Saturday, June 19, 2010

Zucchini Bread

Just this week at work a coworker and I were discussing zucchini bread and serendipitously, it showed up for the first time at the farmer's market this week. I'd has zucchini bread in the back of mind for a few days, so I couldn't resist picking up a few even though they weren't on my shopping list for this week.

I reported the America's Test Kitchen recipe as a written, but made a few substitutions. I used white whole wheat flour in place of the all-purpose flour and used ground nutmeg in place of the allspice. I chose pecans instead of walnuts, although walnuts are also excellent in zucchini bread.

I also found that when I used the 8x4x2-inch loaf pan listed in the recipe that the batter overflowed. Luckily I checked on it early in the baking time and saw that it looked like it was going to overflow and put a piece of aluminum foil on the oven rack below to catch any spills. The bread also browned quite quickly and after 15 minutes I had to put an aluminum foil tent over the top to avoid burning the top. If I make this again, I think I'll try a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan and just keep a close eye on it, as I do anyway. Technical difficulties aside, this bread is sweet, moist, and delicious and well worth the trouble it took to make it.

Zucchini Bread
from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

2 small zucchini (1 pound), ends trimmed
2 c. (10 oz.) all-purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. ground allspice
1/2 t. salt
1.5 c. sugar
6 T. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1/4 c. whole or low-fat plain yogurt
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1/2 c. (2 oz.) pecans or walnuts, toasted and chopped
1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8.5 by 4.5-inch loaf pan. Shred the zucchini using the large holes of a box grater. Squeeze the shredded zucchini between several layers of paper towels to absorb excess moisture.
2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, and salt together in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, melted butter, eggs, yogurt, and lemon juice together until smooth. Gently fold the shredded zucchini and yogurt mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until just combined (do not overmix). Gently fold in the pecans.
3. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the top. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached, about 1 hour, rotating the pan halfway through baking.
 4. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and let cool for 1 hour before serving.

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