tips and techniques

Tips and techniques for making quick breads and muffins

  • The amount of flour needed for breads can vary. This is why you will see in some bread recipes 2-3 cups of flour. Well which is it? It all depends upon how much moisture the flour already contained. Also, it depends on how the flour was handled and stored both before and after it was purchased and on weather conditions.  Flour keeps best in a cool dry place.  We store ours in the freezer, but bring to room temperature when it is ready to bake.
  • If you do not have muffin tins, use cupcake liners placed inside regular canning jar rings to hold them in place. Place these on a cookie sheet.  You can also make jumbo sized muffins with these and larger mouth rings.  If you need to make many muffins, this is an excellent way to get many done at one time.  
  • To test for done ness on a quick bread or muffin, insert a toothpick into the center and pull it out.  If it is clean, than your bread is done.  If it is still gooey, than cook for a few more moments and then test again.
  • To lower the fat in your recipe for muffins or quick bread,  you can substitute some of the oil with an equal amount of almost any fruit puree (applesauce,  pumpkin puree, mashed bananas) 
  • Muffins and quick breads freeze well.  Take a day, and make a bunch to put in your freezer for when unexpected guests stop by or you want a quick and easy treat for the day.  
  • Muffins will release from pans more easily without tearing if allowed to cool a few minutes in the pans before removing.  For nicely shaped muffins that don’t have a rim around the top, do not grease the sides of the muffin tins.  Grease only the bottoms.
  • Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.  Freeze for up to 3 months.  Place completely cooled loaves in freezer bags or containers and then freeze.
  • Avoid getting rims around the edges of quick bread loaves by greasing the baking pans on the bottom and only 1/2 inch up the sides.
  • Check the bread 10-15 minutes before the baking time is completed.  Cover with foil if it is browning too fast.
  • Don’t consider yourself a failure for a cracked top.  That is a common characteristic of quick breads.
  • Arrange your oven racks for the middle of the oven to ensure even heat flow.
  • Most quick breads should be baked shortly after dry ingredients and liquid ingredients are combined because the leaveners will begin producing gas once they are moistened. If allowed to stand too long before baking, the bread may have a sunken center.
  • 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.
  • Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then turn on it’s side to help remove it.  Cool completely before slicing to prevent crumbling.
  • Many quick bread and muffin recipes call for buttermilk.  That is not usually a common ingredient in the refrigerator.  You can easily substitute this by mixing milk and vinegar.  For every 1 cup of buttermilk that you need, add 1 Tablespoon of vinegar and enough milk to make one cup.  Some older recipes may call for “sour milk”  you can substitute the milk and vinegar for this as well.