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Why do my quick breads turn out flat on top instead of domed?

Sandra asks: My quick breads rise, but they rise square – no doming.  Why is that? They also seem to take a long time to bake, longer than the recipe calls for.  My oven temp is OK, cycles a bit but not out of the ordinary.

Baking SOS says:  What causes quick breads to peak or “dome” is the amount of leavening in the recipe (baking powder and baking soda).  The amount of peaking can also depend on how full you fill the muffin tins or loaf pans.

I would suggest that you first try filling the pans a little bit fuller–close to the top of the pan.  This should probably give you the domed appearance you are looking for.

If that doesn’t work, you might try adding a little bit more baking powder to your recipe to force the batter to rise a little bit higher.  Don’t over-do it, though: too much leavening can give your baked goods a metallic taste.  Start by adding just 1/4 tsp. extra baking powder and work on up from there, if necessary.  (I would not suggest using extra baking soda because it is a “base” and must be balanced with the proper amount of an acidic ingredient in order to react properly.  Baking powder contains both base and acid ingredients, so it works effectively on its own.)

As for the oven temperature, it should be no problem if your baked goods need to bake a little longer.  However, the hotter the oven, the faster it forces the baking powder and/or baking soda to act.  So if you try increasing your oven temperature by 25 degrees, it should also force your quick breads to rise faster and peak nicer.

Good luck!

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