The Daring Bakers' February 2012 host was – Lis! Lisa stepped in last minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own. She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites and encouraged us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles.
I was in the mood for something savory, not sweet (crazy, I know!) so I went with the green onion, cheddar & asiago beer batter bread! Everything came together quickly and easily, and the smell of the bread baking in the oven was magnificent! I used a slightly smaller loaf pan (8.5" x 4.5") and that did not seem to affect the baking time much.
Thanks Lis, for hosting this month's challenge. You'll find the recipe below - be sure to read all the tips/notes below the recipe, as there is some useful information on quick breads there. Also be sure to check out the Daring Bakers' Blogroll to see how everyone else enjoyed the challenge.
Green Onion, Cheddar & Asiago Beer Batter Bread
Makes one 9” x 5” (23 x 13 cm) loaf
Adapted from Recipe Girl’s Cheddar Chive Beer Batter Bread
1 tablespoon (15 ml) oil
1 cup (240 ml) (100 gm/3½ oz) sliced green (spring) onion
3 cups (720 ml) (420 gm/15 oz) all-purpose (plain) flour
3 tablespoons (45 ml) (45 gm/1½ oz) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (10 gm) baking powder
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) salt
1 cup (240 ml) (115 gm/4 oz) grated sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup (120 ml) (2 oz) grated Asiago cheese
One (12 fl oz/355 ml) (about 1½ cups) bottle beer (such as amber ale)
¼ cup (60 ml) (55 gm/2 oz) butter, melted and divided
- Preheat oven to moderately hot 375°F/190°C/gas mark 5. Spray 9”×5″ (23 x 13 cm) loaf pan with cooking spray.
- Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add green onion and sauté 3-4 minutes or until tender. Cool to room temperature.
- Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl; make a well in the center of the mixture. Add onion, cheeses, and beer. Stir just until moist.
- Spoon batter into prepared pan. Drizzle evenly with 2 tablespoons of butter. Bake for 35 minutes; brush with remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Bake an additional 23 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.
- Quick breads can be sweet or savory, they are a modern innovation they became common after the introduction of baking powder and baking soda.
- 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 (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.
- Be sure your baking powder and baking soda are fresh.
- Measure ingredients accurately, using the measuring tools and techniques suggested.
- 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 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. .
- Quick breads can be created by the following methods:
Creaming method – The butter and sugar are beaten and creamed together until smooth and fluffy. Next, the egg and liquid flavoring are added to the butter and sugar mixture. The dry ingredients and other liquids are folded in last. This method is best when baking cakes since a lot of air pockets are added into the mixture. Folding in the ingredients creates even more air pockets to keep the cakes light and fluffy.
Cutting in method – The chilled fat is cut into the flour. The fat results in a flaky texture since the fat melts while in the oven. This method is best used when baking biscuits, scones or pie crusts.
- Depending on the recipe and the type of quick bread, there are also three different types of batter:
Drop Batter: This batter has a dry:liquid ratio of 3:1. This batter will result in a moist but fluffy baked good.
Stiff Dough: This batter has a dry:liquid ratio of 7:1 This batter will result in a very light and fluffy baked good.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- Glaze your baked quick breads for a nice finishing touch and burst of flavor. Make a simple mixture of confectioners' (icing) sugar and a little milk or fruit juice. Try orange and lemon juices, for their fragrant, tart zing; add curls of zest for extra color and flavor.
- For most quick mix recipes as a general rule – less butter and sugar in a recipe makes it more bread-like, while more butter and sugar produces something closer to cake.
- To prevent moist quick breads from spoiling, let them cool completely after baking. Then wrap them tightly in foil or plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 3 days. If your bread is made with cheese, cream cheese or other perishable foods, it should be refrigerated.
- 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.
- 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.
Bread sticks to pan. Unless you're using high-quality non-stick metal or silicone baking pans, you should always grease the pans before you pour in the batter. The best thing to use for greasing the pan is shortening, because its melting point is higher than any other kind of fat, which helps maintain a "shield" between pan and batter while the bread is baking. A high-quality cooking spray--one that won't bake on to your pans and discolour them--is also a fast, easy fix. You can also prevent sticking by removing the bread from the pan sooner: let the bread cool for at least twenty minutes in order to set (Bundt loaves should cool twice as long) before inverting the pan.
There are big holes and "tunnels" in the bread, and/or the bread is tough. These problems are usually caused by over-mixing.
There's a big crack down the middle of the quick bread loaf. Don't worry--it's normal for quick breads. The crack on top happens when top of the loaf "sets" in the heat of the oven before the bread is finished rising. Drizzle the loaf with icing or dust with confectioners' (icing) sugar.
My blueberry muffins look green! By reacting with the alkaline baking soda, the blueberries' pigments can turn green. Toss the berries with the flour mixture before combining the ingredients; the coating should help. If you're using frozen berries, don't thaw them before using them.
The bread looks done on the outside but it's still raw in the middle. This is one of the most common quick bread problems, and it can be caused by a few different factors. The oven temperature could be too high. (Use an oven thermometer to check: they're cheap and available at most supermarkets.)
Try lowering the oven temperature and/or putting a loose tent of foil over the top of the bread so it won't burn before the middle has time to catch up.
Another cause of "raw center" syndrome could be using a different pan than the recipe calls for. One of the nice things about quick breads is that you can use the same batter to make muffins, mini loaves, jumbo loaves, or rounds. But each size requires different baking times--and some require different baking temperatures. The larger and thicker the loaf, the longer it's going to take to bake. If you're using a different size pan than your recipe calls for, adjust the baking time accordingly and check the bread often.