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Courgette bread: a savoury loaf made with grated raw courgettes, it is good for slicing, buttering, and even turning into ham sandwiches.
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That is only a handful top searches for the unfortunate vegetable. I wonder: why do we flog ourselves with the damn courgette, zucchini or both if it’s such a chore to cook it into a palatable dish? Just quit buying or growing it I say.
But who am I to criticise if I do the same? Somehow the blasted gourd (squash subspecies) makes its way into my garden every year and without fail produces tonnes of fruit (vegetable, but you know). And I, together with thousands other courgette victims, search for novel ways to murder the thing, be it green, yellow, round or elongated. And once we’ve done dinners, gratins, sides and salads ad nauseam, we look to baking.
What a big part of the world calls zucchini bread (those are the folks who call it ‘zucchini’), really mean a loaf cake. It’s sweet, it has raisins in it, oftentimes icing, chocolate glaze or both. Nice, but you know – still courgette; carrot cake won’t lose any sleep over it.
Bread proper then – as in a loaf you slice, butter, and turn into ham sandwiches. I’ve baked an interesting one before with cooked courgettes, but this time I wanted to use it raw so the moisture courgettes carry with them (and there’s a hell of a lot of it, that’s why you need to drain it a little) and replace some of the water bread making requires. The Community Farm recipe was my inspiration; I added lime zest to enhance the green flavour and broke the whiteness of the basic bread dough with a little rye flour.
And the outcome is really good: a thoroughly decent loaf with no overwhelming zucchini taste (like it tasted of anything… hehe) and really lovely sliceable, toastable, and sandwichable texture. Send some more courgettes my way!
courgette breadServings: makes 1 large loafTime: 4 hours
- 2 large courgettes, about 450g (1 pound) in weight
- 2 tsp fine salt
- 425g strong bread flour
- 75g light rye flour
- 30g grated Parmesan
- zest grated from 1 lime
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 250ml warm water
- 12g fresh or 1 tsp instant yeast
1. Coarsely grate the courgettes without peeling them, place in a colander over a bowl and toss with 1 tsp of salt. Leave for 30 minutes.
2. Place the flours, Parmesan, zest and oil in a large bowl (use the standing mixer if you have one). Squeeze as much moisture from the courgettes as you can and add them to the bowl. Dissolve the yeast in the water and pour it in.
3. Mix at high speed for at least 10 minutes until the cough comes together and starts to clear the sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave in a warm place for 1 ½ hour to double in volume.
4. Butter a large (2lb) loaf tin.
5. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface; it will be very sticky. Using a dough scraper and floured hands shape the dough into a sausage the length of the tin. Transfer into the tin; you might need to place the tin on its side and roll the dough into it. Cover with cling film and leave to prove for 45 minutes.
6. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/gas 7. Bake the bread for 35 minutes then turn the oven down to 180 and bake for 10 minutes longer. Remove, turn out from the tin and let it cool down before slicing.