take my zucchini bread, please!

It’s that time again. Everyone in the continental U.S. is overrun with zucchini. I’ve got three medium ones waiting in my fridge, and several more threatening on the vine.

A couple of years ago, with my bounty crop, I thought I’d perfect zucchini bread. A dozen or so loaves later, this recipe comes pretty close. I’ve been through internet recipes, my great-aunt’s recipes, and even a granola zucchini cookbook written by Oregon mountaineer commune-ists. Based on the famous Sunset magazine zucchini bread recipe of ’76 (which most recipes are), then doctored for less sugar and oil and more spices and the removal of such blasphemies as canned pineapple, le voilà.  I also added more zucchini, since that’s the point, no?  This makes a moist, non-oily, hearty bread.

For a large garden zucchini, you will be able to make six or more loaves, so plan accordingly. You can refrigerate shredded zucchini overnight and even freeze it, but I found the texture of the bread suffered with frozen, thawed zucchini shreds because of the cellular breakdown. It’s much better to bake the bread, then freeze the loaf, since the loaf freezes beautifully wrapped in foil then heavy duty freezer wrap.

The additions of raisins (peh), carrots, or steel-cut oats or turbinado sugar on top to this recipe all make the loaves pretty.  I particularly like the combination of little flecks of green, yellow, and orange from the zucchini peel, lemon zest, and carrot.  If you know of any other ways to make it your own, let me know what you’ve discovered!

Take My Zucchini, Please Bread

Makes two large loaves or three medium ones.

4 eggs
2 c. sugar (add up to 1/2 cup more if you want it sweeter — the texture will change a bit)
2/3 c. veg. oil
2 t. vanilla

3 c. (packed) shredded zucchini with peel. If you have a monster zucchini, core it to remove the seeds.
1/3 c. milk
2 t. lemon zest

1 1/2 c. white flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. steel-cut oats (these are the ones that look like little pellets)
2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 t. nutmeg
2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/2 t. ground allspice

1 c. chopped walnuts
OPTIONAL ADD-INS: 3/4 c. raisins and/or 1 grated carrot
OPTIONAL TOPPINGS:  steel-cut oats, turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat ingredients in A together until well-combined. Mix in B. In a separate bowl, combine ingredients in C. Just before pouring batter into greased, floured* loaf pans (2 large or 3 medium — batter should fill pan a bit over half full), add D.

To be fancy, add some oats, crystal/turbinado sugar, or a few nuts on top.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until wooden stick comes out clean. You will also see loaf slightly separating from the pan around edges. Invert pan and cool on rack.

*In moments of weakness, I sometimes use the Pam oil/flour spray. It really doesn’t work well; the bread rises unevenly and not so high as with the traditional method. But when you’re baking a dozen loaves in the heat of the summer, reach for the Pam. I forgive you.

9 thoughts on “take my zucchini bread, please!

  1. lovemyfood 13 August 2008 / 12:22 pm

    I have tried to leave a comment twice and just wouldn’t publish…strange…


  2. Eugenia 16 August 2008 / 11:04 am

    Try again? :)


  3. lovemyfood 19 August 2008 / 12:17 pm

    Hi :)

    I was asking (in a more elaborate way…) how sweet does it turn out and whether you tried making it with less sugar?


  4. Eugenia 20 August 2008 / 10:22 pm

    It’s not very sweet, and no I haven’t! If I remember correctly, I reduced it from more sugar. I don’t like sweet things very much…

    You could experiment with reducing the oil and sugar and replacing them with applesauce, I suppose, but I can’t guarantee deliciousness if you do that. :)


  5. lovemyfood 24 August 2008 / 12:15 pm

    Thanks :)


  6. maria 10 December 2008 / 10:34 am

    Dear Eugenia,

    I just happened upon your site…
    Polish deli was my search. Still haven’t
    found the spice ‘savory’ for my homemade
    garlic polish sausage…hmmmm what to do , what to do. Back to you… I love your
    style and find that we share many of the same
    opinions. I am a Polish/Mexican girl from
    Southern Calif who moved to Oregon 7 years ago. One of the only things I miss about OC are the Polish Deli’s.
    Any ideas on where I might find ‘Savory’?
    Thank you so much.


  7. melody 6 May 2009 / 5:19 pm

    the first time i did this recipe i found that the oats were still very raw and crunchy. i am experimenting, but do you have any suggestions? otherwise, LOVE IT!


  8. Eugenia 18 May 2009 / 6:47 am

    Sorry — I somehow missed these questions!

    Maria: savory can be found online at Penzeys.com — I buy most of my spices there. There’s summer savory and winter savory, both good with beans, but winter savory is more pungent. I’m not sure which one Penzey’s stocks, but it’s probably winter. As of last week, there were winter savory starts at Grey’s on W. 6th, if you want to grow your own.

    Melody: Thanks so much for the feedback. I am assuming you made it with fresh supermarket zucchini, since it is early spring? It might not have the moisture content you need to properly soften the oats.

    Although, I must say, the oats do stay a bit crunchy. I like the texture. Maybe you don’t and want a more uniform bread. You could try using quick cooking oats (I have no idea of the proportions though) or soak the steel-cut oats in milk or water for a while to soften them, then drain them and add them to the batter.

    Let me know what you try! I’m sure other people would be interested in variations.


  9. Marsha 26 January 2012 / 4:19 pm

    I froze zucchini and chopped it while it still had frost it worked fine. I used 1/2 oil and applesauce. Pretty much the same recipe, even used muffins tins. No oats. Just depends what you like. liked walnuts in it also. We grew a lot of squash so able to use it in the winter….


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