03 Quick Breads

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What you’ll learn

Now we’ll learn about chemical leavening and how adding it to bread boosts height and opens texture (aka “crumb”) quickly. Practice quick-bread baking by making a simple, sliceable loaf and a rustic, classic cornbread.

The objectives for this module:

  • Learn some basics about quick breads, a little history about them, and how to best enjoy them
  • Master how to make a rustic, classic cornbread
  • Bake up a sweetened quick bread loaf and learn how to make it your own with recipe variations

Lesson & Recaps

Required: watch the “All About Quick Breads” lesson and complete the recap in 1. Then, prepare at least one of the Practice Recipes below and share a Practice Recipe photo and your thoughts about the creation process in 2.

1: All About Quickbreads

Bread leavened by chemical reaction instead of yeast is called “quick bread”—learn about it in this lesson.

00:24 It’s time to add leavening
00:38 What is quick-bread baking?
01:38 Examples of quick breads
02:20 Quick Breads: A little history lesson
04:58 Tips + tricks for quick-bread baking

2: Show Us Your Practice Recipe

Show us your hard work. Upload one Module 3 Practice Recipe photo that you’ve prepared along with your thoughts about the process.

It doesn’t have to be perfect at all—we love all bakes, especially if you made it.

Practice Recipes

Required: prepare a minimum of 1 recipe

Remember to always read an entire recipe and watch an entire Practice Recipe video before preparing that recipe so you know what to expect. Make sure that you have the right ingredients on hand and the tools you need to make it all effortless and fun.

Vanilla-Almond Brown Bread

This is a sweetened and sliceable quick-bread loaf that uses psyllium husk and applesauce to help bind. Bake it up tall in a loaf pan, shallow-style in a skillet, or in a muffin tin.


Classic Cornbread

Our classic, rustic-crumbed cornbread, sweetened with honey and made extra special with fold-ins like fresh corn and lime zest.



Recommended: Please read all of this helpful and inspiring know how and support for gluten-free flatbread baking. Please read the Troubleshooting / FAQs section if you have questions—your answer is most likely in there.

Extra Learning & Cheat Sheets

Ensure that your bakes go to plan every time with this extra know how and support. Gain an understanding of potential variables and substitutions, get troubleshooting ideas, a general shopping list to get started, tips for caring for your baking vessels, and much more.


Extra Recipes

If you like, continue to practice your flatbread baking skills, and stretch your know-how with the new tastes and textures in these extra recipes. Use the Measuring Cheat Sheet to upsize or downsize as needed.


Shopping: Appliances & Tools

This is a convenient listing of basic tools called for in this course as well as some “nice to have but not necessary” items that make baking easier and more fun. Read more about each and how we use them here.

Some of these links take you directly to affiliate partner sites. You’re welcome to skip these links to research and buy products wherever, or however you like. 



Troubleshooting / FAQs: Quick Breads

Please explain the difference between cocoa and cacao? Is cacao always organic? Is there a nutritional value to using cacao when baking?

Be sure to check out the cacao section of the Ingredient Index. Cacao isn’t always organic so check the label, and nutritionally, cacao is less processed and maintains more beneficial enzymes, antioxidants, and other nutrients than processed cocoa.

When you say that we can use aquafaba, do you mean plain or whipped?

Unless otherwise specified, when we call for aquafaba (bean water), we mean un-whipped, liquid state, un-reduced (reducing is sometimes a step bakers take to make meringue).

The top of my bread is cracked. Is this ok?

This is normal—some folks want cracked for a rustic look and some don’t. Cracking is the result of variations in the flours used (freshness/type) and/or the heat distribution of your oven. Cracked tops result when the top firms up (forms a crust) before the center finishes rising and releasing steam—especially common with sweet quick breads since sugars caramelize on exterior quickly.

If you aren’t a fan of a rustic, cracked top, try lowering the rack and/or preheating the oven to a temp 25°F degrees less than the recommended baking temperature, and then after bread has baked 7–10 minutes, increase the temperature back to what’s recommended in the recipe (all while keeping the bread in the oven, with the door closed). And of course, an oven thermometer can help you determine if your oven is running a little hot.

If it’s a sweet bread, use this as an opportunity to frost the top! Try the homemade dairy-free Vanilla Buttercream in the Extra Recipes.

My quick bread is done on the outside and sticky on the inside.

Are you cutting into the bread before it has completely cooled? Oftentimes, this is the problem. Remember, we have to let gluten-free ingredients set and firm up. Completely letting the bread cool before slicing into it is super important.

If you let it cool and it is still unbaked on the inside, all is not lost. You can try double-baking your bread at the baking temperature specified in the recipe for another 10–15 minutes.

You can also use this loaf to make a bread pudding or Cake Truffles.

Get an oven thermometer and make sure your oven is calibrated. Keep notes when you bake (a baking journal kept in a drawer). If your bread wasn’t cooked in the center, add 10–15 minutes to the suggested baking time next time.

Remember, in general, the taller the loaf, the longer the bake time; the shallower the bread, the less bake time.

My quick bread is crumbly and coarse.

By nature, quick breads should be moist and dense. You can also use this loaf to make a bread pudding or Cake Truffles, then next time, try adding 2–4 tablespoons more moisture—applesauce or oil—to the batter next time. Write down what you did in your baking journal so you have record of what works for you.

My quick bread sunk in the center.

Did you open that oven door before bake time was up? Remember, temperature changes during baking can cause sunken breads.

If you didn’t peek, your oven may not be hot enough and your baking time may be too short. You may also have a hot spot or cool spot in your oven. Make sure you get an oven thermometer and test the temperature in your appliance—move the thermometer around to find the most consistent-temperature spot.

You can try increasing your oven temp 25°F and/or prolonging the baking time 10–15 minutes. Write down what you did for next time—tweak for your oven.

Your leavening may be old/expired and too weak to lift the bread properly. Use fresh! Make sure you measure all ingredients properly.

If you’re a high-altitude baker, see below… this could be part of the reason why you have a sunken center.

How can I adjust as a high-altitude baker?

As altitude increases, the air has less oxygen and moisture evaporates quicker at a lower temperature. A bread (which is primarily flour and water) baked at altitudes of 2,500–3,500 feet, can require less time to bake and it also can result in a drier texture.

Grab your baking journal, here are some tweaks to try as a starting point—adjust incrementally as needed:

  • Decrease the baking time 5–8 mins per 30 minutes called for in a recipe
  • Reduce the baking temperature by 15–25°F.
  • Always grease your pans well or line with parchment paper—high-altitude bakes tend to stick to pans more
  • Reduce baking powder and/or soda by ¼–½ teaspoon—at altitude they tend to rise too quickly and too much
  • Reduce the sweetener called for by 1–2 tablespoons
  • Reduce any fruit purée called for (like applesauce) by 2 tablespoons
  • Increase the water content by 1–2 tablespoons to make up for speedy liquid evaporation

Is it possible to sub the applesauce for some cooked squash?

See the Substitutions section of each recipe for recommended alternatives.

I’m wondering if organic cane sugar or coconut sugar can be substituted for Sucanat?

See the Substitutions section of each recipe for recommended alternatives.

Is it possible to make bread without rice and only use amaranth or something like that?

See the Substitutions section of each recipe for recommended alternatives.

Is psyllium “powder” the same thing as “ground psyllium”?

Yes, it is.

Can you use thawed frozen corn or canned in the cornbread or does it need to be fresh?”

Yes, use thawed frozen, drained canned, and fresh instead. Just make sure they aren’t water-logged when adding to a recipe—dry them with a towel if they are. See the Substitutions section of each recipe for all recommended alternatives.

Is there any difference in using full-fat vs. low-fat canned coconut milk for the cornbread?

Full-fat coconut milk makes a tasty difference in flavor, moisture, and texture. It’s more dense and creamy than reduced fat which will contain more water. If you already brought home the reduced fat, use it but reduce the water amount called for by 2 tablespoons.

Has anyone tried using polenta corn grits in the cornbread recipe? I was wondering about using it alone or mixing it with some of my fine-ground cornmeal. Thoughts?

It depends on the brand, but polenta would be close to a large/medium-grind flour or “meal”… you can break it up a bit in the blender or a food processor to get some finer texture in the mix (3–5 pulses) or mix with your finer flour, just don’t overdo it or you’ll end up with pasty cornbread.

Is there anything I can sub for the lemon juice in the quick breads?

Orange, grapefruit, lime, apple cider vinegar, buttermilk, or yogurt will work. See the Substitutions section of each recipe for recommended alternatives.

Is the applesauce in the cornbread purely to react with the baking soda or is there another purpose? 

The applesauce is added for mild sweetness, moisture, and binding power—it softens the dry corn flour and helps to create a cake-like crumb. You can try leaving it out if you like, but you may get a drier crumb and cracking.