As their name suggests, quick breads are just that-fast and very easy to make. Quick breads range from pancakes to tender, flaky biscuits to moist, rich, berry or nut breads.
Quick-acting baking powder rather than slower-acting yeast is the leavening agent for quick breads. It consists of an acid, such as cream of tartar, and an alkali, such as baking soda, which react with one another in the presence of moisture to form a gas. In batter or dough this gas forms tiny bubbles that expand quickly, creating the structure of the quick bread. To be sure it is always fresh, purchase only a small quantity of baking powder at a time.
Use shiny pans and cookie sheets, which reflect heat, for golden, delicate and tender crusts on muffins, coffee cakes and nut breads.
Grease only the bottoms of muffin cups; muffins will then be nicely shaped and have no rim around the top edge.
Grease only the bottoms of loafpans for fruit or nut breads. The ungreased sides provide a surface for the batter to cling to while rising during baking, which helps form a gently rounded top.
Cool nut breads completely before slicing to prevent crumbling. Cut with a sharp, thin-bladed knife, using a light sawing motion. A bread knife is best for this.
Quickbreads pair well with clotted cream, butter, jams and jellies, or honey.