Loaf Breads

Loaf breads are similar in preparation to muffins. Like other quick bread products, loaf breads are made from flour, leavening agents, eggs, fat, sugar, salt, and a liquid. Baking powder is the chemical leavening agent used in loaf breads.

Loaf breads are made from a drop batter or a very thick pour batter. The baked product should have a uniform texture. The crust should be lightly browned, but not thick. The crumb should be tender and moist, not tough or dry. Loaf breads also should have rounded tops with a split down the center.

The time spent mixing loaf bread batter is crucial. Undermixing will result in a lumpy batter with dry pockets of flour. Overmixing will overdevelop the gluten. The batter will be stringy or elastic. Elastic means stretchy and flexible. The end product will be tough and will have tunnels, or large, irregular holes, in the crumb. When you mix loaf bread batter, you should mix it lightly. Mix it long enough to only blend all the ingredients. Then scale the batter into the pan.

You can alter the flavor of loaf breads by substituting or adding ingredients. For example, fold in walnuts, cranberries, or zucchini to make walnut bread, cranberry bread, or zucchini bread. You can also use bananas or pumpkin to make banana bread or pumpkin bread.

Quick Breads and Gluten

Unlike yeast breads, very little gluten is developed in quick breads. This is a desired, or wanted, result. Quick breads should be tender, not chewy. Too much gluten will result in a less tender product.

Quick breads use chemical leavening agents, such as baking soda or baking powder, instead of yeast and fermentation to rise. They will not turn out as expected if there is too much gluten in the mixture. Too much gluten will make the mixture heavy instead of light. This will create an inferior-quality quick bread.

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Baking Soda or Baking Powder?

Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, or NaHCO3. Because baking soda is a base, it can be mixed with an acid to produce carbon dioxide, or CO2. The CO2 is what actually leavens the baked good. If you look through formulas that call for baking soda, there also should be an ingredient that is acidic, such as vinegar, fruit juice, or buttermilk. This acid is needed to produce the CO2.

If a formula calls for baking powder, an acidic ingredient probably is not used. This is because baking powder is a combination of baking soda, cornstarch, and a powdered acid such as cream of tartar. As the baked good mixture is heated, the acid within the baking powder mixes with the baking soda and produces the CO2 necessary to leaven the baked good.


Try this experiment to see how carbon dioxide is produced with baking soda and baking powder:

1. Add 1 teaspoon of baking powder to one bowl and 1 teaspoon of baking soda to another bowl. Add a tablespoon of water to each bowl. Record your observations.

2. Repeat the experiment, but this time pour

1 tablespoon of vinegar in each bowl instead of water. Record your observations.


Examine your observations, and try to determine why there were any differences in the reaction. Write a half-page analysis of why you think there were differences.

NSES B Develop an understanding of chemical reactions.

Leavening Quick Breads

Leavening agents allow quick breads to rise quickly without proofing. A leavening agent is a substance that causes dough or batter to rise. The two most common chemical leavening agents are double-acting baking powder and baking soda.

Purchase Leavening Agents Purchase leavening agents, such as baking powder, in the smallest amount possible that you need. It is true that you may receive better prices when you purchase them in larger quantities.

Continue reading here: A Loaf Bread

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