Whenever I don’t know what to make…I end up baking bread. Bread makes me so happy, and unfortunately for my figure you can tell. It is so easy too! And I am sorry but the smell of cake baking cannot beat the smell of bread baking, EVER!
Anyhoo, I look forward to the summer because my neighbor has a kick butt garden and he always gives me zucchini and tomatoes galore. He gave me these three monster zucchini almost two weeks ago and I felt so bad that it took me this long to bake anything with it. But a dance recital and half a week camping can put a crimp in the baking schedule. But what is worse is that he knew I hadn’t baked anything with it because I always give him something I make from the stuff he gives me. I finally made up for it today.
Now, I am a sucker for a good quick bread as much as anybody but I really wanted to make a yeast bread with the zucchini. So I set out on a search and found one. It was on foodnetwork.com and it is from a restaurant that was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. The funny thing is that there aren’t any pictures or anything because the recipe is scaled down for home use and the first thing I was going to do was double it. Sure I wanted to give one to my neighbor but I needed one for me too! I also wanted to experiment with it because even though you could bake it in a loaf pan, I am a sucker for a nice round loaf. I just wanted to see if it would work. It did but I should have scored it before I let it rise the second time, I didn’t and it went a little wild on me.
What I loved about this bread was that my daughter that refuses to eat fruit or vegetables (and would have stayed away from a traditional zucchini bread) grabbed a slice of this as soon as I had sliced any. The herbs are a nice addition but it tends to make it more of a dinner bread (oooh rolls?). That really isn’t a criticism but next time I am not sure I will add any or just add less because I do like the idea of this as a sandwich bread. The zucchini gives it a nice moisture that is lacking in other sandwich breads that I have tried to make.
Two GeekyLinks today. Oh woe is me that we decided to save our kitty’s leg and now have no money for fun stuff like this. Plus, Chris Hardwick is throwing out the first pitch. He is pleasing to the eyes but mostly he pleases my ears twice a week with the Nerdist Podcast. And how come I didn’t find out about this till now? O well, just in time, because my oldest starts 5th grade in the fall and can apply next year.
Zucchini Herb Bread
slightly adapted from Monument Cafe Whole Wheat Zucchini-Herb Bread via Food Network
makes 1 loaf
3/4 cup warm water (between 100° and 110°)
2 tablespoons honey
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (I used about half whole wheat and the other half white whole wheat because I ran out, no biggie)
1 1/2 cups grated zucchini (skins on or off, I think on is pretty)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for greasing bowl
1 teaspoon dried basil, rosemary, or tarragon (I used basil, a pinch of oregano, and another pinch of an italian blend I had sitting around)
2 teaspoons salt
Place your water, honey, and yeast in a small bowl and mix to combine. Set aside for about 10 minutes to let the yeast work.
In a large bowl, combine the flours, zucchini, olive oil, herbs, and salt. Add the yeast mixture and stir to combine. The dough will be shaggy at first. Once it begins to come together a bit, empty onto a floured surface and knead by hand (for about five minutes) till you have a nice smooth ball (adding a bit more flour if needed).
With a spatula scrape off any big dough bits in the large bowl you used to combine the dough and place a teaspoon or two of olive oil in it and spread it around the bowl until it is completely greased. Wipe out any excess. Place the dough ball in the bowl and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm draft free spot until doubled in size (about 1 hour).
Once the dough is doubled, remove from the bowl and knead for a couple of minutes. Place in a greased loaf pan and let rise again till doubled in size (about 30-45 minutes).
If making a round loaf, place your dough on a greased cookie sheet sprinkled with cornmeal or wheat bran. I didn’t but if I would you I would score it with an X on top at this point.
Preheat oven to 325°
One other thing I didn’t do was use an egg wash. I wish I had. So if you want one combine 1 room temperature egg and a tablespoon of water and whisk together. Lightly brush over the top of your loaf just before placing in the oven.
Bake your loaf until golden brown and if using a pan, pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 45 minutes.