Monday, January 20, 2014

Zucchini Bread Number 5

There is a reason this recipe is called Zucchini Bread Number 5 and it isn’t a tribute to Lou Bega. The basic formula for this recipe was taken from Cooks Illustrated, however, their recipe rendered a loaf that was either leaden or had a deep troff down the center of the loaf. In the end I made significant enough adjustments to the original recipe that I feel confident calling it my own.
Zucchini Bread Number 5
Yield: 1 loaf  

Equipment Required:
24cm x 14cm x 7cm – [ 9 ¼” x 5 ¼” x 2 ¾”] loaf pan*, parchment paper, large spatula, medium wire whisk, large 5.20 L [5.5 qt.] capacity mixing bowl,  medium ~3.3L [ 3.5 qt.] mixing bowl,- small .50 L [1 pt.] capacity bowl, 250 ml [1 cup] capacity liquid measuring cup, box grater, clean tea towel, utility or paring knife, cutting board, half sheet pan, wire cooling rack, small butter warmer or microwave safe bowl, silicon pastry or basting brush, metric/imperial scale 

*The pan measurements were made on the bottom of the pan, the top measurements are 10” x 5” these are also sold as a one and one-half pound loaf pan. 

~ 450g grated zucchini*
350g all purpose flour
6g baking soda
4g baking powder
3g ground cinnamon
3g ground allspice
4g fine grade sea salt
340g granulated sugar
60ml plain whole milk yogurt
110ml eggs ~ 2 large
15 ml fresh lemon juice
85g unsalted butter [melted and cooled] plus more for the pan 

*You’ll need about 1kg [2.5lb] of zucchini before grating: about 3 - 4 small zucchini. The measure is approximate, but do not exceed the 450g. I prefer small zucchini because the have less developed seeds, if you have a large zucchini scoop the seeds out with a spoon before grating. 

Mise en Place:
Weight flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, and sea salt into the large mixing bowl. Weigh the sugar into medium mixing bowl, and then break the eggs into the small bowl. Weight yogurt into measuring cup and add lemon juice. Set these items together on your work surface. 

Wash and inspect the zucchini and dry them with a paper towel. Place the tea towel on a cutting board, and place a box grater on top of the towel. Grate the zucchini directly onto the towel. When finished, wipe any zucchini off the face of the grater and out of the interior as well. Bring the four corners of the towel together and gently manipulate the zucchini into a cohesive mass with your fingers. Twist the towel and roughly squeeze the water out of the zucchini, repeat this step until you cannot squeeze any more liquid from the ball of grated zucchini.  

Weigh butter in the small saucepan, butter warmer, or microwave bowl and gently melt it. Set aside to cool slightly. 

Lightly butter the inside of the loaf pan and fit with a parchment sling. Using a silicon pastry brush, butter the parchment and add a thicker layer of butter to the narrow ends of the pan to prevent sticking. 

Preheat oven to 350ºF [180ºC] and adjust oven rack to middle position. 

Using a wire whisk, beat the eggs and granulated sugar together vigorously to incorporate some air. The mixture should blanch and increase slightly in volume.  

Add yogurt and lemon juice mixture to the sugar and eggs, and beat vigorously until combined.  

Slowly add the melted butter while whisking constantly, and then stir in the dried zucchini. Remove the whisk, tapping it on the side of the bowl to clear any excess mixture and place in the sink for washing.  

Pour the liquid mixture over the dried ingredients using a flexible spatula to get all the liquid out of the bowl. Fold the wet mixture into the dried until almost combined.  

Stir zucchini into the batter until just fully combined. Some lumps are desirable at this stage. 

Transfer batter to the prepared pan, place on a half sheet pan to prevent overflow, and place in the oven. 

Bake until brown, and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out holding a few crumbs but is not ‘wet.’ It should take approximately 60 minutes, but start checking the loaf at 50 minutes. 

Remove finished loaf to a wire cooling rack and let stand 10 minutes in the pan.  

Use a dull knife on the narrow sides of the pan to make sure the loaf will release cleanly, and lift out using the sides of the parchment sling.  

Place loaf on the wire rack to cool completely before serving. Approximately 1 hour.
When purchasing loaf pans: bring your own measuring tape. Whenever possible I make a note of the size and capacity of the bowls and pans that I use. Loaf pans are particularly tricky pieces of equipment because not everyone agrees on how to measure their size, some record their dimensions by measuring the bottom of the slope sided pan, others the top, and then there is matter of capacity which can vary wildly depending on the depth and angle of the sides of the pan. Some manufacturers also sell their pans as 1 – 1.5 – and 2 lb loaf pans which, in my frustrated opinion, is about as accurate as saying smallish, and largish.  

For equipment-files like me, I have found the Chicago Metallic Commercial II Loaf Pans to be the most hard wearing, multipurpose pans. The are made of heavy grade steel, are durable, and rated for high (550ºF) temperatures. The corners of the folded metal pan are a little trickier to clean but they do not warp like thin metal or pressed designs. I own two 10” x 5” and two 8.5” – 4.5” pans. I’ve found that over the course of time, all non-stick pans eventually loose their non-stick qualities, and I’ve eliminated these from my collection. 

I use King Arthur unbleached all purpose flour in this recipe which tends to be higher in protein than other brands of all purpose flour. You may find that your favorite brand does not produce the expected results, if this occurs try increasing the amount of flour by 20 – 30grams [~2tbsp] at a time until you get the results you want.

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