When I find myself with too many vegetables (currently up to my eyeballs in zucchini and summer squash here), like a typical pastry chef, I start baking them into the center of things.
This loaf is appropriate for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and
snack time. It is supremely moist and dominated by the flavor of toasted pecans, vanilla, and lemon zest. Were it not for the bright green flecks of zucchini skin suspended throughout the grain, it would be hard to guess that the primary ingredient is squash. Lately I’ve been grating a little yellow summer squash into this recipe along with the zucchini because I have so much of both
kicking around and because yellow squash performs just as well, lacking only the vibrant green that zucchini brings to the grain. This recipe was adapted from Baking Illustrated.
Recipe for Zucchini Nut Bread
- 1 pound of zucchini/yellow summer squash, seeded (only if well-developed seeds are present), shredded, and drained of excess moisture
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda, sifted
- 1 teaspoon baking powder, sifted
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup toasted pecans (or walnuts), chopped
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 2 eggs (I substitute with 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed dissolved in ¼ c + 2 tablespoons warm water because I am allergic to eggs)
- ¼ cup plain yogurt
- 1 ½ teaspoon geniune vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Zest of ½ lemon
1. Preheat the oven to 375° F.
2. Prepare the baking pans. If using nonstick, no preparations is required except a quick wipe with a towel to remove dust/particles. If using conventional baking loaves, grease and flour the pans.
3. Shred one pound of summer garden squash
on a box grater or in a food processor.
4. Squeeze the excess moisture out by hand. The amount of liquid removed should be significant. Wet squash will yield soggy bread so don’t skip this step. Allow the squash to continue to drain in a sieve while measuring the rest of the ingredients.
5. Toast the pecans whole in a 350° oven
or toaster oven until fragrant (about 10 minutes), allow them cool, then chop them into granules.
6. In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients
(flours, sugar, leavening, salt, and nuts). Sift the leaveners to eliminate any lumps.
7. In a smaller bowl, combine the wet ingredients
including the lemon zest and stir them to combine.
8. Add the shredded, drained squash to the dry ingredients and with two hands, break up clumps and stir thoroughly to distribute the vegetables and evenly coat them with flour.
9. Immediately add the wet ingredients and stir
with a spoon or spatula until just combined. The batter will have the consistency of a thick paste. Do not over-mix the batter at this stage or the bread will be dense and tough.
10. Distribute the batter evenly
(I use ice cream scoops to portion) into four mini loaf pans or in one standard 9” x 5” loaf pan. I prefer using minis because they bake faster and more evenly. Also then it’s possible to give a loaf or two away.
11. Bake in the center of a 375° oven for about 1 hour or until the bread has a golden-brown crust on top. The internal temperature should reach 200°. Do not over-bake.
12. As soon as the breads are out of the oven, remove them from the pans and set them on a drying rack to cool.
13. Once cool, bag the loaves
or put them in an airtight container. They may be stored at room temperature for five days. For best results, eat thick slices with generous pats of butter.
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