Zucchini bread is a summer staple, but if you are using oil to make it, you are missing out. Vegetable oils were invented and introduced to the public around 100 years ago, this means your great-great-grandma's zucchini bread would have never had oil in it and if your great-grandma used it, it was because it was new, "fancy", and high-tech. Now, recipes use oil to convince you that it will make the bread moister than when using butter. It simply isn't true.
Remember that the flavor of every ingredient counts when you bake. Have you ever tasted raw vegetable, canola, corn, or safflower oil? They aren't good. Most have a fishy flavor. Why would you want those undertones in your garden-goddess zucchini bread?
Oils are also highly concentrated and processed. The processing and short shelf life of these oils cause chemicals in the product that your body can't easily digest, which can lead to weight gain and inflammation. Inflammation causes irritability and no one wants a side of cranky with a delicious slice of warm buttered bread.
Chefs don't use cooking oil to make cookies for a reason, you could but it would ruin the flavor. Think about Angel Food cake. It is one of the moistest cakes ever and there isn't any oil or butter in the recipe at all! Lastly, oil has more calories than butter. Most common recipes for zucchini bread use ¾ cup of oil. That is 12 tablespoons of oil. Each tablespoon is 120 calories for a total of 1,440 calories for the average recipe in oil alone. A tablespoon of butter only has 100 calories.
My recipe makes two small loaves with lots of firm edges and a supple center. It only uses one stick of butter (800 calories) making the bread easier to digest with all the down-home goodness a homemade zucchini bread brings to the table. I use old-time cooking methods for old-fashioned zucchini bread. This recipe will make two loaves.
You can freeze the extra loaf in the freezer overnight. Once frozen solid and vacuum packed it will keep for a deep freeze for a year. Puncture the vacuum bag before thawing. Storing a few loaves is always a real treat in January and February when it is cold and miserable and there isn't any fresh zucchini available for a hot buttery snack next to the fire with a good book.
1 regular stick of cold butter (the large stick - not the baby sticks - and not the oversized brick)
1 cup light brown sugar (you can use regular brown sugar if that is all you have).
2 cups white sugar
⅓ cup milk
1 tsp lemon juice (you can use apple cider vinegar if you do not have lemon juice.)
3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups grated zucchini (skin on or off)
1 cup nuts (optional - I like English walnuts in my zucchini bread)
Heat the oven to 350º with the rack in the center of the oven.
If you aren't fond of crisp tops or edges place a pan of water on the rack below. This will keep the oven humidity high which will keep the tops of the bread moist. Allow for an excess pre-heat time as the water needs to be up to temperature, and use a large enough pan that the water should not completely evaporate in a 50-minute cook time.
Grate zucchini in a food processor or box grater. Using a dry ingredient measuring cup, measure out two fairly packed cups and set them aside.
Grease two regular bread loaf pans with butter or lard, and set aside. Don't use non-stick spray. It also tastes terrible and will ruin your bread edges.
In a separate bowl (not your mixer bowl) mix dry ingredients. Wisk flour, salt, nutmeg, baking soda, and cinnamon until well incorporated.
In your mixer place the solid stick of butter and turn the mixer on. The lumpy butter will smooth out.
Add brown sugar until blended. Add white sugar and let mix until creamed, and by creamed I mean it should not look grainy, but light and fluffy. The sugar needs to be dissolved. This could take five minutes depending on your mixer.
Add eggs one at a time until mixed in.
Add milk and mix until blended.
Add lemon juice.
Quickly fold in the zucchini with a spatula. Do not overmix. The batter will be a little bubbly and that is good. You want those tiny bubbles in there.
Divide the batter between the two loaf pans and place them evenly spaced between the oven walls. Check loaves with a cake tester or toothpick at 50 minutes. If the stick does not come out clean add 10 minutes.
Allow cooling before removing it from the pan and serving. Cutting any bread hot out of the oven will smash it. Warm individual slices in a skillet or the oven before buttering. If you like crispy edges leave it in the skillet until lightly toasted.
Quickly dipping the zucchini bread in scrambled egg with a little sugar, milk, and vanilla makes for a filling and fast french-toast breakfast when laid on a hot greased skillet. Do not let the zucchini bread soak up too much of the egg mixture or the zucchini french toast will not cook in the middle.
I have been homesteading for two decades, growing and processing all of our food here at home. It took me five years to write down my human evolution as learning to live off the land helped me find my true calling and inner peace.
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