on an episode of Jamie's Quick & Easy Food, so with that in mind, please read the following in a British accent.

Flatbread cooking in heirloom cast iron.


  • 3 heaping tablespoons self-rising flour
  • 3 tablespoons yogurt
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. In a bowl, mix the flour and yogurt. Add the salt and the olive oil.
  2. Place the dough on a well-floured cutting board and fold until it’s workable and not too sticky to the touch.
  3. Divide in half and roll each piece into a ball, adding more flour as necessary.
  4. By hand, flatten into rounds between ½ and ¼ inch thick.
  5. Place in a cast iron or non-stick pan and cook on medium-high heat about two to three minutes per side.
  6. Let rest on a cooling rack.

This next recipe is an annual custom in our household. My wife makes a traditional corned beef dinner for St. Patrick's Day, and I’m usually responsible for the bread. We don’t add the currants or raisins, but we will add caraway seeds if we have them on hand. While the recipe originally called for all-purpose flour only, we usually use half all-purpose and half whole-wheat, which gives the bread a subtle nutty flavor that pairs well with the caraway seeds.

Traditional Irish soda bread, still warm from the oven.


  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoon caraway seeds
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups buttermilk


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Blend the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Gently fold in the butter. Stir in the caraway seeds.
  3. In a smaller bowl, beat together the egg and buttermilk. Add to the flour mixture and mix only until blended.
  4. Pour into a lightly greased loaf pan and bake for 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for another 35 to 40 minutes.
  5. Let rest on a cooling rack.

Scones may be one of, if not the, oldest quick breads. They can certainly be one of the most basic, and are extremely versatile with a number of both sweet and savory varieties.

The variation in butter and sugar are based on what additives (see below) are being included with the basic scone recipe. For a good neutral scone, try starting with 4 tablespoons of butter and 2 of sugar, adjusting later batches as desired. I generally go with more butter and less sugar.

There are many options for additives to scones, such as:
  • 1 to 1½  cups of dried fruit
  • 1 cup of nuts
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of lemon or orange zest
  • 1 cup of grated cheese
  • 1 cup of chopped ham or sausage
  • herbs and spices
  • an almost infinite variety of flavors and textures.

This batch of scones was made with dried cranberry and cashews. I should have added additional flour as they spread out more than I expected on the baking sheet.

Cranberry cashew scones on a cooling rack.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 to 8 tablespoons butter at room temperature
  • 0 to 8 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 to 1¼ cups buttermilk


  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large bowl, blend the dry ingredients.
  3. Cut in the butter until the mixture has the consistency of coarse breadcrumbs
  4. Stir in the buttermilk, but for no more than 20 seconds
  5. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured board and knead gently 8 to 10 times, adding more flour as needed.
  6. Tear off chunks of dough or scoop out large spoonsful and arrange them on a well-greased cookie sheet.
  7. Turn the oven down to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Larger scones take a longer time. They should be just starting to brown when you take them out.
  8. Let rest on a cooling rack.

So there you are: three very different quick breads to nourish your spirit as well as your body. Eat well!

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Fine Print

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Creative Commons License

Erin Palette is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.