The Big Difference Between Quick Breads And Yeast Breads

Published Categorized as Ingredients, Guide

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If you’re at all into baking, or like most people, just really like bread, then you’ve probably heard the term quick bread bandied about. However, whilst you may know that they are somehow distinct from other bread, you may not know how. Ordinary bread uses yeast whilst quick breads don’t. However, the difference between quick breads and yeast breads goes even further than this.

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Quick Bread vs Yeast Bread – What Are They?

To properly establish the difference between quick and yeast breads it is important to first establish what they are. 

What Is Quick Bread?

Quick breads are a type of bread that are leavened with chemical leavening agents such as baking soda or baking powder. As you may be able to tell from the name this is comparatively much quicker to do than using yeast as leavener.

In fact this process is so quick that you can see it start almost immediately. When the leavening agent is added to the dry and wet ingredients it may very quickly start to create air bubbles. This is a good sign as it means that the leavening process has already started.

The other boon to the quick bread method is that the process is comparatively quite a simple way of baking bread. This is because the chemical reaction required to create carbon dioxide and therefore leaven the bread is simple to accomplish. As long as all the ingredients have been mixed correctly, the chemical leavener will quickly do its job. In fact, unlike other bread types, this can take as little as an hour in the oven. 

The Difference Between Quick Breads And Yeast Breads

Quick Bread Ingredients

All quick breads will fundamentally need a core set of ingredients in order to work. These ingredients are follows:

  • Flour: typically this will be wheat flour, although corn flour is also quite common. This provides structure to the bread.
  • Leavening agent: Baking powder or baking soda are typically used
  • Salt: This helps strengthen the bread’s structure whilst preventing the leavening from going too far.
  • Liquid: Typically this will be water or milk to help strengthen the structure and add flavour.
  • Milk/Buttermilk: When using baking powder, milk will do. However, when using baking soda buttermilk or another something acidic like lemon juice must be added for leavening to occur.

The above are fundamental essentials. However, there are other common inclusions for quick breads that many recipes call for. These are fat, either from butter or vegetable oil, along with eggs and sugar. 

Additionally, quick bread recipes will often include berries, dried nuts and fruit, chocolate and many other additions. The proportions of each of these supplemental ingredients will vary wildly, however. 

What Is Yeast Bread?

Yeast breads are probably what most people think of when it comes to bread. Instead of using a chemical reaction to leaven the bread, yeast bread will naturally rise through fermentation. However, whilst this is a fairly quick and simple process for quick bread, yeast breads take longer and are much more involved.

Additionally, yeast breads will require kneading before rising. Additionally, they should initially be allowed to rise outside of the oven and “punched down” before being baked. Fortunately once the kneading is done, the rising process isn’t too involved. As such it ultimately isn’t much more complicated than making a quick bread. However it will take more time to do.

The Difference Between Quick Breads And Yeast Breads

Yeast Bread Ingredients

Many of the ingredients in yeast bread will be similar to those found in quick breads. However, the main difference will be the inclusion of yeast and how the leavening occurs. The primary ingredients for yeast bread are:

  • Flour: Like with quick breads, flour is what gives your bread loaf it’s structure.
  • Yeast: this naturally occurring plant cell will act as the natural leavening agent for your bread. Here the yeast will feed off the sugar present in other ingredients and multiply. During this multiplication carbon dioxide is produced, causing the bread to rise. 
  • Water: or alternatively milk will help to solidify the structure of your bread whilst dispersing flavourings evenly throughout the dough.
  • Salt: Again like with quick bread salt is used to help strengthen the gluten structure and moderate the growth of the bread.

Like with quick breads there are some other common ingredients that aren’t essential. As with  quick breads these include fat and sugar along with eggs. However, in yeast bread’s additional sugar may also be used to help the yeast fermentation process.

What Is The Third Classification Of Bread?

Whilst very similar to yeast bread, the third category of bread is a sourdough. Whilst these types of bread do use yeast as part of their leveaning, sourdough will also use a sourdough starter. This starter will consist of lactic acid bacteria and when combined with yeast will form a symbiotic relationship. 

The resulting bread takes longer to rise and will have a slightly sour taste. However, this unique taste is enjoyed by many, whilst much healthier than regular yeast bread.

The Difference Between Quick Breads And Yeast Breads

What Are The Three Types Of Quick Breads?

There are three main types of quick bread. Each of which will be useful for different recipes with the main difference being the ratio of water/fluid to flour. The three types of quick bread include the following:

  • Pour Batter: Here the consistency will be roughly two thirds to an equal amount of water/fluid as flour, making it ideal for pouring. Recipes made with pour batter include pancakes, crepes and waffles.
  • Drop Batter: Here the consistency is between half and three quarters as much water/fluid as flour. Drop batter will be used for muffins, coffee cakes and bread such as banana bread
  • Dough: These will contain roughly an eighth to a third as much water/fluid as flour. This type will be used for biscuits, scones and unleavened bread like Mexican tortillas.

What Are The Two Types Of Yeast Bread?

There are two fundamental types of yeast bread that you can make. The key difference between the two types is that one requires kneading while the other doesn’t. These types of dough are:

  • Kneaded Dough: As the name suggests, this type of dough requires kneading along with raising multiple times. This results in a more symmetrical shape that has a golden brown crust with a darker bottom and sides. This method tends to create bread which is soft, tender and slightly moist.
  • Battered Dough: Here the flour will be beaten into a dough with an electric mixer. The benefits of this are that the bread won’t require kneading and typically only needs to rise once. However, the dough created tends to have a coarser texture and ultimately be less flavourful.

Why Quick Bread Faster To Make Than A Yeast Bread?

Quick bread is quicker to make than yeast bread due to a number of factors. Mainly the chemical reaction between the leavening agents will start to be immediately visible. As such it can go into the oven the second the ingredients are mixed.

Yeast on the other hand will take time to start fermentation. Additionally if using the kneaded method to make your bread, it will need to be punched down and allowed to rise multiple times.

The Difference Between Quick Breads And Yeast Breads

Final Thoughts

Quick bread and yeast bread have a number of similarities such as sharing many of the same same ingredients such as flour and salt. Additionally the majority of these breads will require leavening. The difference between them, however, comes from both the method of leavening along with the techniques used to prepare the different types of dough.


Are All Quick Breads Cooked The Same?

Many of the same cooking principles apply across quick breads. However, they will often fall into one of three categories. These categories are pour batter, drop batter and dough.

Do Quick Breads Use Yeast To Rise?

Quick breads do not use yeast to rise. Instead, they will use a chemical leavener such as baking soda or baking powder combined with an acidic ingredient to rise.

Is Yeast In Bread Healthy?

For most people a moderate amount of yeast, such as that found in yeast, is perfectly healthy. In fact yeast can even be beneficial for the digestive system. However in high doses or for those with a yeast allergy or sensitivity it can cause dietary discomfort, facial flushing and other negative effects.

Are All Breads Made Of Yeast

Yeast and sourdough breads will use yeast as a leavening agent. However, quick breads will instead use a chemical leavening reaction from something like baking soda or baking powder.

What is Not A Quick Bread?

Neither sourdough or traditional yeast breads can be considered quick breads. This is because they use a sourdough starter and yeast respectively as their primary leavening ingredients.

Which Is Better Quick Bread or Yeast Bread?

Neither quick bread of yeast based bread can truly be called better or worse than the other. This is because whilst quick breads may take less time to make, they will fundamentally taste different to yeast bread.