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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!

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

  • Martha Tracy

    My quick breads dome REALLY nicely, and baking is complete in the expected time, by testing with a cake tester and also a thermopen-type thermometer. But I noticed a couple of times that the slices at both ends of the bread are a fair bit drier than the nicely domed center portion. So I wonder whether I am getting too much dome, and whether I should try those wet-straps that you might use for a domed cake layer …whether something like that would cause a bit less domeing, and maybe more even baking? But I can’t find any comments or discussion about anything like this…thanks for any comments.

  • Hi Martha! Thank you for the question. I think what you are experiencing is a very common phenomenon with quick breads: because they take more time to bake all the way through the center, the edges do bake more – and thus become more dried out, as you mentioned – in the process. The way I handle this is to turn the oven temperature down 25 degrees as the quick bread is about 3/4 of the way through the baking time. It may take a little longer for it to finish baking all the way through, but lowering the oven temperature helps prevent the edges of the quick bread from over-baking and drying out while the center of the quick bread finishes baking.

    I haven’t tried using the cake strips for a quick bread – I’ve only used those for baking traditional cake layers, but if you decide to try it, I’d love to hear what your experience is. Let us know if it helps!

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