Quick and Easy Bread Recipes You Can Do Yourself

484163886Have you ever wanted to bake some hearty, homemade bread but then realized you didn’t have all day to prepare dough, let it rise, and then (finally) bake it? Well here’s a secret: not all delicious homemade breads require half a day to bake. There are a variety of recipes that use baking powder or baking soda, instead of traditional yeast, for leavening, cutting your preparation time by at least half. You can make sweet and savory loaves, muffins, scones, biscuits, pancakes and even popovers without taking hours out of your day.

We have compiled a list of some of the best-loved and best-rated quick bread recipes, all of which you can easily make with your own two hands. These tried-and-true recipes will enable you to have a sweet or savory bread on your table in a pinch.

Popovers and Pancakes

Classic Popovers

Whole-Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes

Carrot Cake Pancakes

Biscuits and Scones

Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

Spiced Pumpkin Biscuits

Classic Scones

Chocolate Chip Scones

Muffins

Tuscan Lemon Muffins

Chocolate Chip-Coffee Muffins

Blueberry and Oatmeal Muffins

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

Raspberry Cream Cheese Muffins

Morning Glory Muffins

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Whole-Wheat, Oatmeal and Raisin Muffins

Savory Loaves

Basic Beer-Cheese Bread

Kalamata Olive Bread with Oregano

Brown Soda Bread

Maple-Stout Quick Bread

Sweet Loaves

Orange-Pecan Tea Bread

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Zucchini-Pineapple Quick Bread

Pecan-Topped Pumpkin Bread

Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze

Garden Harvest Bread

Classic Banana Bread

Sweet Potato Bread

Almond Bread

Walnut Streusel Bread

Kumquat-Cranberry Cornmeal Loaf

Whether you’re making a savory loaf to accompany your dinner, a batch of muffins for your afternoon snack, or a round of pancakes for a Saturday morning family breakfast, we have a recipe that you can whip up—and have on your table—in no time.

When you need to make bread in a pinch, remember to look out for recipes that use baking soda or baking powder for leavening—these recipes will always save you time and effort.

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Warming Tortillas And Keeping Them That Way

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As Mexican foods become more popular, so do dealing with some of the more common ingredients. Nothing is more basic than the tortilla, and nothing beats a warm tortilla; the combination of its smell and touch is arguably one of the best, most comfortable, of any simple food. Warming tortillas up and keeping them that way is simplicity itself.

The tortilla itself is simply corn or wheat flour mixed in with a little water and salt, and then flattened, preferably in a tortilla press. The tortilla is then cooked in a pan or on a flat grill, taking just a few seconds to warm up and cook the tortilla. It does not need oil or butter, and in fact it doesn’t add anything to the flavor and just makes it harder to hold. If it is done right the tortilla maintains its flexibility, allowing it to be folded into a burrito. Corn tortillas can also be deep-fried for tostadas or sliced into chips.

However, the tortilla does not need to be eaten right then. As a cold tortilla is not flexible enough for most uses, it helps to warm them up, and there are three basic ways to do so. If there are a number of them to warm up, you can put them on a cookie sheet and slide that into an oven for a few minutes. If you only need to warm a few up, you can use a pan or flat grill to warm them up and possibly given them a little golden brown crunch. You can also use a microwave for a stack of up to six at a time, at about ten seconds per tortilla, with a minimum time of twenty seconds, with no worry of burning of them.

Keeping them warm is even easier. If you lack a tortilla warmer, all you need is a warm, dry towel: Put the tortillas on one side and then cover with the other half, folding over the edges for a little extra warmth. However, do not use an oven as a warmer; even at a low temperature it is likely to burn if not used quickly. This should help you enjoy the smell and warm comfort of the tortilla whenever you want, quickly and with no fuss.

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How To Roast Garlic: An Easy Guide

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As an Italian cooking enthusiast, you already know that garlic is a staple of this cuisine. Closely related to onions, garlic is a pungent bulb that adds a distinctive flavor to a variety of dishes. More and more recipes these days call for roasted garlic as an ingredient. Instead of purchasing roasted garlic, try roasting your own and keep it on hand for use in a variety of dishes. Here are some easy tips on how to roast garlic.

Begin by selecting large, firm heads of garlic and cutting off the tops just enough to expose the tops of the cloves inside. Take an old ceramic pan and drizzle one to two tablespoons of olive oil on the bottom and tilt it to thoroughly cover the surface. Place the heads in the pan with cut sides up. The exposed heads need moisture, so drizzle them with olive oil. Sprinkle the heads with salt, preferable a type like Kosher salt or sea salt that has larger flakes as these will adhere better to the cloves. Sprinkle the cloves with pepper and cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil.

Roast the garlic heads in a 375 degree over for 35 to 45 minutes until tender and fragrant. Let the heads cool and take each head and gently squeeze each clove at the bottom to release the garlic. The garlic will be quite mushy. Place the roasted garlic  with a bit of olive oil in a jar and cap tightly.

Roasted garlic has many different uses. At its simplest, you can pop it in your mouth and eat it. You can also mash it and spread it on bread for a tasty treat. Other uses include mixing it into mashed potatoes or into mustard or mayonnaise to make a delicious sandwich topping. Mix into hamburger meat before putting them on the grill or place in soups for great flavor, mix it in butter and gravies, mix it into hummus, sour cream or yogurt to make a more tasty dip. The possibilities are endless.

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The Basic Ingredients You Should Stock Up on For Baking

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We all know someone who makes those magically wonderful desserts that just seem to melt in your mouth upon tasting them. While beginning cooks sometimes think that there must be some sort of magic involved, it’s really much more simple. Becoming a wonderful baker is more than simply having artistic flair or an uncanny ability. It’s simply about precision, patience and maintaining several basic baking ingredients in your kitchen.

The experts here at the Italian Home Kitchen Blog know that you’re probably not making cannolis every chance you get. Yet, we know that you need some basic pantry essential on hand that will allow you to create delicious treats whenever you like. To succeed in making wonderful treats, you need basic baking ingredients on hand that will allow creation of many different types of tasty sweets and desserts.

Here are basic baking ingredients that every well-stocked pantry should have:
• Unbleached all-purpose white flour
• Rolled oats
• Stone-ground cornmeal
• Salt
• Baking power
• Baking soda
• Granulated white sugar
• Confectioner’s sugar
• Brown sugar
• Honey
• Canned pumpkin puree
• Bar baking chocolate
• Cocoa powder
• Shredded unsweetened coconut
• Vanilla extract
• In-season ripe fruit
• Dried fruit

Some of those ingredients are no-brainers. After all, you can’t bake without flour, but rolled oats, for example, adds texture to cookies, while the different types of sugar have their own specific uses in baking. Plain white sugar, for example, is ideal for blending with wet ingredients. Baking powder and baking soda are essential for light and airy creations, white pure vanilla extract adds wonderful flavor to all sorts of breads and cookies.

As you become more savvy with your creations, you’ll want to add the following ingredients to your basic list to create even more tempting treats:
• Whole wheat and other alternative flours such as rye and gluten-free
• Coconut oil
• Alternative liquid sweeteners such as molasses and agave
• Alternative granulated sweeteners
• Raw sugar
• Corn syrup
• Cornstarch
• Vanilla beans
• Condensed milk and evaporated milk
• Ripe bananas

Check back often with Italian Home Cooking for more tips that will make you a savvy cook.