Zucchini Quick Bread | My Experiments

This light zucchini quick bread recipe, made with buttermilk or yoghurt, olive oil and sweetened with honey or date syrup and studded with chopped pistachios will be your new favourite snack. The recipe yields a slightly squat 8x4 loaf. It is not overly sweet, but you could serve individual slices with a drizzle of honey or dates syrup for those sweet cravings. No judgement. 
Zucchini Quick Bread with date syrup stacked and cutside show
Zucchini quick bread with date syrup and labneh (greek or hung yoghurt)

What is a quick bread you ask? I too always have this question, especially while slicing the loaf. Why call this bread? As mentioned in my Pumpkin butter bread, any loaf that is leavened with baking soda and/or baking powder instead of yeast is referred to as a quick bread. But that's how cakes are also made, right? Well, quick bread recipes are forgiving so much that measurements don't have to be super precise like for cakes. Even the mixing method for quick bread is far easier than cakes. Just like cookies, you can add more choco chips or in this case, more grated zucchini. But are sweet quick bread a dessert or snack? It can be either depending on when you eat it and how sweet you make it. Fair enough. After reading up a dozen articles on the difference, I think calling it quick bread sets the right expectation than calling it a cake. Because we all know Cake has a standard 😏 I can only say that don't get hung up on the etymology of these baked goods, there is no conclusion. If you are a nerd and want to read up more about this, Chowhound had a comprehensive article on this topic or just agreed with Alice Medrich.😉

Coming back to Zucchini quick bread recipe - Though a summer vegetable, we tend to get zucchini round the year in different shapes. Zucchini, courgette or baby marrow (koosa) are summer squash vegetables that come in different sizes. Grate them with the skin, squeeze excess moisture or pat dry with kitchen paper and then measure in measuring cups before you use them in the recipe. You will know why...

Zucchini Quick Bread with sugar top shot of sliced load
Zucchini bread made with sugar and yoghurt

I titled this is post "My Experiments" because I couldn't decide which one to share. My first trial was with white sugar that I made during 2020 Ramadan. I remember using yoghurt in that and the texture was with lots of air pockets and tunnels that looked great and tasted simple. Then in 2021, I went on a zucchini bread baking spree because I got my hands on a fresh large zucchini. I used one zucchini to test three loaves and a Chicken dish, which I have to share soon. As zucchinis come in different sizes, it is not a good idea for me to tell you how many zucchini you need to use. So, it is best if you grate and measure. Cling wrap any remaining zucchini to use later. 

Zucchini Quick Bread with date syrup loaf sliced shot

I experimented with some honey and yoghurt where my loaf came out of the oven well risen but soon sunk. I think the issue was the overmixed batter or liquid proportion. I quickly googled to find if we can save this loaf and was so glad I found this article that showed how to make biscotti with leftover banana bread! Off I went and baked my sunken loaf into biscotti. It wasn't bad but I had to throw away the last few slices after two days because I baked more zucchini bread! 😁

I baked another zucchini bread with a bit more flour, date syrup and labneh (similar to Greek yoghurt), and squeezed the grated zucchini before using. The bread came out so moist with tight crumbs with perfectly distributed zucchini and nuts. The date syrup imparted a caramel flavour and we relished a few slices with evening chai. 

But I wanted to get the honey version right, so tried again using honey and buttermilk (laban) and it did not fail! The difference between the two was in the texture and the taste. Date syrup version like I said had a moist and dense with caramel note while the honey buttermilk version had some air pockets or tunnels that made it look more like yeasted bread that is light and fluffy. Both are mildly sweet so cannot pass off as a dessert but you may add more sugar (see recipe). It is most definitely a perfect morning breakfast bite or evening snack. This proves that depending on the ingredients, the texture of a quick bread can either be light and fluffy or moist and dense.

two slices of Zucchini Quick Bread with honey and buttermilk served with chai
Zucchini bread with honey and buttermilk (laban)

Should I peel my zucchini for zucchini bread? No.
Can you taste zucchini in zucchini bread? No.
How do you keep zucchini bread from getting soggy? Some zucchini have more moisture so it is always best to squeeze excess moisture, pat dry and then measure and use. 
Why does my zucchini bread sink? Overmixed batter! 

How to grate zucchini for zucchini bread?

  • Wash and trim the ends. Do not peel the skin.
  • Use the large holes of a box grater to grate.
  • Spread the grated zucchini on a flat plate and pat dry with kitchen paper.
  • Squeeze out any excess moisture and then measure and use for the batter.

How to make zucchini quick bread batter?

  1. Whisk the dry ingredients 
  2. Whisk the wet ingredients
  3. Add the dry to wet (I have had success with wet to dry but I read it is better to do dry to wet for quick bread)
  4. Fold gently until almost combined (do not overmix)
  5. Fold the grated zucchini and chopped nuts (do not overmix)
  6. Pour into a greased pan 
  7. Bake and serve
I definitely can improve this recipe to an even better version but it will have to wait so until then here is my best version of the experimented recipe with options. I will come around and update when I have the BEST! 

hand holding a small piece of zucchini bread half eaten


Zucchini Quick Bread Loaf

Yields 8x4 inches loaf 
1 cup = 250ml 
Measured dry ingredients using fluff, scoop and sweep method.

INGREDIENTS

Dry items
  • 1 cup plain flour or wheat flour 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom or cinnamon powder 
  • a pinch of salt 
  • Others: 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped pistachio or any nuts (reserve some to sprinkle on top)
Wet items
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup honey or date syrup or 1/4 cup sugar (you can go up to 1/2 cup sugar)
  • 1/2 cup grated zucchini (you can go up to 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk (laban), room temperature*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*You may replace buttermilk with labneh (Greek yoghurt) or whisked regular yoghurt.

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease and line an 8x4 loaf pan with baking paper.
  2. Prepare the batter: Add the dry ingredients like flour, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom or cinnamon powder and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
  3. Add the wet ingredients like egg, oil, honey or date syrup or sugar, buttermilk or yoghurt and vanilla extract in a large bowl and whisk until combined. 
  4. Add the dry mixture into the wet mixture bowl and fold just until combined. Do not overmix. Some flour lumps are ok at this stage.
  5. Fold in the grated zucchini and chopped nuts reserving some for topping. Do not overmix. 
  6. Use a rubber spatula to transfer the batter into the lined loaf pan. Make sure the loaf pan is only filled 2/3 its height. Sprinkle the reserved chopped nuts all over the top. 
  7. Bake for 35 to 50 minutes or until the centre passes the toothpick test. If your bread is browning too quickly, reduce the temperature and tent with foil. 
  8. Let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn out the bread onto wire racks to cool thoroughly. The best time to eat zucchini bread is the next day. 
  9. Slice with a bread knife and serve with tea or coffee. Store the remaining zucchini bread slices in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 to 3 days or refrigerate for longer. 

More quick bread recipes!

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