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.
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.