How to Convert a Quick Bread Loaf Recipe Into Muffins (vice versa)
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Learn how to convert quick bread loaf recipes into muffins or turning favorite muffin recipe into a bread loaf.

In terms of ingredients, a basic muffin recipe and a quick bread recipe are pretty interchangeable. Cooking time and temperature are the major variables that need to be adjusted when converting from one to another. This means you can convert a favorite quick bread recipe into muffins in a fraction of the time. Or, with a few modest changes, your favorite muffin recipe can be transformed into a bread loaf.

Convert Quick Bread Loaf Recipe Into Muffins

blueberry muffins

Converting a quick bread, such as banana bread, from a loaf to muffins required two main changes: a higher oven temperature and a significantly shorter cook time.

If you look at a few muffin recipes, you’ll discover that the majority of them cook at temperatures ranging from 375°F to 425°F. If your fast bread recipe calls for baking at 350°F for 60 minutes, try 375°F for 30 minutes or 400°F for 20 minutes. Because you don’t have an exact cook time, start with the toothpick test at 15 minutes and keep an eye on the muffins. When the muffins begin to become golden brown on top, insert a toothpick and check them. If they aren’t done yet, check them every 5 minutes until the toothpick comes out clean, then remove them from the oven to cool.

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Convert Muffins Recipe Into Quick Bread Loaf

cranberry muffins

If you’re converting a muffin recipe to a loaf, you’ll need to make the same (but opposite) changes. Muffins cook in much less time and can withstand higher heat without becoming dry.

Make sure the temperature of your muffin recipe is correct. If the recipe calls for 375°F, reduce the heat to 350°F. If it says 400°F, try 375°F.

The cooking time will almost certainly be doubled or more, with a regular size loaf pan of fast bread needing at least 45 minutes to bake. Cooking time will vary depending on whether the batter contains moist ingredients such as blueberries, how accurate your oven temperature is, and the type of pan you’re using. The idea here is to place a toothpick into the center of the loaf to test for doneness. It’s done when it comes out with no moist batter attached.

How to Convert Quick Bread into Muffins

Quick Bread vs Yeast Bread

Quick bread is much quicker than yeast bread. This is due to the use of baking powder and/or baking soda, which are fast-acting chemical leavening agents that form carbonated gas when coupled with liquid, making the batter to bubble up and rise. Once the liquid and dry ingredients are combined, you want to get the batter into the pan and into the oven as soon as possible, or otherwise, the gas will expand itself before the oven heat has a chance to set the glutens in the flour.

Because loaves take longer to bake, they are less “fast” than fast bread. Filling 12 muffin cups, on the other hand, is far more time-consuming than just pouring all of the batters into a single pan.


Patience is Key to Perfect Quick Bread and Muffins

Although it may seem that you must rush, consider pancake batter for a moment. Allowing the batter to rest for 15 to 20 minutes before cooking is the key to making pancakes (a runnier quick bread). This is due to the fact that mixing the batter until every last lump is gone would overwork the glutens and make your pancakes rubbery. Resting the batter helps the dry flour lumps to dissolve on their own.

Overmixing is also a problem with muffins and quick bread. When you consider that spooning batter into muffin cups requires dragging a spoon through the batter, which is the same as stirring it, you can see why it is critical to use as few strokes as possible when mixing the ingredients.

What about the expendable gases depleting as time passes? Baking powder at the store is nearly always “double acting,” which means it releases an initial burst of gas when combined with liquid and then a second burst caused by heat. While it is true that a little quantity of carbonated gas is released as the wet and dry ingredients combine, resting the batter has no effect on the second burst of gas that occurs in the oven.

Art of Filling Baking Pans

Filling muffins and loaf pans is an art form. The secret is to grease the pan well and fill the muffin or loaf pan about 3/4 full. Don’t overfill since your goodies will take too long to bake and some batter will go over the side, causing a mess in your oven. By using paper muffin liners or a silicone pan, you can save time and effort. To make removal easier, line your loaf pan with parchment paper.

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