The beauty of a muffin recipe is its versatility. Any muffin recipe can be converted to a quick bread recipe and vice versa. The ingredients and the oven temperature remain the same; you only increase or decrease the baking time, depending on the size of the pans. Although oven types and recipes vary, some general guidelines about baking still apply.
When converting a muffin recipe to a quick bread recipe, add at least 15 to 20 minutes to the recipe for a standard loaf-size pan. In most cases, baking time could be even longer, but it's better to start checking the bread a bit early than risk burning it. In general, most muffin recipes need 15 to 18 minutes of cooking time, while quick breads need 45 minutes to 1 hour. A mini-loaf pan typically takes 30 to 35 minutes to bake.
Quick breads take more time to bake than muffins, but don't raise the oven temperature in an attempt to reduce baking time. Bake quick breads at the same temperature required for muffins. Raising the temperature can cause the outside edges to brown too quickly while the inside remains doughy. Too hot an oven can also cause a dry, crusty quick bread.
Adapting a muffin recipe to a quick bread recipe isn't an exact science when it comes to determining the baking time. Finding the right time for each individual recipe takes a bit of trial and error. Set the timer for 10 minutes before you think the bread will be done. You'll probably smell the bread's aroma as the timer goes off, another clue that the bread is almost done. Stick a toothpick in the center of the bread. If it's coated with batter, the bread isn't done. If it has a few moist crumbs, it's almost done. If the toothpick comes out clean, the bread is done. Look for visual signs that the bread is done, as well, such as a golden brown crust and a few cracks running down the middle of the loaf.
Cooling and Storage
How you handle a quick bread after you remove it from the oven is as important as the time it spends in the oven. Let quick breads sit on a cooling rack for 5 to 10 minutes before removing them from the pan. This cooling sets the bread and makes it easier to remove from the pan. After 10 minutes, remove the bread from the pan and let it continue cooling for at least one hour before slicing it. Quick breads can be safely stored at room temperature if they will be used within one week. Those laden with fruit, nuts, yogurt or sour cream should be refrigerated. For longer storage, wrap the bread in plastic wrap and freeze for up to three months.
- The Essentials of Baking; Williams-Sonoma
- The Washington Post: The Well-Bread Muffin
- University of Kentucky College of Agriculture: Quick Breads
- Southern Utah University: Quick Breads
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