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Friday, September 14, 2012

ZUCCHINI BREAD

It's taken me several years to perfect this bread, so I thought I'd share and save you many of the headaches I have experienced along the way.  From gooey centers, to bottoms of the loaf stuck in the pan, to sunken centers....I've lived it.  So over the past two summers, I've been working on the recipe and cooking method and finally got this sucker figured out.   The only thing now is how to manage the garden.....where do all these zucchini come from anyway?  No matter how much we cut down on the number of plants, we still have way too many.  I mean how much bread (this year - 14 loaves) and zucchini cake (this year - two 13x9") and roasted zucchini (lots) can you stomach?  That doesn't count those we took to work or gave to the neighbors!!    It reminds me of Forrest Gump....shrimp gumbo, boiled shrimp, fried shrimp, baked shrimp, shrimp gumbo.......

Here you go: (makes 2 loaves)
3 eggs
2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup oil (I use canola)
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups grated zucchini
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. lemon peel
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
3 1/4 cups flour

Tip one:  After shredding the zucchini, leave it out overnight to thoroughly dry....Can't tell you how many sunken breads I had by not letting the zucchini dry out thoroughly. I always squeezed it....but I still had problems-the overnight dry is BIG.

Tip two:  cook lower and longer....most recipes I saw had the oven temperature at 350 and cooked for approximately 50 minutes.  Once I lowered it to 325 and cooked it for 65 minutes.  BRILLIANT!

Tip three:  Only use the electric mixer for the eggs, sugar and oil.  Using it throughout overworked the dough.  It's considered a "quick bread" and quick breads are hand mixed.

Tip four:  Since I began adding the mini semi-sweet morsels to my bread ages ago...I always had a problem getting the bread out of the pan.  Big chunks of bread and/or chips were left in the bottom, no matter what greasing method I used (and I used plenty).  So frustrating.  Once I learned to use cooking spray all over and then cut a piece of parchment paper for the bottom it was MAGIC!

Tip five:  I have always used the High Altitude flour (learned that one from my Mom) living in Colorado.  Once I added an extra 1/4 cup of flour, my bread rised, raised, rose? a bit better.  It's typical of most high altitude instructions to add extra flour.  Zucchini bread will never be as beautiful in height as a banana bread, but it did help....and most important, it didn't dry it out.

Instructions:
Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.  Beat the eggs, sugar and the oil using an electric mixer.  Add all the other ingredients by hand; leaving the zucchini and chips for last.  Spray the bread pans with cooking spray and use parchment paper on the bottom.  Divide the dough evenly between the two pans and bake for 65 minutes.

I wrap my loaves while they are still warm first in plastic wrap, then in aluminum foil.  I pretty much have bread all throughout the winter and spring.  A nice big glass of milk and a piece of bread.  Yummy!  Hope you enjoy.

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