Baking the perfect zucchini bread doesn’t sound like a big deal. Yet, once you end up with a strange crack on the loaf’s surface, you start to second guess yourself: Why does my zucchini bread crack on top?
Usually, types of quick bread like zucchini bread form cracks on top due to internal pressure. This pressure can happen if the batter is too dry or too wet, you’ve over-mixed it, or you’ve added too much leavening agent.
In this article, we’ll dive deeper into how these causes affect your bread’s appearance and how to steer clear of them.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at our culprits!
If you’ve got one long, healthy-looking crack along the bread’s surface, chances are it’s a normal, even desirable occurrence.
Most types of quick bread have this crack due to the top part setting before the lower portion.
In this case, you don’t have a problem. Just let your bread cool down at room temperature and slice it when it has rested to enjoy its flavorful taste!
Troublesome cracks, on the other hand, appear as too many deep grooves, gaps, and fissures on the top of your zucchini bread. These are likely caused by the following scenarios.
If your bread batter is too dry, it won’t have enough moisture to maintain its shape and keep from cracking. Here, you can expect numerous cracks on its surface due to the evaporation of the remaining moisture after exposure to the oven’s heat.
A too-wet batter isn’t better off, either. In this scenario, the bread may harden alongside the pan’s edges and bottom, but the middle will remain soggy.
Soon enough, the middle will collapse on itself, resulting in a big, mushy crack in the center of your bread loaf.
Don’t stray far from your zucchini bread recipe’s ingredients. Also, make sure you use the right measuring tools while adding ingredients so as not to mess up the proportions.
A good idea to prevent excess moisture is to grate your zucchinis instead of mashing them. If you end up with a watery consistency despite everything, you can squeeze the extra moisture from your zucchinis before adding them to the rest of the ingredients.
Another mistake that many novice bakers make while preparing zucchini bread is over-mixing its ingredients. If you beat the batter too hard for too long, you simply create unstable pockets of air that will fall apart during the baking process.
As a result, their collapse will leave several cracks in their wake.
The best way to go about mixing your zucchini bread ingredients is to do it gently by hand. If you must use a hand mixer, set the speed to medium or even low to avoid over-mixing.
Also, only mix the dry ingredients until they’re moist—a few lumps here and there should be fine.
The next reason why your zucchini bread may have cracks on top is due to too much leavening agent. This automatically translates to the bread rising too fast in your oven, which will make it collapse even faster.
Not only will this leave you with unsightly cracks everywhere, but it’ll also result in bitter-tasting bread.
Likewise, not enough baking powder or baking soda doesn’t allow your bread to rise evenly. Some parts may go up while others won’t, which will also cause your bread to crack.
Make sure the amount of leavening agents you’re using is proportionate to other ingredients in your zucchini bread recipe.
In most recipes, you’ll need around a teaspoon of baking powder and another one of baking soda for every three cups of flour.
Leaving the batter to rest on the counter before dropping it in the oven doesn’t seem like the wrong thing to do. Yet, this unassuming habit may be the reason why your zucchini bread cracks on top.
What happens here is that the leavening agents will have too much time to make the bread rise. They’ll react with your liquid ingredients while still outside the oven, then, they’ll lose their rising power once you put the baking tray inside.
Eventually, the bread won’t rise evenly, and it might end up with cracks along its surface. This scenario also gives your zucchini bread a sour taste.
Don’t forget that this leads to the development of gluten, which will leave your bread chewy instead of moist and fluffy.
Avoid waiting for too long before baking your zucchini bread. As soon as you’re done preparing the batter, just toss it in the oven.
There’s no reason to let your batter sit since it doesn’t include yeast; so it doesn’t need to rise outside the oven!
If you’ve been wondering why your zucchini bread cracks on top, you now have your answer.
For the most part, it could be a normal crack that quick bread is known and loved for. On the other hand, too-deep cracks can be a result of over-mixing, the wrong amount of leavening agents, overly wet or dry batter, or leaving the mix for too long before baking.
Thankfully, it’s easy to avoid these mistakes to bake the perfect zucchini bread, even as a beginner!
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.