Quick Bread – Basic batter with add-ins

Flavored with just a hint of vanilla, this basic quick-bread batter works with any and all flavorings.  It’s also quite tasty on its own.  Add-ins make quick bread more interesting, but don’t overo it; too many extras may cause the batter to overflow during backing and can make the finished bread crumbly.  Yields one loaf:  serves 10

Step 1

Prep and Heat the Oven

This recipe was developed using a standard pyrex loaf pan.  You can experiment with different shapes and sizes; just adjust the baking time accordingly and put a sheet of aluminum foil on the bottom oven rack in case there’s a little overflow due to variations in volume.

1 T unsalted butter, softened

2 T unbleached all-purpose flour; more as needed

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter then flour the bottom and sides of a 6-cup (8.5×4.5 or 9×5 inch) loaf pan, tapping out any excess flour.

Choose your add-ins

Prep your add-ins before you start mixing the batter. If using a wet add-in, be sure to adjust the milk or your batter will have too much liquid.


Choose up to 5 (for a total of 2 teaspoons)

Cinnamon – up to 1 t

Cardamom – up to 1/2 t

Cloves – up to 1/4 t

Ginger – up to 1 t

Nutmeg – preferably freshly grated (up to 1/2 tsp)

Dry Add-ins

for a total of 2 1/4 C

Poppy seeds (4 t)

Crystallized Ginger, finely diced (up to 1/2 C)

Shredded Sweetened dried coconut, toasted (up to 1 1/2 C)

Nuts, chopped, toasted (up to 2/3 C)

Chocolate, peanut butter, butterscotch chips ( up to 1 C)

Dried lavender ( up to 1 T)

Fresh Fruit, apples, pears, bananas, or mangos, diced (up to 1/2 C)

Dried fruit, apricots, raisins, cherries, chopped (up to 3/4 C)

Berries, fresh or thawed frozen, halved if large ( up to 1 1/4 C)

Wet add-ins

Choose One. if using, reduce milk in batter to 1/2 C

Zucchini, coarsely grated, 1 1/2 C, squeezed dry

Fruit puree, such as applesauce, 1/2 C

Overripe bananas, mashed 1 C

Canned pumpkin, 1 C

Carrots, coarsely grated, 1 1/2 C, squeezed dry


Choose One

Fresh lemon or lime zest, finely grated, 1 T

Fresh orange zest, finely grated, 1 1/2 T

Fresh ginger, finely grated, 2 T

Pure extract, almond or citrus, 1/2 t

Step 2

Make the batter

Prep your add-ins before you start mixing the batter.  If using a wet add-in, be sure to adjust the milk or your batter will have too much liquid.

2 C unbleached all-purpose flour

3/4  C granulated sugar

1 T baking powder

3/4 t. table salt

Spices (optional)

Dry add-ins (optional)

1 C milk (whole, buttermilk, or unsweetened coconut); reduce to 1/2 C if also using a wet add-in

2 large eggs at room temp

1 t. pure vanilla extract

Wet add-in (optional)

Aromatic flavoring (optional)

4 oz (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices (if using).  Whisk until well blended.  Stir in dry add-ins (if using).

In a medium bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and vanilla.  Add a wet add-in and aromatic flavoring ( if using).  Whisk until well blended.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients.  Add the melted butter.  Using a silicone spatula, gently fold until blended.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.

Step 3

Top and Bake

Toppings added before baking sink into the batter a bit, which means they’ll stay put.

Sprinkle a topping (if using) evenly over the batter and gently pat down nuts so they adhere to the batter.

Bake, rotating halfway through, until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 50-55 minutes.


Choose One

Sanding or turbinado sugar, 2 T

Nuts, sliced or chopped, 1/2 C

Step 4


A final flourish of confectioners’ sugar or a sweet glaze dresses up a quick bread.


4 oz ( 1 C) confectioners’ sugar, sifted if lumpy

4 t liquid (water, milk, cream, fresh lemon, orange, or pineapple juice); more as needed

In a small bowl, stir the confectioner’s sugar and the liquid until smooth, adding more liquid 1t at a time until the glaze Is just pourable; a cream glaze may need quite a bit more liquid.

Drizzle over cooled bread.