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Quick breads with doughy center

When I make a quick bread it often comes out looking great, but then sinks in the center as it cools and is doughy/uncooked (yuck) in the middle. What am I doing wrong?


  • 1) Using the wrong size or shape pan could make it harder for the center to cook fully in the designated time.

    2) Are you testing with a skewer or toothpick before deciding it looks done?

    3) Do you use an oven thermometer, or have you tested the oven temperature?

    4) Are you preheating the oven fully? That means the oven, not the air inside it.

  • Hi Raphaela - I’m sorry I missed your question! Claire, above, gives some good advice as to why your quick bread may sink in the middle. I would also add the following:

    * confirm that your leavener (baking powder and/or soda) is active and you are using a reliable recipe that includes the proper amount of leavener. You can test your leavener by adding a small amount to a small bowl of vinegar. If it becomes fizzy, it’s still active.

    *The proportion of wet to dry ingredients may be off. It’s always best to use the weights given in the recipe, if there are any, and to make sure to use a volume measurement for fruits. For example, if a recipe calls for 4 bananas it’s hard to know how much actual fruit 4 bananas will yield. Instead we call for, and recommend using, a cup measurement for bananas. In this case, that would equate to 2 cups of mashed banana.

    The most important thing is to test with a toothpick before pulling the bread out. Every oven is different and times can differ. If a toothpick comes out clean it means the bread is fully cooked and will not sink.

    Hope this helps!

    Best, Lynn C.

  • For years I had the same problem with an otherwise-exceptional pumpkin bread recipe. Then, I got a terrific book by (I don't know if it's "Kosher" to recommend a book that's not published by Milk Street, but here goes...) Shirley O. Corriher, called "Bakewise." Corriher is a bio-chemist so she focuses a lot on the chemical reactions that take place when cooking and baking. She explained that this type of problem is often the result of using too much chemical leavener in the batter (which seems counter-intuitive). Here's how she explains it in her book:

    "When a recipe contains too much baking powder or soda, the bubbles get too big, run into each other, float to the top and POP -- there goes your leavening! Your cake or muffins will be very heavy or fall completely. This is a widespread problem. Even in 'good' cookbooks there are many recipes that contain excessive amounts of leaving agents. Unfortunately, this leads to heavy cakes, quick breads, and muffins. Often the problem is with the quantity of baking soda. Each teaspoon of baking powder contains only 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. Baking soda is strong stuff! It should be used carefully and cautiously. For each cup of all-purpose flour in a recipe, use no more than 1 to 1 1/4 teaspoons of baking powder or 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda."

    In total, she writes for about 2 1/2 pages in greater detail, giving info about how to calculate the correct amount of baking powder and/or baking soda for your particular recipe, but this post would be way too long if I copied it all. I would recommend that you check with your local library to see if Bakewise is available, and look up the detailed info on pages 48 thru 51.

    Anyway, I used the info in her book to adjust my pumpkin bread recipe, and voila! No more sunken center!

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