Revenge can taste good
This farm life is one of seasonal eating. Our bread is seasonal too.
My take: Anything that we have plenty of is (more or less) fair game as far as all cooking goes, including bread-baking. So, those baseball bat-sized zucchini? I peeled (too thick skins) and cored (too fat seeds, for which the chickens were grateful) and shredded them and did what I do with most summer squash: blanch and freeze them for winter eating. I reserved about 3 1/2 cups to add to some bread, though.
I start this first recipe at 3 and we eat it at 6, mainly because I put a lot of yeast in it. With all the mix-ins I add, I find a short rising period is better as anything longer could lead to microbial mischief with the mix-ins. Trust me on this: this is not a No-Knead long-rise bread.
El’s Summer Harvest Bread (yield: two small-ish loaves)
- 2 cups whole-wheat flour
- 4-6 cups unbleached flour
- 1 T yeast, or 1 packet and a longer rising time
- 1 t salt
- 2 t sweetener (I use honey)
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- about 1 3/4 cups lukewarm water
- Mix-ins: Get creative here.
- 1 cup non-quick oats
- 3/4 cup ground flax seed
- 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 1 1/2 cups shredded summer squash
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add wet ingredients and turn out onto floured counter, kneading and adding flour as you go: this will be a fairly wet dough. Add enough flour so it is easy to knead yet not so wet as to stick to the counter or to you, but not so much flour that it’s impossible to work. (Invert a bowl over the top of it and let it rest 5 minutes or so if you think you’ve added too much flour: this gives the gluten a chance to relax.) Continue to knead about 5 minutes. Place back in bowl and spray top of dough with water; place towel over bowl and let rise about an hour. Remove (scrape) out of bowl back onto refloured counter and divide into two. Form loaves and place into greased loaf pans. Spray tops of loaves with water again and let rise until about 1/2″ above top of the pans. Fire up oven and bake at 400* for 15 minutes, then lower temperature to 350* and continue to cook for another 25-45 minutes: it really depends on your oven. The loaves are finished when they are a nice medium-dark brown and can be easily removed from the pan. Remove from pans and cool on racks; we of course let them cool only 15 minutes or so before tearing into them for dinner.
This is great with summer minestrone. It makes a great morning toast with eggs, too.
Not El’s Zucchini Bread (yield: two small loaves)
- 2 cups unbleached flour
- 1 cup whole-wheat flour
- 1 t salt
- 1 t baking soda
- 1/2 t baking powder
- 1-2 t ground cinnamon
- 1/4 t each ground nutmeg and allspice
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 cup salad oil
- 3 eggs (4 if large)
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 2 cups shredded summer squash
Mix dry ingredients, then, in separate bowl, beat eggs with other wet ingredients and squash. Fold together with dry and mix until just moistened. Divide batter into two greased, floured loaf pans. Bake in 350* oven until done (about 50 minutes to an hour; use a toothpick to find out). Let cool in pans 10 minutes and then cool on wire racks.
It is my experience this zucchini bread disappears quickly. A good thing, because I found another large squash today: a crookneck squash that was beautiful but, well, huge. And yes, scary. How does this happen?