Zucchini Duel Part I

Zucchini bread I know quite well. My experience with zucchini bread harkens back to the early days when Kelly Almon and Lindsey Willis (now Hays), sophomore college dorm-mates of mine, would fire up the oven in Ashton 2nd East and bake bread for the 30 some girls on our floor. The smell they filled our halls with was one of home. Both Kelly and Lindsey are currently up for canonization and authorities are verifying their second and third miracles. Their second miracle was when they taught me to bake zucchini bread and, later, the third miracle, rosemary wheat bread using yeast! Lindsey’s later miracles: getting me to eat vegetables, among them, are undoubtable phenoms.

What sacrilege against my culinary saints when I spied today’s recipe: Zucchini Bread. Kelly had it perfected and here they would blaspheme against her good recipe and offer their indulgent loaf instead? I recently watched the film The Third Miracle, in which, miracles must be put to the test. It seemed to me none other than righteous to apply the same methodology here. Today I will make the “new zucchini” and tomorrow shall be the “old zucchini” and then we will have no less than n=15 taste test and decide the true best.

New Zucchini Bread
Adapted from Baking Illustrated, pgs 29-30

Yields = (1) 9-inch loaf

2 cups wheat flour
1 pound zucchini, washed and dried, ends and stems removed, grated

(While doing the boring grating procedure if you are like me and don’t have a food processor, allow me to recommend some entertainment a la Martin Short that should last you through the zucchini and a half:

This silly video features Rufford Smithe-Pennington, the royal birthing representative. The Dutchess Kate’s birth canal is alluded to as the The Chunnel, ahem. http://www.hulu.com/watch/435939#i1,p0,d1

And Holiday Pageant with Paul McCartney—

http://www.hulu.com/watch/435942#i1,p5,d1

Back to business:

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup pecans
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
1 Tbsp. juice from a lemon
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees f. and adjust oven rack to middle position. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan; dust with flour, tapping out the excess.

2) Shread zucchini using a food processor, using the shreading blade. Transfer shreaded zucchini to a strainer, toss zucchini with 2 Tbsp. of sugar, then place strainer over bowl, set at least 2 inches over the bowl and allow to drain for about 30 minutes.

3) Meanwhile, spread the nuts on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a cooling rack and cool completely. Transfer the nuts to a large bowl; add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and whisk until combined. Set aside.

4) Whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar, yogurt, eggs, lemon juice, and melted butter in a medium bowl until combined. Set aside.

5) After the zucchini has drained, squeeze the zucchini with several layers of paper towels to absorb excess moisture. Stir the zucchini and the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture until just moistened. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth surface with a rubber spatula.

6) Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55-60 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool for at least 1 hour before serving

Okay—here is the bread, which will remain untasted until we can do a side by side analysis with the old zucchini bread recipe. May I also mention that the trophy for the Calvary Fantasy Football League just happens to have snuck into this photograph..

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