Saturday, June 2, 2012

Whole Wheat Zucchini Raisin Nut Bread


Ok, one more zucchini post. Just one for now. I swear.

Ever find yourself with too much zucchini on hand? Is it sitting in your garden, on your shelf or wrinkling in your crisper? I decided it would be better if I had too much zucchini BREAD on hand, instead. At least you can freeze it or give it away.

There was more to my bread-making decision. I would also have to get a certain amount of nutrition from my efforts. In pregnancy, all the books say to eat plenty of grains to get enough fiber. 9 servings a day, in fact - and the good "brown" kind at that. Admittedly, the grain group has always been somewhere near the top of my personal food pyramid. Bread makes me feel bloaty and fills me up too fast, not to mention aggravating reflux.

One recent week, I actually tracked my food groups and confirmed that fruits and veggies do indeed provide a wide base for my diet. And when I say "diet" I don't mean "dieting". What I prefer to eat most of just happen to be plants - 15-20 servings a day. And apparently I tend toward 4 servings of grains at most. So I tried to meet the pregnancy requirements for number of servings of each food group. One day I succeeded, but felt like I was about to explode.

How the heck do people eat this much food? There's just no room in there, what with the slowed digestive processes and the lack of space in my middle (inhabited by some alien, occasionally poking my sides with it's appendages). The minimum food group requirements feel like way too much food, pregnant or not!

In an effort to compromise, and provide my little belly-dancer with proper nutrients, I am trying to add fiber to my diet. I just hate whole wheat pasta. I despise brown rice (gag!). Brown bread sucks. But I am craving sweets and desserts, just a little, so maybe that's the way to go. At least if I make it myself I can have more control over health AND taste.

Back to the bread.

Quick bread is very easy to make. And it's very easy to tweak by using whole wheat flour, or even apple sauce instead of oil, if you please. You can also add various yummies to it, as your heart desires - chocolate chips, blueberries, dried fruits, or nuts - which can also add nutrients.

This is what I thought, as I consulted my tried and true textbook, the Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook for a classic zucchini bread recipe to tweak. It's a good go-to reference for anything basic, old-school or "farmy". My variation is not nearly as original from this text as some other blogger's. But like I always say, only bakers and scientists play with exacting measurements. I don't veer much from the course in baking, since science is not my strong point!

I am not one to republish anyone else's work, but I feel like quickbread is kind of common knowledge among the baking set. I will tell you what isn't common knowledge: you need to be able to curl a good 35lbs weight to stir this recipe's mix. I've got quite a set of guns, thanks to walking my enthusiastic dog Misty, but I seriously thought my arm would fall off when I stirred this! Maybe next time I'll just dive in with my hands instead of a spoon. But messy is really not my style, as I already wash the heck out of my hands 60 times a day. OCD much? I know I'm not alone in that.

I gave away one loaf of the bread. That was yesterday at 5pm, spread among neighborhood friends. Happy to report that as of this morning, all has been devoured. Half of my own loaf is gone too, although my husband complained about my baking. "Stop, I'm going to get fat!" was more specifically what was said. So I would say this classic recipe is a keeper!

Whole Wheat Zucchini Raisin Nut Bread
adapted from Good Housekeeping Illustrated
2 loaves


1 C whole wheat flour
2 C all-purpose flour
1-1/2 C sugar
1 C walnuts, chopped
1/2 C golden raisins
4-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt


4 eggs
2/3 C canola or vegetable oil (can substitute 1 6oz container of applesauce for lower fat)
2 C grated zucchini (use a box grater or food chopper/processor to coarsely grind)
2 tsp grated lemon peel (zest of one lemon)


1. Heat oven to 350F. Grease loaf pans - two 8-1/2" x 4". You can also use brownie pans, like an 8"x8" or one large 9"x13". Whatever you have around - just adjust baking time a bit less for shallow pans.


2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, walnuts, raisins, baking powder and salt. 


3. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a fork. Add oil, zucchini and lemon peel. 


4. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mix and stir until moistened through. 


5. Divide the mix into pans. Loaves bake in 50-60 minutes. Shallow pans take 45-50 minutes. Give them the toothpick test for doneness - when the inserted toothpick comes out clean from the center, it's done.


6. Cool 15 minutes. Loosen edges with a knife and tilt the bread out of the pan. The best serving is a warm slice with a little butter. 






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