Lemon Zucchini Olive Oil Bread

My baking tends to skew sweet, but that’s not really on purpose. It mostly corresponds to the fact that I bring a lot of my baked goods to parties and dessert is usually a better fit for that. Also, I noticed that a lot of the savory recipes I save are things that say “serve warm” like biscuits or scones… and I rarely serve baked goods at actual meals vs. bringing them to share with a crowd. I am determined to bake more savory things this year- let me know if you have recipe suggestions for things you can bring to events!

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Final batter prep- folding in the zucchini

I recently threw a birthday and wanted to provide a full range of baked goods for my friends to enjoy (more on that in a future post!). I wanted to make at least 1 thing that skewed savory, but didn’t really have a lot on my list that seemed fitting for an hours-long party at a bar. This recipe caught my eye from my list, and I’m glad I finally gave it a try. Now, to be fair, it does have turbinado sugar on top. So it isn’t 100% savory. But, it still was a nice contrast to a table full of cake and brownies! The bread has a wonderful medley of flavors. Zucchini, lemon zest and olive oil give the bread a lot of depth, and a really nice combo of tastes when you take a bite. It’s rich, but not overwhelming. You taste different flavor notes as you chomp through and the combined effect is rather satisfying. The lemon in the bread adds a little bit of zing to the bread and plays really nicely off the zucchini and olive oil. I truly love olive oil in baked goods– it’s something I plan to experiment more with this year!

I suppose you could skip the turbinado sugar on top- the bread itself is really delicious and you definitely don’t need the sugar. I considered ditching it since I didn’t have any, but decided to just spend the $3.50 and buy some Sugar in the Raw. I do think the sugar added a nice effect to the top because it bakes into a sort of sugary crust on the top of the bread.

This bread takes a long time to bake, so make sure you plan for that. You’ll also want to wash and prep your zucchini a bit ahead of time so you can press out the extra water. You don’t want to throw in super watery zucchini- it will change the texture of your batter.

More birthday party recipes will come soon- I made 7 things, so there’s plenty more to share with you!

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Letting it cool in the pan

Lemon Zucchini Olive Oil Bread

Original recipe:  Not Without Salt; I’ve edited the steps and added some commentary below 

Yield: 1 9×5 loaf (or smaller) 

Suggested equipment: Nothing special 

Total Time: 1.5 hours

Cook Time: 70 minutes 

Ingredients

  • 3 cups grated zucchini (from 1 pound zucchini)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups (about 256 grams) all-purpose flour, sifted, plus more for the pan
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated nutmeg
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Zest from 2 large lemons
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar (You can buy Sugar in the Raw for this. It is pretty easy to find and not super expensive. I don’t think the effect would be as nice with regular sugar but I bet you sea salt sprinkles would work nicely, just with a different end result than the sweeter turbinado sugar) 

Step by Step Directions

Prep your zucchini 

  1. Grate your zucchini
  2. Blend zucchini with 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  3. Give the zucchini time to strain so your zucchini isn’t super watery when you add it into the batter. To do this- transfer the mixture to a strainer and set it over a mixing bowl. I then put a bowl inside the strainer on top of the zucchini to help push water out. The original instructions suggest to fill that bowl with water so it pushes more heavily but you don’t have to. You also can softly blot the zucchini with paper towels

Make your bread 

  1. Put a rack in the middle of your oven, and preheat the oven to 350F
  2. Grease or line a 9×5 loaf pan. I only had a 9×4 so I used that and just made sure not to use every bit of batter- you don’t want your bread to overflow!
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, ginger, baking powder, baking soda, and nutmeg
  4. In another bowl, whisk together the 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, eggs, lemon zest and vanilla until well blended
  5. Add the olive oil in 3 increments. Between each increment, whisk the mixture thoroughly so it is totally combined before you add in more oil
  6. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until no white spots remain. You’ll want to make sure to “flip over” the mixture thoroughly- sometimes dry spots hide on the bottom and the top looks mixed… but the bottom is not remotely mixed. Make sure you flip it over until you don’t find any patches of dry ingredients
  7. Do one last “wring out” of the zucchini moisture, either with your hands or using the paper towel blotting technique
  8. Then, add zucchini into the batter and stir it in gently with a spoon so it’s evenly distributed
  9. Pour batter into your prepared pan
  10. Sprinkle the top evenly with the turbinado sugar
  11. Bake for 70-75 minutes. Mine took exactly 70. Use a toothpick in the middle to check if it’s done- the toothpick should come out totally clean when your bread is done
  12. Cool the bread in your pan for 20 minutes, then turn it onto a cooling rack to cool completely

The original recipe suggests toasting slices of the bread and topping them with butter and sea salt. I didn’t do that but it sure sounds delicious!

 

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