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I make several different types of breads (apple, banana, etc.). All of them have some commonalities, which includes that they start out life as a batter, don't require yeast (baking soda and hot water does it), and use normal (not gluten-free) flours.

What I can't quite figure out is whether resting the bread will have any impact on it. I know (from sources including this question that gluten makes many flour-based dishes (like crepes) gummy.

But does that apply to breads? Is there any significant difference if I actually rest the batter before baking?

If it matters, I mix aggressively with a KitchenAid mixer (so I expect there to be lots of gluten).

  • Related question where the answers explain how leavening works: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/32291/…. – rumtscho Sep 22 '14 at 17:22
  • And a note for people who want to up/downvote: downvoting without comment is acceptable behavior in our community. It is more courteous to the OP to leave a comment, but please don't get the impression that it is required. – rumtscho Sep 22 '14 at 17:25
  • no, the general rule is not that you should leave a comment. Askers have frequently asked for such a requirement to be technically implemented, but it has always been turned down, because downvoting serves other important functions than suggesting improvements to the asker, and voters should feel free to do it without also do the suggesting-improvements part, rather than skip the whole downvote because they don't want to leave a comment. I agree that it is an unpleasant feeling to get downvoted without apparent reason, and ideally a downvoter will take your distress (cont.) – rumtscho Sep 23 '14 at 14:42
  • (cont.) into consideration, as well as the added benefit of giving you a suggestion, when taking the decision whether to leave a comment or not. But still, they should not feel that there is pressure to leave a comment, or that it is a bad thing not to do so, it is perfectly acceptable to do it. Sadly, this system does have its downsides, including sometimes having good quality questions getting low scores for no reason; on sites with more activity the upvotes make up for stray downvotes, but we have very few votes here overall. On the other side, you yourself are under no obligation – rumtscho Sep 23 '14 at 14:47
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    It's not about culture fit, it's about the network purpose. All stackexchange site are created to be extremely efficient ways to transmit/publish quality information. Some of the instruments needed for that - for example the ability to easily pass negative judgement over content - are at odds with people feeling good about the interaction. But the sites just accept that tradeoff, because we haven't found a better way to reach our purpose. I see how it feels unfortunate if you came here looking for a supportive, understanding community. It has tripped me up quite a few times too. But – rumtscho Sep 23 '14 at 19:00
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The leavening action of baking soda begins as soon as it is moistened - that is as soon as you mix your wet and dry ingredients your baking soda begins the chemical reaction that creates the carbon dioxide which causes the rise in your quick bread. Because of this I would say that there is no advantage, but in fact a disadvantage to resting a quick bread. Also, it is usually recommended to mix quick breads as little as possible and over mixing them can cause them to be tough.

  • What exactly is a quick bread? And why does the recipe call for mixing the baking soda with water? – ashes999 Sep 19 '14 at 12:57
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    Quick breads usually are any breads that are leavened with something other than yeast. For example - muffins, biscuits, pancakes, cornbread, etc. Usually this takes the form of mixing all dry ingredients, all wet ingredients, and then the wet and dry together. I admit I haven't seen any where you mix the baking soda with water directly. Do you have link to the specific recipe? – djmadscribbler Sep 19 '14 at 19:57
  • I don't have a link, sorry. I'm not sure where this recipe originated. – ashes999 Sep 19 '14 at 20:25
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Any time you have a recipe that calls for dissolving baking soda in hot water before mixing with other ingredients, it is done to enhance the color of the final product. Baking soda is a leavener and also contributes to browning in baked goods. Many, but not all, recipes that call for this added step also include some baking powder in the recipe (I repeat - many, but not all).

As for the resting issue, quick breads should not be rested. Resting can exhaust the leavening agent. Resting allows for the formation of gluten (kneading accelerates that process, but time also contributes to the formation of gluten). Quick breads should be quick - mixed until the ingredients just come together - and baked immediately.

Most sources recommend mixing briefly by hand with a spatula or wooden spoon. Your stand mixer and aggressive mixing will probably contribute to tough quick breads.

  • Why do you say that resting allows for the formation of gluten? I thought resting decreases gluten (hence why you rest crepes before cooking them). – ashes999 Sep 23 '14 at 13:14
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    Basically, gluten begins to form when flour is combined with liquid. For yeast breads, gluten is desirable and its formation can be accelerated by kneading OR can be allowed to develop on its own over time (that's what happens in the "no-knead" bread variations that are all the rage these days). With quick breads, gluten is undesirable. Gluten begins to develop during resting - not a lot, but some. More problematic with resting is the exhaustion of the leavening agent. As for crepes, resting allows any bubbles from mixing to subside - bubbles can cause crepes to tear when they cook. – Stephen Eure Sep 23 '14 at 14:12
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    @ashes999 Stephen is correct about gluten formation - the process is called autolysis, and is what makes no-knead-bread possible. The gluten just forms due to basic brownian motion, instead of being accelerated through the agitation in the kneading. As for crepe mixture, the bubbles are a very small part of it. The main reason is that you want a well-hydrated starch, which makes for a nicer, smoother texture. It's less important with today's finely milled white flours (the flour grains are penetrated quickly because they're small), but still soaking improves quality. – rumtscho Sep 23 '14 at 19:16
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Here's an interesting discussion on "resting" batter.

http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/08/07/harold-mcgee-on-letting-batters-rest/

Harold McGee on Letting Batters Rest By The New York Times

August 7, 2008 5:33 pm August 7, 2008 5:33 pm

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    Lana, thanks for the link. It's a good idea to also summarize what's in it, just in case of link rot. I suspect that although the initial response is about thickness & hydration, this part might be more important: "Good point, Doug, you’d want to make up and rest these batters without the chemical leavening, and add the leavening just before cooking." – Joe Nov 2 '15 at 19:04
  • Hi, and welcome to the site. We generally discourage link-only answers (because links change/break). Could you possibly quote, and summarize the key points from that link? – ashes999 Nov 2 '15 at 19:12

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