Food historians speculate that quick breads originated in the United States during the Civil War, when food demands were high and bakers had neither the time nor the patience to wait for dough to rise in the traditional, yeast-based method. Yeast converts sugar into carbon dioxide and ethanol and causes the dough to rise, but quick breads rely on chemical leavening agents like baking soda and baking powder for rising purposes. Baking soda requires an acid, like lemon juice or buttermilk, while baking powder simply needs any liquid to begin its reaction.
Quick breads are versatile, welcoming creativity. This nut bread recipe uses both walnuts and almonds, but you could easily use pecans or hazelnuts. I’ve chosen not to identify nut bread as a “sweet,” since I have another six weeks to go in my mission not to eat treats; I’m thinking of nut bread as more muffin-like, since muffins are essentially quick breads baking in muffin tins.
- 3 cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 2/3 cup milk
- 1 beaten egg
- 1/4 cup cooking oil
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup chopped almonds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place five miniature loaf pans on a cookie sheet; spray each with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Make a well in the center.
In a medium bowl, combine milk, egg, and oil; stir together and add all at once to the well in the center of the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
Fold in nuts.
Divide batter evenly among loaf pans.
Bake for 35 minutes, until tops are just golden and a cake tester comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack.