Thursday, January 6, 2011

Zucchini Bread

A very Happy New Year to all you wonderful people. I hope 2011 brings a lot of joy, peace and happiness in everyones's lives!!!
I have made a few resolutions this year and since this blog is an important part of my life I plan to be a more sincere blogger this year! Baking is one hobby that gives me immense pleasure and I'm very happy to share this beautiful loaf of Zucchini Bread as my first post of 2011.
Bread baking is a skill and each time I bake a yeast bread from scratch at home, I see myself getting better at this art. It is very satisfying to bake my own bread and I just love the aroma of fresh bread as it is baking in the oven.  I baked this Zucchini Bread last summer when I had bought some fresh zucchinis from a nearby Farmers market. I followed the recipe from my "The Cook's Encyclopedia of Baking" book.
This turned out to be more like an Italian bread - slightly hard on the outside and soft on the inside. We ate more than half of the loaf just by dipping it in some pesto and the remaining half was used to prepare roasted red pepper sandwiches. I smeared the bread with a generous coating of veggie cream cheese and piled some store bought roasted red peppers to make delicious sandwiches.
You can get innovative with the recipe by adding some minced garlic or red pepper flakes or even try adding any herbs of your choice. The bread was absolutely delicious and I highly recommend giving it a try!

Makes 1 Loaf
Ingredients -
1 pound zucchini, grated
1 tbsp minced garlic (optional)
2 tbsps salt
1 package active dry yeast
11/4 cups lukewarm water
31/2 cups flour
olive oil, for brushing

Method -
1. In a colander, alternate layers of grated zucchini and salt. Leave for 30 minutes, then squeeze out the moisture with your hands.
2. Combine the yeast with 1/4 cup of lukewarm water, stir and leave for 15 minutes to dissolve the yeast.
3. Place the zucchini, yeast and flour in a bowl. Stir together and add just enough of the remaining water to make a rough dough.
4. Transfer to a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a plastic bag, and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 11/2 hours.
5. Grease a baking sheet. Punch down the risen dough with your fist and knead into a tapered cylinder. Place on the baking sheet, cover, and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 45 minutes.
6. Preheat the oven to 425F. Brush with olive oil and bake until golden, 40-45 minutes. Cool on a rack.

I'm sending this to Champa's Bake Off Event