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Apricot bread is a type of quick bread that contains pieces of dried apricots or other apricot products. Unlike yeast bread that must be allowed to rise once or more before it can be baked, quick bread generally uses baking powder or baking soda as the leavening ingredient to allow it to rise during the baking process. Quick bread also is denser and often more textured than yeast bread. Some apricot bread may also contain such ingredients as apricot preserves, an apricot glaze or other fruits and flavorings.
Most quick breads, including apricot bread, contain the same basic ingredients. Flour, sugar, spices, salt and leavening agents such as baking powder and baking soda are the most common dry ingredients. The wet ingredients typically include eggs and some type of liquid, such as water, milk or fruit juice. Butter or some other type of fat is also usually required. The fruit is typically the ingredient that gives the bread its main flavor. Once all the ingredients are combined, apricot bread batter is typically not thick enough to knead and must be scraped out of the bowl into baking pans with a spoon or spatula.
It is usually not difficult to get good results cooking with apricot recipes, as long as the right type of apricot is matched to the right recipe. Quick bread recipes usually call for dried apricots that are rehydrated by soaking them in hot water. Fresh fruits contain a great deal of water and can add too much moisture to most recipes, so rehydrated dried fruit tends to work best. In recipes that call for more moisture, apricot jam or preserves may be included with the dried fruit.
Apricot bread typically works best as a quick bread rather than a yeast bread because of the differences in the way the bread rises. The chemical leavening in quick bread gives a denser texture to the bread that allows the fruit to blend well into the loaf. Yeast bread rises because the yeast reacts with the simple sugars in the recipe and creates tiny pockets of carbon dioxide in the dough. This usually requires the dough to be "punched down" once to remove the air, before allowing it to rise again. Fruit inside this type of yeast dough would most likely interfere with the rising process and cause the bread to bake improperly.
Cooking with fruit often requires a combination of fresh and dried fruit as well as other flavorings to achieve the desired level of fruit flavor. Some types of yeast bread may be called apricot bread if they contain sweet ingredients and are finished with an apricot glaze of some sort. Most apricot breads, pastries and baked goods, however, will be a type of quick bread that contains apricots, preserves, apricot-flavored extracts or liqueur and other fruit products.
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