Daring Baker’s challenge Feb 2012

I completed this challenge almost 2 weeks back and I have made the bread atleast 4 times now. I completely love this recipe! It is so easy to make and the results are stunning and different each time as you can change it so easily. And you can make whatever your heart feels like or add variations to the recipe depending on what ingredients you have at home. I love such versatile recipes as you can make a completely different dish by just making a few tweaks to the original recipe.

The Daring Bakers’ February 2012 host was – Lis! Lis stepped in last minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own. She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites and encouraged us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles.

I guess it’s more of a monthly routine for Sheela and me to get together and bake every daring baker’s challenge. So we did meet again online and we made a couple of variations on the recipe. I made two kinds of muffins; oat blueberry muffin and orange cranberry muffin. They were awesome and healthy as I substituted half the all purpose flour with oat flour. And Sheela made Banana Walnut Bread and she substituted 1/3rd of the all purpose flour with oat flour. After a couple of days I also tried a savory version of the quick bread; a beer bread with cheddar cheese and fresh herbs. I have listed all three recipes below. And once again a big thank you to Lis for the awesome instructions for the challenge. This recipe is a keeper!

And now let’s get to the recipes. I have also added a primer at the end of the blog which was very handy and helped me bake the perfect quick bread, so I thought I should share it with everyone too. And we must thank Audax for this. As usual he came up with such wonderful pointers that make it difficult for you to make any mistakes.

Basic Quick Bread (add blueberries or cranberry and orange peel for the two variations I made)

makes 12 muffins

  1. 1 cup (240 ml) (125 gm/4.5 oz) all-purpose (plain) flour
  2. 1 cup (240 ml) (125 gm/4.5 oz) oat flour
  3. 1/2 cup (120 ml) (112 gm/4 oz) granulated sugar
  4. 1/2 cup (120 ml) (112 gm/4 oz)
  5. 1 teaspoon (5 ml) (5 gm) baking soda
  6. 1/2 teaspoon (2½ ml) (3 gm) fine sea salt or table salt
  7. 1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk or soured milk*
  8. 1 large egg
  9. 1/4 cup (60 ml) mild- or non-flavored oil, like canola
  10. 1 teaspoon (5 ml) flavored extract, such as vanilla or almond
  11. 1 cup blueberries (for blueberry muffins)
  12. 1 cup dried cranberries + peel from one orange (for orange cranberry muffins)
* To make soured milk, combine 1 cup milk (240 ml) with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) vinegar or lemon juice and let sit for 10 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to moderate 350ºF/180ºC/gas mark 4. Line a muffin pan with paper cups.
  • In large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking soda and salt to combine. Make a well in the center and set aside.
  • Lightly whisk (butter)milk, egg, oil, and extract to combine. Pour into well and stir until just mixed into a batter. The batter will be lumpy and may still show a few streaks of flour.
  • Now add the cranberries / orange peel / blueberries into the flour mixture and gently fold it in.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.

Beer Batter Bread with Cheddar Cheese and Fresh Herbs

Makes one 9″ x 5″ loaf
  1. 3/4 cup (240 ml) (100 gm/3½ oz) chopped coriander
  2. 1/4 cup mint leaves (chopped)
  3. 1.5 cups (720 ml) (420 gm/15 oz) all-purpose (plain) flour
  4. 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
  5. 3 tablespoons (45 ml) (45 gm/1½ oz) granulated sugar
  6. 2 teaspoons (10 ml) (10 gm) baking powder
  7. 1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) salt
  8. 1 cup (240 ml) (115 gm/4 oz) grated sharp cheddar cheese
  9. One (12 fl oz/355 ml) (about 1½ cups) bottle beer (such as amber ale)
  10. ¼ cup (60 ml) (55 gm/2 oz) butter, melted and divided
  • Preheat oven to moderately hot 375F/190C/gas mark 5. Spray 9″ x 5″ (23 x 13 cm) loaf pan with cooking spray.
  • Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl; make a well in the center of the mixture. Add coriander, mint, cheese, and beer. Stir just until moist.
  • Spoon batter into prepared pan. Drizzle evenly with 2 tablespoons of butter. Bake for 35 minutes.
  • Brush with remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Bake an additional 23 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

Banana Walnut Bread

Makes 1 – 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf

  1. 1/2 cup (55 grams) toasted walnuts coarsely chopped
  2. 1 cups all-purpose flour
  3. 3/4 cup oat flour
  4. 1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
  5. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  6. 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  7. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  8. 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  9. 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  10. 3 ripe bananas(approximately 1 pound or 454 grams), mashed well (about 1-1/2 cups)
  11. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place oven rack to middle position.
  • Butter and flour (or spray with a non stick vegetable/flour spray) the bottom and sides of a 9 x 5 x 3 inch (23 x 13 x 8 cm) loaf pan.
  • Place the nuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 – 10 minutes or until lightly toasted. Let cool and then chop coarsely.
  • In a large bowl sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • In a medium-sized bowl combine the mashed bananas, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, lightly fold the wet ingredients (banana mixture) into the dry ingredients until just combined and batter is thick and chunky.
  • Fold in the nuts.  Scrape batter into prepared pan and sprinkle the top of the bread with coarse brown sugar (optional).
  • Bake until bread has risen and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 to 65 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool and then remove the bread from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature. Can be covered and stored for a few days, or frozen for longer storage.

Quick bread primer

  • Quick breads can be sweet or savory, they are a modern innovation they became common after the introduction of baking powder and baking soda.
  • Baking powder is a combination of acid and alkaline that reacts together when moistened to form gases that raises the baked quick bread. Usage 1 to 2 teaspoons per cup of flour.
  • Baking soda (an alkaline salt, sodium bicarbonate) is used when the liquid is acidic, such as buttermilk, honey, molasses, tomato sauce etc. Usage . to 1 teaspoon per cup of acidic liquid.
  • Be sure your baking powder and baking soda are fresh.
  • Measure ingredients accurately, using the measuring tools and techniques suggested.
  • Preheat the oven to the correct baking temperature. Arrange racks so that the bread will bake in the center of the oven which has the best heat distribution in the oven.
  • To allow for good air circulation while baking, leave at least 1 inch of space between pans and between pans and sides of oven. Switch pan positions and rotate pans halfway through baking.
  • The two top secrets to moist, tender quick bread is 1)in the mixing always use a quick light technique so you don’t over-mix the batter 2) don’t over-bake since this cause dryness in the final baked product. .
  • Quick breads can be created by the following methods:
  • Muffin (or the two-bowl) method – The dry and wet ingredients are kept separate and then are combined quickly and gingerly by adding the wet to the dry, and folding the two together with only a few strokes. The idea is to not over-mix, basically moistening the ingredients and leaving the batter slightly lumpy, with wisps of flour showing (even small lumps are fine) so as not to overdevelop the gluten in the flour which will keep the bread tender. An over mixed batter creates tough and rubbery muffins/quick breads. Since over-mixing will cause “tunnels” ¡V holes where the air bubbles can escape ¡V which will make the quick bread tough.
  • Creaming method – The butter and sugar are beaten and creamed together until smooth and fluffy. Next, the egg and liquid flavoring are added to the butter and sugar mixture. The dry ingredients and other liquids are folded in last. This method is best when baking cakes since a lot of air pockets are added into the mixture. Folding in the ingredients creates even more air pockets to keep the cakes light and fluffy.
  • Cutting in method – The chilled fat is cut into the flour. The fat results in a flaky texture since the fat melts while in the oven. This method is best used when baking biscuits, scones or pie crusts.
  • Depending on the recipe and the type of quick bread, there are also three different types of batter:
  • Pour Batter – This type of batter has a dry:liquid ratio of 1:1. Because there is so much liquid in this type of batter, the result is very moist and dense.
  • Drop Batter – This batter has a dry:liquid ratio of 3:1. This batter will result in a moist but fluffy baked good
  • Stiff Dough – This batter has a dry:liquid ratio of 7:1 This batter will result in a very light and fluffy baked good.
  • Lower gluten flours are best to make quick breads you can replace 4 tablespoons in each cup of all-purpose flour with cake flour in most recipes or replace 2 tablespoons in each cup of all-purpose flour with corn flour (cornstarch) if you wish to lower the gluten levels of your flour.
  • Flour should be sifted to aerate it which gives more rise therefore a lighter crumb to the final baked goods.
  • Add fruit, nuts, etc. after lightly combining the wet and dry ingredients. Then give the batter one more light-handed stir and you’re done. Is the batter still thick and lumpy? That’s exactly what you want
  • If you’re adding dried fruit, try soaking it first. This will moisten the fruit, make it tender and juicy, and also preserve the bread’s moisture. Don’t sprinkle dried fruit on top of quick bread before baking, as it will burn before the loaf is done.
  • To lower the fat, for example, you can substitute some (or all) of the oil with an equal amount of almost any fruit puree (apple sauce, plum baby food, pumpkin puree, mashed bananas).
  • Glaze your baked quick breads for a nice finishing touch and burst of flavor. Make a simple mixture of confectioners’ (icing) sugar and a little milk or fruit juice. Try orange and lemon juices, for their fragrant, tart zing; add curls of zest for extra color and flavor.
  • For most quick mix recipes as a general rule – less butter and sugar in a recipe makes it more bread-like, while more butter and sugar produces something closer to cake.
  • To prevent moist quick breads from spoiling, let them cool completely after baking. Then wrap them tightly in foil or plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 3 days. If your bread is made with cheese, cream cheese or other perishable foods, it should be refrigerated
  • Quick breads such as banana, zucchini and cranberry slice and taste best when served a day after baking. Wrap the cooled bread in foil or plastic wrap; leave at room temperature overnight. Others like cornbread and coffee cakes are best served warm.
  • The quick bread is done if a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. If it is not done, test again in a few more minutes.
  • Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, unless recipe directs otherwise. Turn loaves out onto a wire rack to cool. Most quick bread should be cooled completely before slicing to prevent crumbling.
  • Using a sawing motion, cut loaves with a thin sharp knife. Use a serrated knife for quick breads that have fruits and/or nuts.

  1. Audax Artifex says:

    WOW you did three version and a muffin that is marvellous. I adore the flavour profile especially the banana version and thank you for the kind words. It is always nice to bake with a friend. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  2. Neha says:

    Just finished making a batch of Blueberry muffins and could not wait to pop one in. So easy and taste delicious!! :) Thank you Shilpa…

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