Happy Thursday! I hope you’re having a good week. Mine started with a weekend full of activity: a two-hour tennis lesson on Saturday followed by a long road bike up to scenic Skyline Boulevard in Oakland. On Sunday I didn’t leave my apartment once: I spent a leisurely day in the kitchen experimenting with recipes from Mark Bittman’s, “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.” I think I have perfected a recipe for some pretty darn delicious lentil burgers and I’m excited to share them with you… soon.
For now, you get zucchini bread.
You see, I’ve got a bumper crop of yellow zucchini and I find myself grating it (or dicing it) and throwing it into just about everything I make these days: omelettes, pasta, muffins, and breads. It adds a particularly moist and chewy texture to baked goods, which is why I love this recipe. The buttermilk further tenderizes the bread and adds a subtle bite. It’s divine.
Zucchini bread is a quick bread, which means it relies on baking soda and baking powder to rise (as opposed to traditional leavened breads, which rely on yeast). This means it’s a little more convenient to make, since you don’t have to wait for the dough to rise before baking. Instead, the bread rises in the oven just once, while it bakes. (Hence the name.) Quick breads can be savory or sweet, but they’re more often sweet and have the texture of a coarse-crumbed cake. They’re great for breakfast or dessert with a cup of coffee or tea. You can even toast a slice and eat it with a dollop of jam or creme fraiche (my favorite!)
The best part? This particular bread is a little lower in fat than many quick bread recipes because the zucchini and buttermilk provide plenty of rich moisture without the added shortening. So you can eat it without the guilt. I made a loaf of this bread last week, brought it to my office, and then set my stopwatch: The entire loaf was gone in 22 minutes.
1 1/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup shredded zucchini
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (Or in a medium bowl using a hand mixer.) Add the eggs one at a time. Whisk in the shredded zucchini, buttermilk, and vanilla.
In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and grated lemon zest.
Add the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture in two to three batches, beating gently between batches just until incorporated. Do not overmix.
Pour the batter into a lightly greased 8 1/2-inch by 4 1/2-inch loaf pan and bake at 350F for 50-55 minutes. The top should spring back when pressed lightly. Cool completely before serving.