Thursday, August 20, 2015

Lemon Zucchini Bread {Revisited}

A dear friend of mine recently sent me a text asking for a recipe I shared a few years ago in the early days of this page.  Someone had gifted her some zucchini and having tasted my version of zucchini bread once-upon-a-time she was looking to make it for herself.  The only problem was that she couldn't find the recipe anywhere on my page.  Not a trace of the delicious lemony zucchini bread popped up in any of her searches.  Curious, I did a bit of digging myself (it's my blog so of course I can find it right?)

Not so much.  I tried sticking every key word I could think of in my little search box and found every recipe using lemon I had ever posted (a lot, BTW, I really love lemon) but no zucchini bread.  I finally found it after doing a bit of googling- is that a word?- and sent the link back to my friend.  Not without a bit of embarrassment, however.  The original was one of my first posts.  Dark point and click camera photos and some crazy, "artsy" I thought, formatting really showed how much I had to learn back then and just how far I've come.  I made her promise to overlook the pictures and go straight to the recipe.

Looking at that old recipe with it's imperfections and the details that betray all of my inexperience at the time, I couldn't help but feel a bit of nostalgia tangled up with a burning desire to delete that post from the internet immediately.  I held back.  Didn't tap the button.  After all, it is me and it is where I came from.  It was the best I could do at that moment (though that didn't stop me from cleaning up the formatting issues).  But I thought I would see what I could do with the zucchini bread now.  So I lightened it of a bit of its sugar and oil, cut it down to make only one loaf and re-shot the photos so that they reflect the light, summery feel of one of my favorite quick breads.  This is me now.  Proud of who I am and how far I've come.  It's such a satisfying feeling.

Lemon Zucchini Bread
Makes 1 loaf.
For the printable recipe, click here.

This is a revision of an oldie-but-goodie from the early days of the blog.  It was good as it was so I only gave it a few small tweaks that I think make the texture and flavor just a bit better.  The key to working with fresh zucchini is to squeeze out as much of the water as you can.  If not your bread will be dense and soggy.  Neither of those are very appealing.  The other essential to this bread is the pan prep.  You can go traditional with butter and flour, but I really like the way swapping the flour for sugar gives the bread a bit of a sweet crust.

1 small to medium zucchini
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup sugar plus 1 tbs
zest of 1 lemon (preferably organic and unwaxed)
1/3 cup neutral flavored oil
1/2 cup Greek-style yogurt (any fat content you like)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.  Butter the sides and bottom of a 10 inch loaf pan.  Sprinkle the insides with sugar.  Set the pan aside.

Shred the zucchini with the large holes of a box grater or using the shred blade on a food processor.  Place the shredded zucchini in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze as much of the water out as you can.  Leave the zucchini to drain further as you make the bread batter.

Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda and 3/4 cup sugar in a large bowl.  Whisk to combine.  Add the lemon zest to the bowl and  work it through the dry ingredients with your fingertips.  This will release some of the oils in the zest and give the bread more lemon flavor.  Set aside.

In another bowl stir together the oil, yogurt, eggs and lemon juice.  Pour into the large bowl with the dry ingredients and stir just until combined.  Stir in the shredded zucchini.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and spread with a spatula to even it out.  Sprinkle the top with the remaining tablespoon of sugar.  Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes.  The top with be a nice golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread will come out clean.  If the top begins to brown too much before the center is cooked cover the loaf with aluminum foil and continue to bake.  Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack completely before removing from the pan.

The bread will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days if well wrapped.

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