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Quick Breads (How to Make Bread Really Fast)

Updated on September 18, 2015
FatBoyThin profile image

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I've been making bread for about a year now using a sour-dough method. I do like this way of producing bread as it feels kind of natural (flour and water combining together, releasing the natural yeast spores in the atmosphere etc).

However, the one thing I find a bit annoying is that it's so time consuming - to make a good quality loaf usually takes me 24 hours, since I leave the dough overnight, knead it again and leave it another few hours before baking.

So what do I do if I need a loaf quickly?

A quick bread loaf cooling its heels
A quick bread loaf cooling its heels | Source

Quick Bread

The thing I really like about quick bread (apart from the fact that it's quick) is that it's very easy to add extra ingredients. A handful of pine nuts or a bit of cheese can make all the difference, and if you're willing to take a few risks, there's a host of fascinating recipes out there in Bread World to discover for yourself.

I should point out that when I'm adding additional ingredients, I don't worry too much about measuring correct amounts - part of the fun of experimenting with bread-making is trying something and finding out if it works. So far, none of my breads has been disastrous (though a couple of them were a bit chewy).

Cook Time

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 35 min
Yields: Makes One Loaf (or two small ones)

Ingredients

  • 450-500 g Plain Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 400 ml/14 fl oz Milk or Buttermilk
Mixing it up
Mixing it up | Source

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 220C/425F/gas 7 (this is assuming you have a good oven - I don't, so I cook at 170C, which seems to work).
  2. Add the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda in a large bowl and mix together.
  3. Pour in the milk/buttermilk and mix with your hand. This can be a messy process so you might want to use a spoon. Empty the contents onto a well-floured surface, unless (like me) you prefer to use Olive Oil.
  4. Mix it quickly and don't overwork the dough. Shape your creation into a round.
  5. Lightly flour (or oil) a baking tray and place the dough in the middle of the tray.
  6. Cut a cross in the top of the dough (to help it rise) and pop it in the oven. It'll take 30-45 minutes to cook. It's a good idea to reduce the heat slightly after about 10 minutes and continue cooking until the loaf has a nice golden colour. Turn it over and give it a tap on the base. If it sounds hollow, it's done.
  7. Let the bread cool on a wire rack before eating with lots of butter and jam.
Celery, bell peppers or onion can make for an interesting loaf
Celery, bell peppers or onion can make for an interesting loaf | Source

Notes on the Ingredients

Flour

I like to use a combination of two types of flour - usually half wholemeal or whole grain and half plain or strong white flour. You'll notice I've suggested an amount between 450 and 500g - this rather depends on how you like your bread mix. I find the smaller amount makes for a very sloppy mix, though the final loaf is just as yummy, but if you prefer an easier (ie less sloppy) mix, go for the 500g.

Milk or Buttermilk?

As I've never tasted buttermilk, I've never used it in cooking, but obviously if you're partial to the stuff, feel free to chuck it in. (The chap in the video below uses buttermilk). For the record, I use the plain old semi-skimmed stuff and I've never had any complaints.

Extras

There's no real limit to what you can add to a quick bread loaf, and as long as you're willing to experiment, there's no reason why you can't try something different each time:

  • Cheese - 50-100g of your favourite cheese works well, though if it's a particularly strong flavour, you might want to hold off a bit.
  • Tinned tomatoes - these work quite well too, but be sure not to add more than about 200g (a standard tin is about 400g). Also, add less milk, otherwise you'll end up with a very sloppy mix.
  • Vegetables - I like 50g of thinly sliced celery, bell peppers or grated carrot.
  • Nuts - walnuts, pecans and pine nuts work well, though not all in the same loaf!


Cast your vote for Quick Breads

Have you tried making a quick bread before?

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    • FatBoyThin profile image
      Author

      Colin Garrow 19 months ago from Kinneff, Scotland

      Thanks for reading, Besarien, much appreciated. Yes, the yeasty taste takes a bit of getting used to which is why I also now make a lot of soda bread. I like the idea of naming your sourdough - I used to call mine 'The Mothership'.

    • Besarien profile image

      Besarien 19 months ago

      I had been trying for my own sour dough. My first wild yeast entity I called Breadwardo. He was very lazy, sluggish, and didn't have much flavor. I could never get a decent rise even after 24 hours. I gave up and chucked him. With an 1/8 of a teaspoon of regular baking yeast I was getting great rise in 18 hours. Not a sour dough flavor of course but pleasantly non-yeasty tasting. I also make soda bread which honestly I like just as well. I'm constantly amazed at how much variety one can get with very basic ingredients. Great hub!

    • FatBoyThin profile image
      Author

      Colin Garrow 22 months ago from Kinneff, Scotland

      Excellent news! Glad you took the time to try it - these little changes in our lives all help to make things better.

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 22 months ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Came back to tell you that I made it and it's sooo good! I baked it twice, in fact. The first try was with buttermilk and then I tried to mix buttermilk and 2% skimmed milk (half/half). Either ways, I'm not buying bread anymore; will be making it myself from now on.

      It was so good for breakfast with omelette and baked beans. Yum!

    • FatBoyThin profile image
      Author

      Colin Garrow 22 months ago from Kinneff, Scotland

      Excellent! It's so easy you'll want to make bread every day. Thanks for reading, CrisSp.

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 22 months ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      This is something I can definitely do! I have the ingredients in the pantry except for the bicarbonate, which I've never used before. Putting it on the grocery list and excited to bake it.

      Bookmarking this hub.

      Thank you.

    • FatBoyThin profile image
      Author

      Colin Garrow 2 years ago from Kinneff, Scotland

      Cheers, Larry - yes indeed, being able to spend less time making bread and more time writing has got to be a bonus. Thanks for reading.

    • FatBoyThin profile image
      Author

      Colin Garrow 2 years ago from Kinneff, Scotland

      Cheers, Larry - yes indeed, being able to spend less time making bread and more time writing has got to be a bonus. Thanks for reading.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Great tips for speeding up the process.

    • FatBoyThin profile image
      Author

      Colin Garrow 2 years ago from Kinneff, Scotland

      It is easy and it makes the possibilities of adding extra ingredients really simple too. Chuck in some cheese, or crushed walnuts, sultanas or raisins. Luvverly jubberly. Thanks for reading Mary, much appreciated.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      This sounds so easy! I've made bread before but had to go through the knead, rise, punch down cycle. Can't wait to try this. I love the smell of fresh bread baking.

    • FatBoyThin profile image
      Author

      Colin Garrow 2 years ago from Kinneff, Scotland

      Yeah, it takes bread-making to a whole new level. Thanks for reading, Robie.

    • Robie Benve profile image

      Robie Benve 2 years ago from Ohio

      This sounds great, I need to try it!!! I never make bread because it takes too long. Love the idea that it can be quick.

    • FatBoyThin profile image
      Author

      Colin Garrow 2 years ago from Kinneff, Scotland

      Thanks for reading, Robert - yes, bicarb is a lot easier to use than yeast, especially if you're hungry!

    • Robert Beyer profile image

      Robert Beyer 2 years ago from Seattle, Washington

      Your recipe is the first one i've seen that uses bicarbonate. Never thought of it. I always use yeast which the conditions have to be just so or else the yeast won't do its job. Thanks for the recipe I'll have to try it out as soon as I can.

    • FatBoyThin profile image
      Author

      Colin Garrow 2 years ago from Kinneff, Scotland

      Thanks Carb Diva - and cheers for the buttermilk tip (ya learn sumtin' new every day!)

      Thanks Chef-de-jour - that's what I like, just go with the feeling and see what we end up with. Thanks for reading.

    • chef-de-jour profile image

      Andrew Spacey 2 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

      I like the quick breads from time to time, you head off into the kitchen in a let's see what'll happen kind of mood and end up with a loaf on the rack, smelling beautifully.

      Share for the quick bread.

    • chef-de-jour profile image

      Andrew Spacey 2 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

      I like this method from time to time, where you suddenly hit the kitchen in a kind of let's see what happens kind of mood and before you know it there's a loaf on the rack and the most wonderful aroma floating around.

      My partner makes scones in double quick time too and they're always excellent.

      Votes up and a share. Thank you.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      I agree, quick breads are wonderful (almost instant) comfort food. One note about using buttermilk in lieu of plain milk--it is a bit more acid and so would give your dough more of a lift (the interaction of acid with the baking soda). If you don't have buttermilk, you might try adding 1 tsp. of cider vinegar to your milk and then let it sit for 5 minutes before using.

    • FatBoyThin profile image
      Author

      Colin Garrow 2 years ago from Kinneff, Scotland

      Thanks Bill - you should, it's sooo easy.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I do love fresh bread out of the oven. I'm pretty sure I'll be trying this in the coming weeks. Thank you!