Chicago Tribune

How to use summer's bounty in quick breads that go sweet or savory

Need something easy to add to an otherwise mundane menu? Or something simple to take to a potluck, cookout or another social occasion? What you need is a good quick bread. They're called quick breads because they're quick to make, at least compared to yeast-risen breads, and they fall halfway between cake and bread. Whether sweet or savory, quick breads can incorporate the best of summer's fruits and vegetables.

Quick breads have a rich history in American foodways. Life changed for home cooks back in 1846, when baking soda - often called saleratus at the time - was marketed, making the first quick breads easy to bake at home. Mixed with acidic soured milk or buttermilk that might otherwise have gone to waste, baking soda created a chemical reaction that made possible the gas bubbles that leaven these breads.

Further innovation came 10 years later, when

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