Tuesday, September 07, 2010
Zucchini Bread Season
This is the time of year when I get out the mixing bowls, turn on the oven and make batch after batch of zucchini bread. We eat the tender, cinnamon-sweet loaves for breakfast on the weekends, or I freeze them or give them away. Sometimes I bake the batter in muffin tins, but most often in small loaf pans.
The zucchini bread was one of my mom’s specialties when I was a kid, and I’ve probably made it every late summer since college. In the last few years I’ve tweaked the recipe, cutting back on the sugar and oil, and substituting whole wheat flour for part of the white flour. But after an earlier batch this summer I realized that I’d gone too far. The bread was too heavy. So I added back in the oil and found a perfect balance I think.
Recently I also remembered another zucchini bread my mom used to make – a savory, white bread. She’d lost the recipe over the years, and finally this summer I tried to make something similar. I used a Joy of Cooking recipe as a jumping off point, and turned my loaf into a flavorful, Parmesan-flecked bread. It’s crunchy on top and tender in the middle, perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. (I think it would be especially yummy with tomato soup.) New York Family Magazine posted the recipe on its site on a round-up of brunch recipes.
Here is the well-tuned recipe for the sweeter bread.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup canola oil
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 cups grated zucchini (use the large holes on a box grater)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease the loaf pan(s) or muffin tin with a bit of canola oil.
2. In a large bowl whisk together the flours, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
3. In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, canola oil, sugar, and vanilla.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir until almost incorporated. Add the zucchini and mix until the ingredients are just combined. Do not overmix or the bread will be tough.
5. Transfer the dough to the baking pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean or with just a few crumbs clinging to it. Begin checking the muffins at 25 minutes, the small loaves at 40 minutes, and the large loaf at 50 minutes.
6. Cool in the pan(s) for five minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.
Yield: 12 muffins, 1 large loaf, or 3 small loaves