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ATK's Zucchini Bread

ATK's Zucchini Bread

It's not quite zucchini season here yet in The Wine Box Garden, but all my zucchini flowers that are blooming gave me a hankering for zucchini bread. I love to cook with ingredients from my garden. In fact, it's one of the main reasons I garden at all; to have fresh, organically-grown ingredients at my disposal. There's nothing like eating fresh produce that was just picked. So far, only herbs, lettuce and strawberries have come from my garden to the kitchen this season. But soon.... soon, there will be fresh ingredients. For this recipe, I leaned on my local farmers at the farmers market for some great zucchini.

One of my go-to cookbooks for baking is The New Best Recipe cookbook from America's Test Kitchen (ATK), the patient geniuses behind Cooks' Illustrated. They make a dish about 30 different ways 60 different times just to come up with the "perfect" recipe. They test recipes, and kitchen equipment and taste-test condiments and other foods - just to find the very best result. When it came time to make zucchini bread, I decided to make theirs. How could I not? I know when I follow one of their recipes, it's going to be good.

Quick Note: They presented a couple of different variations on this recipe that I didn't follow/include. I chose the variation that I like best.

What I like about this recipe is that the inside is nice and moist while the outside is nice a firm and golden. It maintains its shape when you eat it - it doesn't become too crumbly or too mushy. The key is to drain as much water as you can from the zucchini as it holds a lot of water that can turn your bread into mush. Thanks to America's Test Kitchen for doing all that testing for me so I could just bake and enjoy this delicious zucchini bread recipe. Hope you'll give it a try too.

Now.....if only my own zucchini were ready to use...

Loaf of zucchini bread waiting to be eaten

Loaf of zucchini bread waiting to be eaten

Ingredients

2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
1 pound zucchini, washed and dried, ends and stem removed, cut in half lengthwise, and seeded if using large zucchini
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 plain non-fat yogurt
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Set shredded zucchini in a strainer over a large bowl.

Let the water drain from the zucchini.

Let the water drain from the zucchini.

Wrap zucchini in cheese cloth and squeeze.

Wrap zucchini in cheese cloth and squeeze.

Zucchini holds A LOT of water! I squeezed 3/4 cup of water from just 1 pound of zucchini. 

Zucchini holds A LOT of water! I squeezed 3/4 cup of water from just 1 pound of zucchini. 

Directions

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease the bottoms and sides of a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan; dust with flour, tapping out the excess.
  2. Shred the halved zucchini on the large holes of a box grater or use a shredding attachment on a food processor. Toss zucchini in a large bowl with 2 tablespoons of sugar.
  3. Spread zucchini/sugar mix in a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl and allow to drain for 30 minutes.
  4. Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl until combined. Set aside.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk sugar, yogurt, eggs, lemon juice and melted butter until combined. Set aside.
  6. After the zucchini has drained, place the zucchini in a double-layer cheese cloth and squeeze it until as much water is drained out as possible.
  7. Stir the zucchini and the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture until combined. (The texture will be fairly thick.)
  8. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula.
  9. Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 50-60 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool for at least 1 hour before serving. 
The bread can be wrapped with plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.
The texture will be thick as you mix it.

The texture will be thick as you mix it.

Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth it out before backing.

Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth it out before backing.

The end result

The end result

Lavender Lemonade

Lavender Lemonade

Garden Journal - June 15, 2016

Garden Journal - June 15, 2016