1 cup sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
2 cups peeled and grated zucchini (two or three of the squash will get you two cups)
2 teaspoons lemon zest (about half a lemon's worth)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons backing powder (if you are making this recipe over 5,000 feet reduce this by half)
1 teaspoon baking soda (again, if you are baking over 5,000 feet reduce this by half)
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¾ cup chopped walnuts (this is optional)
Baking Pans - For a mass bake like this I used 5"x 3" pans because I could get 3 mini-loaves out of each batch, or you can use 1 9"x 5" loaf pan.
Set a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat it to 350 degrees.
Start by peeling and grating your zucchini. If you have a food processor this is a job for that! Though I often find if I am baking only one loaf of this bread that it is not really worth the effort to clean it up. If you are grating the zucchini by hand using a box grater, use the largest size grater. Zucchini have a juice that is supper slippery, so be really careful and take your time. If you have never grated a finger or two, trust me it is an experience you can do without!
Set the grated zucchini aside and in your large mixing bowl or the work bowl of your stand mixer, measure out the oil, eggs and sugar. Beat them together for about 2 minutes using a wire whisk or the flat paddle attachment of your stand mixer.
Add in the vanilla, lemon zest and zucchini. Mix for two more minutes until all the ingredients are well combined.
In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Give this a few stirs with a wooden spoon to mix it all together.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix with a wooden spoon or the flat paddle attachment of the stand mixer until just moistened. Stir in the chopped walnuts (if you are using them).
Now it is time to put it in your pan(s). For this recipe I have found that even a non-stick pan might hang on to the bread a little too tightly and cause the loaf to rip when you turn it out to cool. To avoid this I recommend that you give you pan a good shot of cooking spray.
Slip the pan(s) into the hot oven and bake for 50 minutes. Check with a toothpick to see if they are done. Insert the toothpick in the middle of the loaf. If it comes out clean and dry the bread is done. If not leave it in the oven for 5 more minutes then check again.
Since this is a quick bread we want to leave the loaf in the pan for 10 minutes before turning it out. Just place the whole thing on a wire rack. Before turning it out run a knife around the edges of the loaf just to make sure it has released from the sides. Turn it out onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely before cutting.
This bread just gets better with time, so if you can stand it, you might wrap it in plastic wrap for a couple of days to get the full mature flavor of the ginger and zucchini.
So there you have it, Bread Heads, a lovely tea or breakfast loaf that is more than just empty calories!
A bit of housekeeping - After way to long and a lot of problems and reversals, the Sunday Bread Cook Book, titled "A Liberal Sprinkle of Flour" will be available Dec 1. I want to thank everyone who has been so patient and note that it going to be out just in time for the holiday gift giving season. So if you know anyone who wants to bake better or just needs more step by step instruction in doing so, this is probably the book for them.
The flour is yours.