Zucchini Bread, with Nuts & Curry Spices

Zucchini (Courgette)

Zucchini (Courgette)

By Cat, Oct 2008 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

Includes: Zucchini Bread with Nuts & Curry Spices: 1. Original recipe; 2. Presoak Method

See also: See also: 1. Wheat (about)2. Other True Grains (about) (includes Spelt)3. Bread & Rolls Menu; 4. Traditional Zucchini Bread; 5. Spices (links to my main website)

In the 1970s, the back-to-the-land movement had everyone growing zucchini in their yards.  But then the question arose:  what do I do with ALL this squash?  The answer was zucchini bread.  I think everyone had the recipe, and everyone got a loaf of zucchini bread as a neighborly present.

That original zucchini bread recipe was made with salad oil (corn or safflower oil).  I’ve never liked using this kind of oil, and now that it’s becoming well known that these high-heat-extracted vegetable oils are not good for you (they are rancid and contain free radicals), I’m glad to see people experimenting with different kinds of fat for this moist bread.

I found my favorite modification on the 101 Cookbooks (1) website.  It is made with butter and whole wheat pastry flour, and contains nuts.  A unique twist in the recipe is the addition of curry powder; I would use garam masala as the curry, as it is sweeter (link is to my Spices article).  The original recipe also contains ⅓ cup poppy seeds and ½ cup chopped crystalized ginger, which I don’t use–just too many flavors.

While the original recipe calls for white and brown sugar, I prefer to use stevia & date sugar, or stevia & Rapadura sugar.

The first time I made this, I didn’t pre-soak the flour, as I wanted to see just what the texture would be like. But for future, I prefer to pre-soak the flour because it makes the flour more digestible and increases its nutrient content.

Zucchini Nut Bread

Yellow Summer Squash

Yellow Summer Squash

Makes 2 loaves of slightly spicy, sweet cake-like bread. You can use green zucchini, or yellow summer squash (pictured left, from Wikimedia Commons) in this recipe

I recommend using a stand mixer. My largest mixing bowl (not counting my Dad’s bread bowl which is used exclusively for yeast bread) barely contains the final batter, and it’s hard to stir in the nuts.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 1 ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • zest of 2 Organic lemons
  • 3 cups grated zucchini (about 3 medium)
  • ½ cup Organic butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp stevia extract powder (or 1 cup Rapadura sugar)
  • ½ cup date sugar (or Rapadura sugar)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 3 cups whole wheat or spelt flour (or mix of whole grain and unbleached white)
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder (aluminum-free)
  • 1 tsp Unrefined sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp garam masala or other curry powder
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger (optional)
  • small bowl
  • 2 large bowls
  • wooden spoon or hand-held mixer
  • rubber or silicone spatula
  • two loaf pans

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Butter and lightly flour baking pans (or line with lightly buttered parchment).
  2. Grate zest of lemons and chop nuts.  Combine in small bowl and set aside.
  3. Grate zucchini, with peel, into large bowl.  Set aside.
  4. Beat butter in large bowl until fluffy.  Cream in sweeteners (stevia, date sugar, Rapadura sugar).  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Stir in vanilla and grated zucchini.
  5. Sift dry ingredients over batter and fold in until just mixed.  Then fold in nut mixture (you can reserve a few to decorate the top of the loaves, if desired).  Be careful not to overmix.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pans.  Using spatula, ensure the top of the batter is level.  Pick up each pan about a foot off the counter, and drop to the counter (this helps to level the batter).  Decorate top of the loaves with reserved chopped nuts, if desired.
  7. Bake in preheated oven about 40 – 45 minutes.  You’ll get the most moist result if you remove the breads when they are just slightly underdone, as they will continue to cook after removal from oven.
  8. Cool in pan 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool on racks.

Zucchini Nut Bread – Presoaked Flour Version

Makes 2 loaves of slightly spicy, sweet cake-like bread.

Why presoak? Soaking whole grain flour in acidic liquid (like yogurt or lemon juice added to water or milk) activates the phytase enzyme in the grain, which then frees the bound minerals, making them available for absorption.

This version took some thought to develop, since the only moisture comes from the zucchini. And then you don’t know how much liquid you’ll get from the squash, so you don’t know how much flour you can soak until after you measure the amount of liquid drains from the squash (you need roughly twice as much flour as the amount of liquid). If you are intimidated by math, you may not want to try this version

I recommend using a stand mixer. My largest mixing bowl (not counting my Dad’s bread bowl which is used exclusively for yeast bread) barely contains the final batter, and it’s hard to stir in the nuts.

Recipe

Equipment

  • colander and bowl
  • glass measuring cup (to measure drained liquid)
  • small bowl
  • stand mixer with large bowl and fitted with batter blade
  • rubber or silicone spatula
  • two loaf pans

Pre-Soak:

  • liquid from 3 cups grated zucchini (about 3 medium)
  • ½ tsp Unrefined sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 – 2 cups whole wheat flour (see Method to determine how much to use)
  1. Grate zucchini; add ½ tsp of the salt and stir to combine. Place in large strainer over a bowl to collect the juice and let sit for an hour or so to drain.
  2. Pour liquid into measuring cup and reserve the zucchini pulp in refrigerator for the next day. Add 1 Tbsp lemon juice to the zucchini liquid. You’ll get between ½ and 1 cup juice, but it’s important to know just how much; when I tested the recipe, I got ¾ cup liquid.
  3. If using stevia powder, stir it into the liquid until it dissolves.
  4. Measure twice the amount of whole grain flour into a medium bowl.  In this example, I used 1 ½ cups flour (¾ cup liquid x 2 = 1 ½ cup flour).
  5. Stir liquid into measured flour and mix well.  cover with a cloth and let rest at room temperature overnight.

Next Day

  • reserved pulp from grated zucchini
  • 1 ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • zest of 2 Organic lemons
  • ½ cup Organic butter, room temperature (or ¼ cup butter, ¼ cup coconut oil)
  • 1 tsp stevia extract powder (or 1 cup sugar)
  • ½ cup date sugar (or Rapadura sugar)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 1 – 2 cups whole wheat flour (or mix of whole wheat and unbleached white); see Method to determine how much.
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder (aluminum-free)
  • 1 tsp Unrefined sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp garam masala or other curry powder
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Butter & lightly flour baking pans (or line with parchment and lightly butter).
  2. Remove zucchini pulp from fridge to warm.
  3. Grate zest of lemons and chop nuts.  Combine in small bowl and set aside.
  4. Melt butter (and coconut oil, if using), then cool a bit. Beat in bowl of stand mixer until fluffy.  Cream in sugar or date sugar.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Stir in vanilla and zucchini pulp.
  5. Stir in soaked flour mixture until roughly combined.
  6. Measure remaining flour (whole grain, or unbleached white, or mix of two).  Total wheat flour (including what you used in the presoak) should be 3 cups. Subtract what you added in the presoak from 3 cups, to get the amount to add in this step. In this example: 3 cups – 1 ½ cups in presoak = 1 ½ cups to be added in this step. I used ½  cup whole wheat and 1 cup unbleached white.
  7. Add remaining dry ingredients to flour.  Sift over batter and fold in by hand until just mixed.  Then fold in nut mixture (you can reserve a few to decorate the top of the loaves, if desired).  Be careful not to overmix.
  8. Pour batter into prepared pans.  Using spatula, ensure the top of the batter is level.  Pick up each pan about a foot off the counter, and drop to the counter (this helps to level the batter).  Decorate top of the loaves with reserved chopped nuts, if desired.
  9. Bake in preheated oven about 40 – 45 minutes.  You’ll get the most moist result if you remove the breads when they are just slightly underdone, as they will continue to cook after removal from oven.
  10. Cool in pan 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool on racks.

Testing Pre-soak method

8/18/09: made as instructed, using stevia, ⅜ cup date sugar and 2 Tbsp molasses. Also used half butter, half coconut oil, melted together. I forgot to add the vanilla to the buttery-egg mixture. I determined amount of flour to presoak and amount to add the next day as follows:

  • Grated zucchini, stirred in ½ tsp salt and let sit, covered, about 1 hour. Poured liquid into measuring cup – only got ¾ cup with the added 1 Tbsp lemon juice.  So added 1 ½  cups whole wheat flour (twice the amount of liquid).
  • After soaking, added balance of flour (1 ½ cups) as ½ cup un-soaked whole wheat and 1 cup unbleached white, with other dry ingredients, including remaining ½ tsp salt. (Total flour: 3 cups; total liquid: ¾ cup). Next time I may get more or less liquid, so use same method to determine how much flour can be soaked, and how much to be added after soaking.

NOTE:  I could have increased the amount of flour to be soaked by adding ¼ cup water to the presoak liquid (for total liquid of 1 cup, allowing twice as much, or 2 cups of flour to be soaked), and replacing ¼ cup of the total flour as coconut flour. In this example, total flour is 3 cups, comprised of 2 cups whole wheat in presoak plus ¾ cup white flour and ¼ cup coconut flour added next day.

 References

  1. 101 Cookbooks recipe (101cookbooks.com/archives/my-special-zucchini-bread-recipe-recipe.html)

About Cat

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