Quick breads are breads made with chemical leaveners, instead of yeast. They’re quick in that they don’t have to ferment.
Chemical leaveners are interesting concoctions. They were originally byproducts of salt-making. Most salt is made by boiling or slowly evaporating a brine. This brine could be seawater, or it could be water that was flushed through an underground deposit to dissolve the salt and ease its extraction. Either way, once the brine is reduced to a certain concentration, sodium chloride, table salt, precipitates and is easily harvested. The remaining liquid, called bittern, is still rich in all kinds of other compounds: Epsom salt, for instance, and magnesium. In 1792 sodium carbonate, or soda, was extracted from bittern for the first … Continue reading.