Quick Bread from The Baker’s Appendix

by Grace Bonney


You know that feeling you get when you meet someone and you just know you like them immediately? That’s how I felt when I met Jessica Reed. She was selling copies of her (then) zine-like Baker’s Appendix guide at a craft fair in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and while Julia was instantly smitten with her incredibly helpful baking guide, I was taken with her business cards (below).

JReed Business Card

Jessica’s openminded and open-heart-ed cards (and her friendly personality) embodied the sort of “anything is possible” mentality that I was trying to fully embrace about being a business owner and I immediately followed up with her to see if I could do a radio show inspired by her cards. From there on we stayed in touch and Julia and I have so enjoyed watching her Baker’s Appendix go from zine to book pitch to, as of this week, a beautifully printed book that is in stores everywhere.

I’m not a huge (or frequent) baker because of my Type 1, but Jessica’s book makes me feel in control and excited to get back in the kitchen to create my own simple breads, cakes and muffins. The subtitle of her book is: “The Essential Kitchen Companion, with Deliciously Dependable, Infinitely Adaptable Recipes” and it is just that. This sweet cloth-covered guide includes every baking measurement and conversion you’ll ever need, along with simple but delicious recipes that can be adjusted and tweaked to fit your needs or cooking mood. I love when a book sets out to do something simply and do it well, and Jessica has created a guide that I can see generations of bakers handing down to friends, family and children. I sure wish I’d had this growing up but I’m really glad I do now. Read on to get Jessica’s recipe for no-knead Quick Bread and click here to order a copy online and here to find a copy near you (and here for Jessica’s baking feed on Instagram). xo, grace

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Basic Quick Bread/Muffins from The Baker’s Appendix by Jessica Reed (Clarkson Potter)

Makes one 9 × 5-inch (23 cm x 13 cm) loaf, 16 muffins (using a 2-inch [5 cm] cookie scoop), or one 9 × 9-inch (23 cm x 23 cm) cake

This recipe can be adapted countless ways to make a sweet or savory quick bread, muffins, or a simple single-layer cake. There’s more breathing room for experimentation here, as you’ll see in the variations. What follows is my go-to, but this is one to play around with. Additionally, it requires only two bowls, can be made entirely by hand, and comes together in a snap.

  • 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour or (240 grams) whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Up to 1 teaspoon ground spice (optional)
  • ½ to 1 cup (100 to 200 grams) sugar (use less for a more savory loaf or muffins)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup (240 grams) whole milk, room temperature
  • ½ cup (112 grams) neutral oil, such as canola
  • Up to 1 tablespoon any extract (optional)
  • Up to ¾ cup (approx. 170 grams) mix-ins such as dried fruit, chocolate, nuts, grated or cubed cheese, or herbs

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Prepare your pan(s) with Cake Pan Primer (see page 96) and, depending on the pan(s), line with parchment paper or cupcake papers.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ground spice (if using).

In a separate large bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, milk, oil, and extract (if using). Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined (do not overmix). Fold in the mix-ins. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan(s).

Bake for the amount of time appropriate for your pan(s) (directions follow) until the top springs back lightly when pressed, the quick bread or cake starts pulling away from the side of the pan, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan(s), set on a wire rack, and let cool completely.

40 TO 50 MINUTES FOR A 9 × 5- INCH (23 CM X 13 CM) LOAF


28 TO 35 MINUTES FOR A 9 × 9- INCH (23 CM X 23 CM) CAKE


Banana: Use ½ cup (100 grams) sugar. Reduce the dairy (I recommend substituting sour cream for the milk) to ½ cup (120 grams). Add ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon to the dry ingredients and 1 cup (227 grams) pureed very ripe banana to the wet ingredients. If desired, fold in 3 ounces (about 85 grams) toasted walnuts or pecans into the batter before spooning into the pan(s).

Berry Citrus: Rub the grated zest of one large lemon or one medium orange into 1 cup (200 grams) sugar. I recommend substituting yogurt for the milk, though not required. Gently fold 1 cup (about 125 grams) fresh or frozen (not thawed) berries into the batter before spooning into the pan(s). This variation is great topped with Lemon Confectioners’ Sugar Glaze (page 80).

Chocolate: Use 1 cup (200 grams) sugar. I recommend substituting sour cream for the milk, though not required. Reduce the flour to 1¼ cups (156 grams) and add ¾ cup (64 grams) cocoa powder. It’s a good idea to sift the dry ingredients to break up any lumps of cocoa powder.

Coconut: Use 1 cup (200 grams) sugar. I recommend substituting full-fat coconut milk for the dairy milk and using coconut oil. Use 1 teaspoon coconut extract. Fold in 1 cup (50 grams) dried coconut before spooning the batter into the pan.

Carrot Raisin: Add 2 teaspoons five-spice powder or pumpkin pie spice to the dry ingredients. Fold 1 cup (99 grams) grated carrot and ½ cup (64 grams) raisins into the batter before spooning into the pan.

PB&J: Use 1 cup (200 grams) sugar. Spoon half of the batter into the prepared pan(s). Spread 2 tablespoons peanut butter (if needed, warm for 30 seconds in the microwave to soften) and 2 tablespoons any flavor jam or jelly across the surface of the batter. Spoon the rest of the batter on top.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip: Use 1 cup (200 grams) sugar. Reduce the milk to ½ cup (120 grams). Add 1 cup (244 grams) pureed pumpkin to the wet ingredients. Fold ½ cup (85 grams) chocolate chips into the batter before spooning into the pan(s).

Cheddar Cheese and Chive: Use ¼ cup (50 grams) sugar. I recommend substituting buttermilk for the milk. Fold 1 cup (228 grams) shredded Cheddar cheese and 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh chives (use 1 teaspoon if dried) into the batter before spooning into the pan(s).

Ham and Gruyère: Use ¼ cup (50 grams) sugar. I recommend substituting buttermilk for the milk. Fold ½ cup (113 grams) chopped ham and ½ cup (113 grams) shredded or diced Gruyère into the batter before spooning into the pan.

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  • I remember this episode and now I remember how much I wanted to do a version of this business card for myself – if Jessica would be so kind to approve. Genius idea. And – looking forward to trying a new recipe out! Thanks for sharing!

  • LOVE THIS!!!! Of what I’ve seen so far, I feel like Jessica has read my mind when it comes to baking tips and questions I often have. I can’t wait to get a copy and gift copies to my baking pals. Will be trying out the Basic Quick Bread recipe this weekend. Thank you for sharing!

  • Grace, that was a great introduction and compelling recommendation, but I might have to buy this book because of the on point 30 Rock reference apron that the author is wearing. What the what? I’m into it.