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 adapted a recipe for Apricot Cranberry Bread from King Arthur Flour. Instead of a whole cup of dried cranberries, I used a half cup dried cherries and a half cup of Craisins. I substituted orange extract for the orange oil/zest and eliminated the nuts and nutmeg. The crust was crisp and sweet and the abundance of fresh dried fruit provided deliciousness with every bite. The undertones of orange and cinnamon were not overwhelming, but complementary to the dried fruit; this Apricot Quick Bread was just delightful.
Here are a few tips for making quick breads:
- Quick breads can be sweet or savory, and 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 are 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.
Apricot Quick Bread…adapted from King Arthur Flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon orange extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup dried apricots*, diced
Stir in the flour, then add the milk 1/4 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. Gently mix in the dried fruit.
Spoon the batter into the loaf pan. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the bread from the oven, and let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan to cool completely on a wire rack.
Basic Quick Bread
Recipe from Sara Schewe
1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm/8 oz) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (5 gm) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (2½ ml) (3 gm) fine sea salt or table salt
1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk or soured milk*
1 large egg
1/4 cup (60 ml) mild- or non-flavored oil, like canola
1 teaspoon (5 ml) flavored extract, such as vanilla or almond
1/3 cup (80 ml) (35 gm/1-1/3 oz) confectioners’ (icing) sugar
1-2 teaspoons (5-10 ml) milk
- Preheat oven to moderate 350ºF/180ºC/gas mark 4. Grease a 9×5 inch (23×13 centimeter) loaf pan with butter and line with parchment paper cut to fit the length and width of the pan, with enough overhang to allow easy removal after baking. Grease the top sheet of parchment.
- In large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking soda and salt to combine. Make a well in the center and set aside.
- Lightly whisk (butter)milk, egg, oil, and extract to combine. Pour into well and stir until just mixed into a batter. The batter will be lumpy and may still show a few streaks of flour.
- Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely before slicing. Drizzle with glaze, if desired.
- For the glaze: Slowly whisk confectioners’ (icing) sugar and half of the milk, adding more milk as needed to thin the glaze to the desired consistency.
And a big thanks to Sonali of Only Fish Recipes for sharing two lovely blog awards with me. Thank you, my sweet friend!!!