Breakfast/ Brunch · Main course · Sides/ Accompaniments · Vegetarian

Zucchini Apricot Bread

Zucchini or courgette, the summer squash is heartier when cooked than eaten raw like it’s counterpart cucumber. It’s nutrient-dense and excellent source of vitamins and minerals. Despite saying all this, I couldn’t convince PR (the husband) to add ‘zucchini’ in our daily cooking. He thinks it’s a flavorless water loaded vegetable. So, I added this low-calorie squash to the bread. Yes! a squash in the bread. This being partly a whole grain bread absorbs the moisture of the zucchini. The apricots and  coconut palm sugar adds mild sweetness, orange zest and cardamom adds aromatic flavor and the dark rye and whole wheat adds nutritional goodness to this loaf.

Ingredients

Yields one 9 inch x 5 inch loaf

  • 1 1/2 cups Whole wheat flour * I used white whole wheat flour. See notes below for variations
  • 1 1/2 cups Dark rye flour * Rye flour is not Indian ragi. Ragi is finger millet
  • 1 1/2 cups All purpose flour/ maida
  • 1 1/2 cups Zucchini, unpeeled and grated * Use fresh squash. Dried squash will affect the moisture in the bread. Do not squeeze out the water from the vegetable.
  • 1/3 cup Dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp Active dry yeast or 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup Warm water (120°F to 130°F)
  • 1/4 cup Warm milk (110°F to 115°F)
  • 1/2 cup Coconut palm sugar * Use sugar of choice
  • 3 tablespoons Unsalted butter plus a little for greasing, softened * If using salted butter, omit the added salt listed in the recipe
  • 3 tablespoons Orange zest
  • 2 tsp ground Cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp Salt

Method

1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. You may want to check here to learn about dissolving active dry yeast.

2. Mix milk, sugar, butter, orange peel and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the zucchini, apricots, cardamom powder, 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1 cup all-purpose flour, rye flour and the dissolved yeast to form a soft shaggy mass.

3. Turn on to a floured surface and knead for 8-10 mins. This dough is wet and sticky. Add rest of the whole wheat and all purpose flour as you knead. Now the dough will be elastic and smooth.

4. Place the dough in a greased bowl and grease the top. Cover and let it rise in a warm place till it doubles in volume. This takes about 1 to 1 1/2 hrs.

5. Punch down the dough and shape into a loaf working over lightly floured surface. Place the shaped dough in a greased 9 inch x 5 inch loaf pan.

6.  Cover and let it rise just little above the top of the loaf pan for about 30-45 minutes. Do not over proof or let the dough spill over the pan.

7. Pre heat oven at 375° F. Score the loaf using a sharp knife. Spray oil over the loaf. Bake the loaf for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown.

8. Remove from the pan to cool on a wire rack for at least 30 mins before slicing.

This loaf has a predictably dense crumb structure of a whole wheat loaf. The camphorous and sweet aromatic cardamom flavor really comes through. The coconut sugar mildly sweetens this hearty loaf. And this is a great way to add some veggies and whole grain in your bread unlike the regular plain flour breads.

Serve warm with butter and fruit preserve. We had with homemade spiced apple preserve.

For detailed explanation on the stages and steps of  baking a loaf, check here. The basic white bread recipe has a step by step pictorial to bake a loaf. This will be help one understand bread making.

Variations –

Instead of 1.5 cups whole wheat flour, 1.5 cups all purpose flour and 1.5 cups dark rye flour, you may substitute 2 cups of whole wheat ( can use chapati atta flour) and 2.5 cups all purpose flour.

Instead of dried apricots, feel free to add same amount of any dried fruit of choice like figs, raisins, sultanas, prunes, dates.

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