Quick Bread 101 – Date and Carrot Bread

Sawsan shares one of her favorite quick bread recipes along with a few basic technical notes to guarantee your success in making quick bread every time.
By Sawsan Abu Farha

When I first started blogging I was really surprised to find that everyone was calling sweet baked cakes bread. Where I come from sweet breads are all classified as cake. It was very confusing at first to see a recipe baked in a loaf pan,being called bread and then the same recipe baked in a cake pan is called cake. To make things even more confusing, bake it in a loaf pan and it’s breakfast and good for you. Bake it in a cake pan and it is dessert and it is the enemy.

Slowly it became evident that it is really a labelling issue, some people call it bread, others call it cake. Kind of like the scone biscuit debate. Whatever you decide to call them, quick breads (a.k.a. cakes) are a wonderful companion for the afternoon tea, the sweet ending to a meal or the perfect way to start your day.

Today I will be sharing one of my favorite quick bread recipes along with a few basic technical notes to guarantee your success in making quick bread every time.

Chemical raising agents : What makes quick bread “quick” is the use of baking powder and baking soda as opposed to yeast to raise the bread.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 on the other hand  (an alkaline salt, sodium bicarbonate) is used when the liquid is acidic, such as buttermilk, honey, molasses, tomato sauce etc. Usage ½ to 1 teaspoon per cup of acidic liquid. You need to make sure that  your baking powder and baking soda are fresh.

The oven: 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 flour: 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.

Fruits and nuts: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.Toss the nuts and fruits in a little dry mix to coat them (this tip prevents the nuts and dates from sinking to the bottom of the pan)

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).

  • 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
  • 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.
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Date and carrot bread and quick bread 101
 
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Bake it in a loaf pan and it’s breakfast and good for you. Bake it in a cake pan and it is dessert and it is the enemy. Whatever you decide to call them, quick breads (a.k.a. cakes) are a wonderful companion for the afternoon tea, the sweet ending to a meal or the perfect way to start your day.
Author:
Recipe Type: dessert
Ingredients
  • 2 cups (256gm) flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup (250 ml)milk
  • ½ cup (118ml) oil
  • ½ cup (201 gm) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 gm)baking powder
  • 1 cup pitted chopped dates
  • ½ teaspoon (3 gm) cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon (5 gm) cinnamon
  • 1 medium carrot grated
  • ½ teaspoon (3 gm) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla
  • ½ cup (114 gm) walnuts
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F(180 C)
  2. Center your oven rack
  3. In the food processor beat the eggs with the vanilla then add the eggs and oil.Beat till the color turns pale
  4. Add the milk and beat till combined
  5. In another bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and cardamom.
  6. Toss the nuts and dates in a little dry mix to coat them (this tip prevents the nuts and dates from sinking to the bottom of the pan)
  7. Slowly add the flour mix to the wet mix and whisk to combine.
  8. Add the nuts and dates and fold gently into the mix
  9. Pour the batter into a greased and floured pan, bake for 30-45 minutes(Ovens vary greatly, the cake is done when a knife inserted in the center comes out clean)

Sawsan Abu Farha

Passionate food explorer Sawsan Abu Farha lives in Jordan and enjoys mixing east and west in her kitchen aiming to get the best of both worlds.Juggling work, motherhood, blogging and a passion for food and food photography, she shares her journey in her blog "Chef in disguise".

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4 Comments
  1. Where I come from, sweet (quick) breads are also called cakes (or not made at all). After seeing many recipes coming by, in my understanding the difference between both is the fat content. Usually for cakes a substantial amount of butter (or a fat cream) is used, while in sweet breads oil/milk/yoghurt/fruit puree is used. Because of the lower fat content and the higher fruit content sweet breads are regarded as more healthy (i.e. an excuse to eat cake as breakfast).
    And of course, there is still the labelling issue, because not everyone uses this way of distinguishing cakes and sweet quick breads….

  2. Thank you! I knew a person from a largely Muslim land would have a great date recipe! And good to clarify the nomenclature. Salaam.

  3. Again, thanks! I forgot to rate using the stars. So here you go, 5 stars. This even works with my very old, dried up dates.

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