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Quick Breads, Easy Presents

Martha Stewart Living, Volume 133 December 2004

When done with a little flair, a small gesture is much more meaningful. Look, for example, at the quick bread. It takes almost no time to make -- quick breads don't require rising or kneading -- but can be a wonderful gift for a hostess or a neighbor.

Quick breads are quick because they're yeast-free; the batter is mixed and put straight into the oven, with baking soda, baking powder, or eggs to give it lift. (Baking powder should be no more than a year old; baking soda, however, will last about three years, as long as it's protected from humidity.) The result is something that seems more like cake than bread (think classic banana bread). The flavors, often sweet, can also be savory.

All are ideal gifts. They taste good and look good, particularly when prettily packaged. Offering quick breads to friends with such care is more than a small gesture. It is a personal one, showing the best sentiments of the season. Give one of these delicious homemade breads as a special holiday present:

Chocolate Marble Bread with Ganache
Carrot and Dried-Currant Muffins
Rosemary Cornbread

It's a Wrap
Try these simple packaging ideas -- they're as easy as the breads themselves. Present muffins in the tin they were baked in, with any drips wiped off, of course. Wrap it in a cellophane bag and then in linen with frayed edges; tie on a tag -- and the recipe if you like -- with twill tape. Bake cornbread in wooden molds, which then serve as gift boxes (they can't be reused for baking). Cover bread in cellophane, then put in a loaf box from a baking-supply store and wrap with loose-weave cotton fabric and sewing thread. Bake bread in a can and cover with rounds of waxed paper, then a round of tissue paper or striped cotton; the whole is neatly tied with waxed-linen thread.

Comments (19)

  • BritMum 2 Nov, 2010

    how long is the shelf life?

  • Nancy_Ann 25 Nov, 2009

    I can remember when I was younger my grandma and mom would make brown bread in the tin cans.

  • Andrea2 21 Dec, 2008

    The tin cans are a wonderful idea! I know we use at least 6 cans of the small condensed milk cans for holiday recipies and those are a very nice size for smaller cookies and candies. Very cute.

  • Andrea2 21 Dec, 2008

    The tin cans are a wonderful idea! I know we use at least 6 cans of the small condensed milk cans for holiday recipies and those are a very nice size for smaller cookies and candies. Very cute.

  • MeowCyn 9 Dec, 2008

    KarmaBee - try a Google search for your Stout Bread recipe. I found one at http://www.recipezaar.com/Imperial-Stout-Bread-276690. Happy Holidays!

  • Gmaof3boys 7 Dec, 2008

    Does anyone know what type or size of can the quick breads are baked in. Also how do you know how long to bake? Any help would be appreciated.

  • KarmaBee 4 Dec, 2008

    The december 07 issue featured these recipes and I lost mine. Does anyone have the Stout Bread recipe? I can't get it at the library andnone of my friends have it either. HELP! It's the best! Martha has pulled it from the online database and everyone is asking when I will make it again. It really is worth hunting out.

  • levty 17 Nov, 2008

    King Arthur Flour Company has the little wooden bakers along with a huge variety of other baking supplies and containers. And the only flour I ever use!

  • audgepodge 10 Nov, 2008

    I love the little wooden boxes. Is there a source for these?

  • audgepodge 10 Nov, 2008

    I love the little wooden boxes. Is there a source for these?

  • janet_fortier 23 Oct, 2008

    I use cans every year at Easter when I make my Babka. I use 2 pound coffee metal coffee cans that I have saved. I grease the inside with Crisco and then put breadcrumbs in and shake them to cover the bottom and the sides. The Babka comes out great and you don't have to cut the other end of the coffee can. Then you can re-use the cans year after year.

  • jayt 8 Feb, 2008

    Martha, When I bake my Christmas Cake I always bake some in cans of different sizes to give as gifts. Everyone loves them and they get to sample my Christmas Cake. I grew up on a rural Ontario farm

  • imnthgarden 21 Dec, 2007

    RE: Poki's question -- it looks like all of these recipes call for the baker to "prepare" the pan (and/or container), as most quick bread recipe. in the case of the Rosemary Cornbread in a wooden mold, a liner is specified. Baking in a can seems odd as compared to the usual, but it is a fun effect!Definitely 'prepare' the can as per the recipe... to remove the baked quick bread from the can, "open" the other (remaining) end of the can with a can opener and simply push it out.

  • capowell 20 Dec, 2007

    This was a great idea. I made Kahlua muffins and instead of using muslim to wrap muffin pans I used decorated kitchen towels and wrapped around tins and bought a wood spoon and tied it horizontally across pan with the decorated wire ribbon tied across pans. Friends who received these just loved them!

  • lilsnikkys 7 Dec, 2007

    i think i can make this envelope idea for my futures x-mas gifts

  • Poki 5 Dec, 2007

    I am assuming that you will need to generously butter and flour the cans to be able to get the bread out easily?! Do you cook at the same temp and length?

  • borsheimt 5 Dec, 2007

    She uses the left over pumpkin can. I think you could use a can opener that does not leave sharp edges on the can if you are giving it as a gift. Pampered Chef has one. She makes enough pumpkin bread to fill 2 bread loaf pans. She divides the batter between 4 cans. They all come out just perfect!

  • tu1angel 4 Dec, 2007

    is this a special can that you can buy or just the regular one? (what about the edges?)

  • borsheimt 4 Dec, 2007

    My grandma makes pumpkin bread in a can and it is the best pumpkin bread I have ever had. If anyone is thinking of making bread in the can it's fantastic. The top is extremely most and the entire bread is wonderfull! I cannot wait to tell my grandma that Martha Stewart had to bake bread in a can on her website - she will be thrilled. She has been baking pumpkin bread like this for many, many years.