Quick breads are a category of baked goods which walk a line between bread and cake; they’re called “quick” because the use of chemical leaveners (baking powder, baking soda) negates any need to add yeast, or undergo the kneading, rising, and waiting that go along with it.
Holiday favorites such as pumpkin bread and zucchini bread are quick breads. Squash, native to the Americas, has been a common component in American baking since colonial times. Quick breads date back to the 1800’s, when leaveners became commercially available.
I studied some classic zucchini bread recipes and then took the concepts for a new spin by subbing in some more healthful ingredients. Almond meal, wheat bran, and whole wheat flour replace most of the AP flour, and by incorporating ripe fruits, I was able to prescribe less sugar than most recipes (while still leaving enough in for flavor, texture, and preservation.)
Thanks to the chemical leaveners, it’s kind of hard to screw up a quick bread, even if you’re experimenting with different ratios, ingredients and flavorful additions. You might not even notice the almond meal in this bread, but a significant proportion of it is in there, lending protein (and flavor) instead of carbs. You’ll see I left enough wheat in the recipe that the resulting gluten still allowed for the cake-like rise and texture I expected. (Gluten = structure.)
I had a slice of this when it was fresh out of the oven this afternoon, with some milky tea, in the garden. It was cake-y and fruity and nutty and altogether delightful. This experiment is going into the “permanent” files.
Summer Breakfast Bread
- 1 1/4 cup wheat bran
- 1 cup almond meal
- 1 cup AP flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup safflower oil
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups grated summer squash
- 1 1/2 cups diced, ripe stone fruit (such as plums, peaches, and/or apricots)
- 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grease or spray a bundt pan.
- Whisk flours, bran, almond meal, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon together in a large bowl.
- Whisk eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in another bowl.
- Add liquid mixture to dry, and stir until incorporated.
- Fold in zucchini, fruit, and nuts.
- Pour batter into bundt pan.
- Bake for approximately 50 minutes, or until the bread has pulled slightly away from the sides, and top is springy to the touch. You can try the fork test too-- the tines should come out reasonably dry.
- Cool, and then invert to remove from pan. Slice and serve.