On monster zucchini

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?

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6 responses to “On monster zucchini

  1. That summer harvest bread sound yummy! I’m a little sick of zucchini right now – it’s about to swallow my garden whole!

  2. Both recipes look great. I’m a huge fan of the sweets and the second recipe looks a little more up my alley. I had a lot of “baseball bats” last summer because I traveled a lot, but this summer, it’s been so cool, I pluck those puppies out of the garden as soon as they’re ready… I WISH I were sick of zukes – mine have barely gotten going!

  3. That’s fabulous. You sneaked the zukes into your bread without a trace. Sounds good.

  4. Thanks for these recipes. We had a zucchini crop failure this year, but the yellow squash is making up for it. It’s really embarrassing when you don’t see a huge bright yellow baseball bat amongst the green leaves. But it works just as well as the zucchini to shred up. It is very scary, though.

  5. Bobbi, well, I am not sick of it but I am the only one eating it with relish now, so that tells me I need to pull the plants soon. No sense of growing things that won’t get eaten.

    Daisy, I am making another couple of loaves of the sweet stuff today. It’s a really pretty ho-hum recipe (no bells and whistles) but it really holds its own over a couple of days, if it lasts that long, that is.

    CC: Tell Cranky my mandoline is going nuts nowadays “disguising” the things. I made a very pretty tian yesterday with the yellows and the zucchs. Of course it was just me and the chickens who’d touch it. Ah well!

    Jeri, that’s too bad: what do you think happened? My seeds were finally so old (boy you only need six to get a crop going and then thinning them down to 3 is recommended because, really, that is lots of squash) that I ponied up and got new seed this year. And yes, my spooky crookneck was a yellow squash! My favorite dish as a girl was my dad’s beer batter dipped fried crookneck squash. I had a thing for yellow…still do. 😉

  6. Thank you for the recipes! I will be trying them.

    Over here, baseball bats = squash boats! I like to gut them and roast them in the oven, then fill them with a curried quinoa mixture just before serving.

    Yesterday I tried a filling of mainly low-fat ricotta and spinach, and that was pretty yummy, too.
    I Love Squash!

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