Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.
Today: Quick bread’s answer to paper vs. plastic.
If you are searching for the right holiday or hostess gift, fresh-baked quick breads are always the answer: They're comforting, universally loved, and -- like homemade donuts -- members of the select family of baked goods that work perfectly as both dessert and breakfast.
Baking a quick bread, by definition, should be easy. Wrapping it so it stays fresh and looks classy (and not like a sad bake-sale castoff) is even easier. All you need is 20 seconds and some waxed paper or parchment. Here's how to make your quick breads look pretty for all your holiday gifting needs.
Choose Your Weapon
Leave the plastic wrap and aluminum foil in the drawer with the baggies and orphaned twist-ties. Plastic wrap will make especially moist quick breads (pumpkin, banana) gummy, while aluminum foil tends to crinkle and looks a little too pulled-from-the-freezer. Waxed paper or parchment is the way to go here. Waxed paper balances form and function -- it’s the designer sofa of kitchen wraps, if you will. It allows you to wrap your quick bread so it looks elegant and also keeps it fresh.
Wrap It Up
Wrapping a full-sized loaf of quick bread works best with parchment paper, which tends to come in a wider dimension than waxed paper, although it gets a bit more crinkly, and less smooth. (Waxed paper is the perfect size for mini-loaves, but can also be used for full-sized loaves, too -- more on that below.)
Here's how to wrap a mini loaf:
Cut a length of paper about four or five times the width of your loaf, and place the bread in the center. Draw the ends of the paper together above the bread, then fold the paper down several times in two or three crisp folds until it’s flush with the top of the quick bread. If there’s enough width to fold the sides under, great. Press the center of the paper down, fold each sides’ “wings” into points, like you’re making a paper plane, and tuck them under.
If you’re going to be a little short on the sides, just trim the excess width off so it is flush with the quick bread (see below). Draw the ends of the paper together above the bread, then fold the paper down as described above, and secure it with some twine or ribbon. For storage purposes, you may want to place it in a bread box or bag after 24 hours since the sides are exposed -- in case yours is the first loaf in history to not get housed within a day -- but as a gift, this presentation will look clean and elegant.
Here's how to wrap a standard-sized loaf with wax paper:
Photos by James Ransom