Sunday, February 22, 2009

Quick Breads for a Month

Quick breads are so easy to crank out, loaf after loaf. Because they require no rising time (or kneading), they are easier than yeast breads to make in bulk. If you're looking for a way to get a jump on "from scratch" cooking, this is a great way to start.

Quick breads vary from Whole Wheat Bread (texture like cornbread, not yeast bread), cornbread, and banana breads to biscuits, scones, and muffins. All of these can be made ahead of time and frozen; thaw overnight and toast briefly to warm up. 

Making quick breads in bulk is also a great way to use up seldom-used ingredients. Buttermilk, wheat or oat bran, specialty flours, and various dried fruits or nuts come to mind. They're also a great way to use up fresh produce that you have an overabundance of (zucchini, apples, carrots, and bananas are the most common here). 

Finally, if you've never done much baking, quick breads are much easier to start with than yeasted breads. They're straightforward, widely varied, and can be used for any meal of the day. I make up a batch of muffins for lunch one day and we eat the leftovers for breakfast the next, for instance. 

For my family, I made up 4 batches of cornbread, 4 loaves of Quick Honey Whole Wheat Bread, and a couple batches of biscuits one Satuday afternoon. This took me about 3 hours (but I did other things in the middle of that time, like writing this post!). I now have a wheat-based bread, a "pan" of cornbread, and a batch of biscuits for each week for the next 4 weeks. Pretty nice, eh? We'll eat the breads with soup or beans and rice at night, eat the leftovers toasted the next morning, and eat the biscuits on Sunday mornings. Mmmmm.... Stay tuned this week for some of the recipes (although my favorite biscuit recipe is here; check the bread index for more ideas).

Happy Cooking!

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