Recipe Review: Quick Bread by  Fine Cooking

Fine Cooking Quick Bread

Get the Quick Bread Recipe from Fine Cooking Here.

The concept of quick bread was a foreign to me until November 2013. I never had quick bread while growing up and even as I transitioned into adulthood. Initially, i thought quick bread was an actual bread with a lesser rising and kneading time.

I have a copy of the Oct/Nov 2013 Fine Cooking magazine and this was an interesting read. However, I was captivated by the quick bread recipe on page 69. Reading about quick breads, I came to realize that they were more like cakes than bread. Even more intriguing was that this recipe was said to be easily customizable and very adaptable.

The best part about this recipe is that the best quantities of add-ins are available for reference. This helps to prevent the use of too many add-ins.

I have tried the recipe as it was written. I also tried it using other substitutions and numerous add-ins depending on what I had available at home. Here are the results from making this recipe different ways.

  • Using the recipe as directed
  • Reducing the quantity of flour in the recipe
  • Including dry add-ins
  • Using wet add-ins
  • Adding Spices and aromatics
  • Substituting  melted butter with oil
  • Using margarine instead of melted butter

Fine Cooking Lemon and Cranberry Quick Bread
Using the recipe as is

 First of all, this quick bread recipe is easy to follow.  It involves putting all the dry items in a bowl and mixing the wet in a separate bowl. After which, you mix  the wet and dry ingredients. I have yet to experience a mishap with this recipe (I lied, once I mistakenly added baking soda instead of powder and had to throw away the quick bread).

The quick bread recipe from fine cooking produced a moist and flavourful quick bread that I enjoyed. This bread was soft and dense. It is necessary to note that it has neither airy nor tender texture that a very good vanilla cake or madeira cake possesses. The absence off the creaming in this recipe also eliminates the situation where you can whip air into the batter to provide a lighter textured bread. The melted butter this recipe calls for can be tasted alongside the other flavours that you can use with this batter.
After baking the recipe as directed, the results I got were was nice but I was in love with the crunchy top of this quick bread even without extra toppings. I do not like a sticky top on my baked goods so the crisp top was a welcome feature of this quick bread.

Reducing the quantity of flour in the recipe

The quick bread fine cooking recipe calls for 2 cups of flour. However, I have baked this recipe numerous times using 1 ¾ cups of flour to reduce the denseness of this bread. The quick bread made using a smaller quantity of flour was not as dense. However, I prefer the texture of the quick bread made with the recommended quantity of flour

Including dry add-ins

This recipe is incredibly versatile and allows for a cup or more of dry add-ins. I have added dried fruit as well as baking chips and the results were the same.  The batter of this recipe is thick enough to allow for the suspension of add-ins when baking. My add-ins did not sink while baking.

Adding spices and aromatics

 This recipe is a simple one that can be described as a quick bread canvas. This recipe carried the flavor of the spices I added quite well. Because of how well it is carries flavors, it is very important to be careful when mixing in spices to avoid a cinnamon/nutmeg overload situation. I have tried using other extracts apart from vanilla and the result was a flavorful quick bread.

If you want to flavor your quick bread with spices and aromatics other than vanilla, know that the melted butter used in this recipe also flavors this quick bread and could cause a clash of flavors. If you do not mind the flavor of the butter then feel free to use this recipe as it is and proceed to add your aromatics.
Furthermore, if for some reason you cannot use butter, you can use melted margarine. It does not have the flavor of butter but still bakes the same way as the quick bread made with butter. Using margarine allows you to have a cleaner base (taste-wise) for the introduction of new flavors.

Using wet add-ins

One of the high points in this quick bread recipe is the ability to customize this recipe using dry/wet add-ins . I have used mashed bananas in this recipe (sticking to the recommended quantity). This already dense bread was made even denser because of the addition of the bananas.
My taste testers did not appreciate this addition. I knew this because the banana quick bread stayed on the cake plate for days after the initial tasting.

 If you do wish to make use of wet add-ins, I would recommend using half of the suggested quantity to prevent the quick bread from being overly thick.  I will not be using any wet add-ins to this recipe again.

Subtituting melted butter with oil

On a whim, I decided to use oil instead of melted butter. I will never do that again. As is a general rule when using oil to bake, I used a flavorless oil and knew that I would need to makeup for the lack of the flavor the butter provides somehow. To make a more flavorful bread, I used 1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract in this recipe.
After baking, the first thing I noticed was that the quick bread did not rise as much as the quick breads baked with melted butter or even margarine.

The second thing I noticed was that the flavor was ‘off’. When I took the first bite, I felt like something tasted wrong. Eventually, I came to realize that the only thing that was ‘off’ was the flavor. Despite my increasing the quantity of vanilla extract the recipe called for, my quick bread had a very flat flavor that even frosting could not redeem.

Overall Observation

This quick bread recipe was lovely. I enjoy it and recommend it for a brunch item. I recommend adding  some lemon or orange zest. Using a reduced amount of flour will give you a lighter bread that cannot support the weight of dry add-ins. For a cake that can hold fruits or add-ins, bake exactly as directed.

I hope that I have been helpful. If you have a recipe you think that I should try, leave a link in the comment section below. I would also love to hear your experience with this recipe.

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