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Opinion

Appetizing bread recipes for the upcoming spring

Brittney Pfenning­-Wendt

March 30, 2012

Spring offers warmth, growth and new flavors. It’s great to let the cool spring air in through the window as the oven heats up the kitchen.

It’s the perfect time of year for quick breads. They are versatile and simple.

You can tweak the recipe where you see fit to make it your own. Add a touch of cinnamon, mix in some fresh fruit or add some cream for a unique flavor that is sure to entice taste buds.

As the bread is baking, a warm scent fills the air making everyone anticipate what’s to come. If you’ve never baked quick bread before, try it. The results are delicious and everyone will rave about it.

Quick bread is unlike other breads in that they use baking powder and/or baking soda for leavening, rather than yeast. This difference in leavening agents results in a batter consistency rather than dough.

Often when using yeast, the bread will require time to rise, and kneading before being placed in the oven.

It’s important to note that baking powder and baking soda begin to release a rising property in the batter right away, which is why many recipes call for the wet and dry ingredients to be mixed separately before combining the two. By cutting out time for rising and kneading you save a lot of time.

Fillings and mix-ins for quick bread are pretty much endless. If you can think it up then it can usually be put in bread.

Common quick breads are banana, pumpkin, cranberry orange, zucchini, rhubarb and cinnamon streusel.

Think of what some of your favorite flavors are and figure out how you could incorporate this into a bread batter. Keep in mind the ratio of wet to dry ingredients so you don’t end up with bread that is too moist or too dry.

When using produce in bread, I’d recommend looking into what’s in season as well as trying for new flavors. Fruits are nice to add in the spring as new ones are beginning to appear on grocery store shelves. You may end up with something you don’t like, but it’s worth the chance.

Usually if you like the ingredients you are putting in, they will taste fine mixed into the bread.

If there is a particular spice you like, add a teaspoon or two, adjusting for strength of flavor. Strawberry makes for sweet afternoon bread with tea or coffee or even a breakfast treat where pumpkin gives that warm flavor.

Right now rhubarb is just coming into season. It can be easily incorporated into bread alone or with other flavors such as strawberry, which is commonly seen with rhubarb in pie.

The basic idea is to create something that is yours. You want it to adhere to your tastes and flavors or the occasion you’re baking the bread for.

Spend that extra time saved with quick bread and come up with something really fun. Here’s one of my personal favorites I always make right when the farmers markets open and fresh zucchini is available.

Zucchini Bread

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 1 c. vegetable oil
  • 2 c. grated zucchini*
  • 1/2 tbs. vanilla
  • 3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2-3 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder

*If you use overgrown zucchini you’ll need to peel and seed them before grating, but if you use small zucchini (which I recommend) you don’t need to peel or seed, just go ahead and grate. Directions

1. Preheat oven to 325°F.

2. Beat eggs until frothy. Stir in sugar vegetable oil, zucchini and vanilla. Stir in remaining ingredients until well mixed.

3. Pour batter into two well-greased 9×5 inch pans.

4. Bake for about one hour. Cool 10 minutes or more in pan. Turn out onto wire racks to cool thoroughly before slicing.

Brittney Pfenning­-Wendt is a columnist for the Student Voice.