Whether you're new to baking or a seasoned veteran, quick breads are the way to go when you want easy but still comforting and delicious baked goods fast. Biscuits, coffee cakes, pancakes and muffins are all quick breads. Unlike breads made with yeast that require time to ferment, they get their rise from chemical leaveners like baking powder and/or baking soda, so there's no waiting around before they're ready for the oven.
Quick breads are mixed using one of these three methods: biscuit, muffin or creaming. The results from each technique will determine the texture and crumb of your finished product, so familiarize yourself with them and get your quick breads right, every time.
Biscuit method: Want to practice making your own pie crusts? Start with biscuits first. They use the same technique of cutting cold butter into the flour, but use more liquid and a chemical leavener to tame the temperament of pastry. After the butter is cut in, the quick bread is kneaded briefly, usually about 10 times. The result is a dense, flaky bread to slather with jam.
Try this method out with any of these recipes:Cranberry Pistachio Biscuits
Quick Cheese Biscuits
Muffin method: Also known as the quick-bread method, it doesn't get much easier than this. Muffins, pancakes, waffles and cornbread are often made this way. The liquid and dry ingredients are mixed separately before being whisked together briefly. There will still be lumps, but that's okay, they disappear during cooking. The result is a drier product with similar qualities to yeasted bread. Perfect for drowning in syrup!
Practice this method out with any of these familiar favourites:
Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
Blueberry Yogurt Muffins
Morning Glory Muffins
Best-Ever Whole-Grain Pancakes
Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Berry Compote
Double Chocolate Chip Waffles with Bananas and Strawberry Coulis
Cheddar and Sage Skillet Cornbread
Green Onion Quick Bread
Creaming method: If you like your muffins moist and cake-like, look for recipes mixed this way. The butter and sugar are creamed together first before the eggs are added, one at a time. The flour and liquid get added last and the recipe usually suggests you do this in batches, alternating between the two in small amounts so the flour gets incorporated without aggressive mixing. The result is a moist coffee cake, muffin or loaf with a light structure and fine-texture crumb. Master this method and you'll soon have the skills to attempt a more involved cake.
Here are some recipes to get you started: