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[Mom’s Battle-Tested] Zucchini Bread Recipe

2020-05-18
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Homemade breads are so comforting, but some recipes involve tedious kneading, rising, proofing, and many more steps that can sometimes take the fun out of baking entirely. That’s why I love making this hearty and delicious zucchini bread. No rising, kneading, or any of that nonsense, just mix together a few pantry staples and you’re ready to go!

Haters of zucchini, fear not! You won’t be able to taste the vegetal “green” taste that so many people dislike about zucchini in this bread. It is sweet, but not overly so, and deliciously reminiscent of other favorites like banana or pumpkin bread. 

Ingredients

  • 3 Cups Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 3 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Oil
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Cup White Sugar
  • 2 Cups Peeled & Grated Zucchini
  • 2 Teaspoons Vanilla
  • 1 Cup Walnuts

Method

Step 1

We’ll start out by preheating our ovens to 325 degrees. For this recipe, I like to use a loaf style bread pan. Truthfully, just about any type of baking dish will work. You can make a more cakelike version by using a 9x13 casserole pan and then using a lightly sweet glaze or icing. Muffin pans also work great, and make the product very portable for an on-the-go breakfast. Whichever pan you decide to use, make sure to grease it well with cooking spray, a neutral oil, or butter.

Step 2

Sift together the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon) into a large mixing bowl. Make sure everything is well combined with no lumps. Then, in a separate bowl, combine the eggs, oil, brown and white sugars, zucchini, vanilla, and walnuts (feel free to leave out the walnuts if you’re nut-free). Mix well, and then pour into the dry ingredients. Once everything is incorporated nicely, portion the batter out into your pan of choice.

Step 3

If you're using a loaf pan, bake at 325 for 1 hour and 15 minutes. A shallower sheet pan will require much less time, probably in the ballpark of 30-40 minutes. Muffins will be the fastest and usually take around 10-15 depending on the size of the muffins and the material of the pan itself.

Step 4

After a toothpick inserted into the deepest part of the bread comes out clean with no crumbs, it’s ready to go! Remove from the oven and leave it to cool. I think it is best enjoyed warm, but it keeps well at room temperature for several day easily. Put a pat of butter on a fresh slice for maximum deliciousness!

Do you peel zucchini for bread?

My recipe does call for peeling the zucchini before mixing it in with the bread batter. However, this is actually not strictly necessary if you don’t want to! The fun part of zucchini bread is that it allows you to disguise vegetables in a tasty treat, and no one will ever know (okay, they might know, but you should at least be able to fool your kids!). 

If you don’t want to mess around with peeling the zucchini before incorporating it into the mixture, don’t worry about it! The peel, like the rest of the vegetable, will kind of melt into the finished product. The main difference is that the peel might still be visible once the bread has finished baking whereas the rest of the zucchini (the insides) probably won’t be. 

If visible peel doesn’t bother you and you aren’t trying to pull one over on a picky eater, go ahead and skip the peeling step. The peel adds a bit of extra fiber and possibly some extra nutrients as well, so it might be worth leaving in!

What can I substitute for oil in zucchini bread?

Do you ever get all excited to make a recipe that doesn’t require you to run to the store for a million obscure ingredients, only to find that you’re missing one of the most crucial things? It’s so frustrating, but thankfully there are tons of swaps that you can do for oil in baking. Whether you’re looking to lower the fat content of the dish or just didn’t realize you had run out, there is definitely an option for you. 

A swap that should yield pretty similar results is an equal amount of melted butter. While this will increase the saturated fat content of the recipe, if you don’t mind a slightly more decadent dish then go for it! The flavor shouldn’t change much at all, and most people keep butter around so it’s an easy substitution. 

Mayonnaise is another oil substitute that a lot of people don’t think about. It is essentially just whipped oil, so it’s probably as close as you can get. A lot of recipes say you can swap oil and mayonnaise in a 1:1 ratio, so it’s great if you don’t want to try to guess how much “oil equivalent” you’ll need. 

There are also some more unconventional swaps for oil in baking that will reduce the fat content of the zucchini bread. This is great for those of us on special diets or who are just watching calories in general. A lot of these are fruits, such as unsweetened applesauce or a ripe mashed banana. The texture of the zucchini bread may be slightly altered, but the mashed fruits will keep things moist and add a little bit of welcome sweetness as well. 

How can you tell when zucchini bread is done?

It’s super easy to tell when zucchini bread is done. Like a lot of baked goods, you just need a long cake tester such as a toothpick or skewer that will be able to reach the middle of the deepest part of your bread. You can even use a fork in a pinch, but it might leave a bit of a dent in your zucchini bread! 

If the tester comes out with a lot of crumbs (or worse, liquid batter), your bread is not done yet! Give it 5 or so more minutes and keep checking back. Remember to not have the oven door open too long while you check as this will release heat and make the bread take even longer to cook. 

What does zucchini replace in baking?

Zucchini, like a lot of other fruits and veggies, is very high in moisture content. This means it makes wonderfully soft breads like this one, as well as tons of other baked good variations. In fact, one of the most popular chocolate cake recipes actually has some “hidden” zucchini inside which helps keep the cake super moist and tender. 

As such, it can actually be used as an oil substitute in some recipes. I wouldn’t recommend upping the zucchini content in this particular bread as it may become overpowering, but definitely try it in your next chocolate cake! 

Does zucchini bread keep well in the fridge or freezer?

It keeps exceptionally well at room temperature, as well as in the freezer. I’ve never had to refrigerate mine because I always eat it so fast! The fridge can sometimes dry things out a bit too much, so I would just recommend keeping your extra slices in an airtight container on the counter for up to a week. 

If you want to freeze your zucchini bread, go ahead and slice it up and then freeze the slices on a baking tray lined with wax or parchment paper. When the individual slices are frozen, but them in the freezer safe container of your choice. When you want to enjoy one, simply microwave until it is heated through!

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