On Friday afternoon, during what, until very recently, was called naptime (don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone?), the preschooler and I made this scrumptious bread. This may not surprise you coming from someone called umami girl, but I always find there’s something extra enticing about savory aromas, as opposed to sweet ones, wafting from the oven on a baking day. The sharp little bursts of shallot, cheddar, basil and dill coming from this one made me wish that my computer had a scratch and sniff button. How much would you rather have that than a new version of Excel?
This quickbread is great as is, or with a little butter, on the day you make it. It’s also excellent toasted on subsequent days. Its only real flaw, to my thinking, is the relatively small amount of zucchini it uses per fairly giant loaf. If you find yourself with a couple of very large zucchini, you may find yourself baking a loaf or two for everyone you know.
Zucchini Cheddar Bread
Adapted from Joy of Cooking
-makes one loaf-
Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9 x 5-inch (8-cup) loaf pan. Whisk together thoroughly in a large bowl:
3 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Add and toss to separate and coat with flour:
1 cup coarsely shredded zucchini
1 1/4 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1 shallot, thinly sliced and tossed a bit to separate concentric rings
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon snipped fresh dill, or 2 teaspoons dried
Whisk together in another bowl:
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) warm melted unsalted butter or vegetable oil
Add to the flour mixture and mix with a few light strokes just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Do not overmix; the batter should not be smooth. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 5 to 10 minutes before unmolding to cool completely on the rack.