Zucchini Bread

Zucchini Bread

Zucchini Bread is a tradition in the Midwest. Zucchini is easy to grow and a prolific producer… one plant is truly enough for anyone. Once the first zucchini of the season is ready, check daily and harvest at 8-10 inches while the flesh is still firm and the seeds are still tiny. Too many times I have discovered sneaky ones hiding under big leaves, having already made the jump to jumbo. That’s when you make zucchini bread.

In 2018 I made these into muffins and shared a big plate with the staff at Bruns Avenue Elementary in Charlotte, North Carolina. To my delight, they were a huge hit. Maybe Zucchini Bread will become a Southern tradition!

  • ZUCCHINI BREAD
  • Servings: 18-36
  • Time: 0hr 50mins
  • Difficulty: Easy
WHAT YOU NEED WHAT TO DO WHY
  • 2 teaspoons butter
Evenly butter two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans or two 8-inch cake pans; set aside. Place an oven rack just below center; start preheating to 350°F “Convection” (verify with an oven thermometer). Ovens often run hot or cold or preheat slowly.
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 7 ounces (1 cup firmly packed) dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla
Add all to the bowl of a free-standing electric mixer to blend. To prevent spattering, start low before moving to high. Scrape down bowl sides; continue beating 4-5 minutes until creamed (sugar is no longer grainy). Set aside.

Tip: If butter/eggs are not yet room temperature, warm butter on medium power on a microwave-safe plate to soften; warm eggs in a bowl of hot tap water 5 minutes.
Warm ingredients blend easily. Creaming incorporates air for leavening and dissolves sugar, promoting a tender crumb. Brown sugar deepens crumb color and attracts moisture.
  • 15 ounces peeled, seeded and roughly chopped zucchini
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
Purée in a blender or food processor to perfect smoothness (2-3 minutes). At first, there may not seem to be enough liquid, but it will end up looking like green applesauce. Scrape into the creamed mixture (no need to mix). Set aside at room temperature. The milk adds just enough moisture for puréeing. Warm ingredients help dissolve sugar and promote uniform oven leavening.
  • 10 ounces all-purpose flour, bleached
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon double acting baking powder, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Up to 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • Up to ½ cup finely chopped nuts or dried fruit (any combination)
In a 3-quart bowl, whisk all together. Add to creamed mixture in thirds, whisking after each addition just until there is no dry flour. Do not over mix. The batter will be quite thick. With a silicone spatula, scrape out and divide batter evenly between prepared loaf pans (no need to smooth); promptly load into the oven. Weighing flour produces consistent results. Bleached flour is low in gluten, which promotes a tender crumb and adding corn starch dilutes gluten proteins. Adding dry ingredients in thirds decreases overall mixing time, minimizing gluten development. Sifting leavening agents eliminates distasteful clumps.
  Bake until edges start to pull from pan and a toothpick inserted into the center of a loaf comes out clean (30-35 minutes). Cool on a wire rack under an oversized inverted storage container before removing from pans. Covering and cooling in the pans reduces dehydration.

FOR MUFFINS: Makes 36 mini,18 standard, or 9 jumbo. Increase oven temperature to 400°F. Replace loaf or cake pans with ¼-cup (mini), ½-cup (standard), or 1-cup (jumbo) capacity lined muffin cups. Fill each cup ¾ full (a 2 ½-inch ice cream scoop works well for dispensing). Bake until tops begin to brown, edges pull away from pan sides, and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean (8-10 minutes for mini, 11-12 minutes for standard, 15-20 minutes for jumbo).

Zucchini Bread Muffins

TO FREEZE: Encase in freezer bags marked with date/contents. Defrost at room temperature in original bags to minimize dehydration.