Sunday, July 5, 2009

Zucchini Bread

I picked up some zucchini at the local produce stand last week, and I really wanted to find something fun and interesting to do with it. First I used it in my summer vegetable risotto, and then while flipping through my Baking Illustrated cookbook, I came across a recipe for zucchini bread. I just can't tell you how much I love Cook's Illustrated. Seriously, they test and retest every aspect of every recipe, and the results are consistently amazing.

This was no exception. The bread was light and sweet, without being too overpowering. There is less sugar in this version than in a typical recipe, which really lets the zucchini shine. Its no secret that I'm a big fan of the sweet and savory, so of course I loved this bread. But I have to say, the crust was my favorite part. It was sweet and crunchy, and absolutely delicious. I had to stop myself from just picking off the crust. And as a bonus, Caroline and Joey loved the bread too!

Just a few notes... the recipe calls to shred the zucchini and toss with some sugar, then allow to drain for 30 minutes. Since zucchini has a high water content, draining it before mixing it into the batter keeps the bread from becoming too soggy. I omitted the nuts since Caroline hasn't had nuts yet, but the original recipe calls for 1/2 cup chopped and toasted pecans or walnuts.

Zucchini Bread

adapted from Baking Illustrated, pages 28-30
  • 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
  • 1 pound zucchini, ends and stems removed, halved lengthwise and shredded
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten lightly
  • 1 Tablspoon juice from 1 lemon
  • 6 Tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter and flour a 9x5 loaf pan.

Shred the zucchini on the large holes of a box grater, or using the grater attachment of a food processor. Toss with 2 Tablespoons of sugar, and allow to drain for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and whist until well blended. Set aside.

Whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons sugar, yogurt, eggs, lemon juice, and melted butter in a small bowl. Set aside.

After the zucchini has drained, squeeze in several layers of paper towels to absorb excess moisture. Stir the zucchini and the yogurt mixture into the flour until just moistened. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula.

Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Cool in the pan 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool for at least an hour before serving.


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