I'm on a mission to try to coax as many people as possible to start working with yeast. I know that yeast is kind of scary to those unfamiliar with it, but bear with me: you'll love it.
Batter breads are made just like Quick Breads, with two differences. First, yeast is used instead of baking powder or baking soda, and second, the batter is beaten for several minutes so the gluten has time to form to hold the carbon dioxide made by the yeast.
Make sure you don't let the breads rise too long, or the structure will collapse. Follow the instructions carefully. If you have ever baked a cake or made muffins, you can make these breads!
Batter breads are tender despite the relatively lengthy beating because when the yeast grows and develops it creates acids and alcohols that help tenderize the bread. The texture of batter bread is more open than kneaded yeast breads, and they will usually have a rougher top, more like a quick bread.
I was surprised when I was researching this article because there really isn't that much information out there about batter breads. They are a great introduction to working with yeast, and really, they're practically foolproof. And any leftovers are incredible toasted and served slathered with butter.
For those of you who buy yeast in jars or in bulk, 2-1/4 teaspoons of dry yeast equals one packet, which usually weighs 1/4 ounce.
(Thanks to Angelina for asking this question!) For fresh, or compressed yeast, one 5/8-ounce cake equals one 1/4 ounce package of dry yeast (water adds the weight in the compressed yeast). And 1/3 of a 2-ounce cake of compressed yeast equals one package dry yeast.
So for your next lunch or dinner, start an hour or two ahead of time and make yeast batter bread or rolls.
You'll have a wonderful sense of accomplishment, your home will smell incredible, and your family will be delighted. Happy baking!
- Whole Grain Bread
Hot roll mix, purchased or homemade, oats, and wheat germ make this hearty bread very nutritious. It can be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
- Oatmeal Batter Bread
Rolled oats and honey make this bread perfect for breakfast. If you can restrain yourself, make it the day before, then slice and toast for breakfast, topped with butter and jam or honey.
- Honey Rolls
I love these rolls; they have the most fantastic flavor and color. Serve them with a hot soup or stew; I like making Sweet and Sour Meatball Stew because the flavors complement each other beautifully.
- Sally Lunn
This buttery and slightly sweet bread is perfect for a brunch, or make it the day ahead of time, let cool, then toast and serve with butter and jam.