The Best Zucchini Bread with Sourdough Discard

I had big dreams this year of planting a large beautiful garden and watching it grow all summer long. This did not happen. My big beautiful garden did not grow very well this summer (thank you bunnies, weird weather and a somewhat last-minute long-distance road trip that kept me from tending to the garden much throughout the summer). I was hoping for big, beautiful zucchini to sautee as a side to any meal, turn into our favorite zucchini boats or make many loaves of this amazing zucchini bread. This zucchini bread is light, tender, fluffy and uses up some of the sourdough discard that I always seem to have lurking in the back of my fridge. Lucky for me, my local farmers market and grocery store carry lots of zucchini this time of year.

Jump Ahead to The Best Zucchini Bread Recipe

Sourdough Discard in Zucchini Bread

If you have zucchini coming out your ears and sourdough discard taking over your fridge, this recipe is for you! I love using sourdough discard in recipes, not only for the little tang it gives but also because I’m not a fan of wasting food. This recipe uses ½ cup of sourdough discard directly from your fridge (you can also use bubbly sourdough starter) and it enhances the flavor of this delicious zucchini bread. If you don’t have sourdough starter, don’t worry. You can still make an awesome loaf of zucchini bread: Omit the sourdough starter. Add 2 cups of flour instead of 1 2/3 cups and 1/4 cup of milk to the batter. That’s it. I made both recipes side by side (pictured above) and both were delicious. You don’t need sourdough starter to make this delicious loaf, but if you have it on hand, it is the perfect way to use up some of your sourdough discard.

Wringing Out the Zucchini 

Did you know that 1 cup of chopped zucchini is made up of 90% water? Because of this high water content, it’s important to wring out the zucchini a bit before adding it to the recipe. The pictures below show the easy way I do this. Take a box grater, shred the zucchini and then use a paper towel to wring the zucchini. I give it about three squeezes over my sink and call it good. This little extra step will help your zucchini bread to turn out perfectly moist and delicious.

Baking Temperature and Time

One of the tricks I’ve learned over the years I’ve been baking is to bake quickbreads, like zucchini bread, at a high temperature for the first 10 minutes and then reduce the temperature to finish the longer bake time. The high heat helps activate the baking powder giving a nice lift and rounded dome shape to your loaf of zucchini bread. This zucchini bread takes about an hour to bake. I like to stick a knife or toothpick in the center to see if it’s completely baked all the way through. Depending on the temperature of your oven it may need more or less time.

Quick Mix. Long Bake. Delicious Zucchini Bread

Whatever way you slice it, this zucchini bread is delicious. It is tender, moist and perfect to gift this time of year. It is my kids’ favorite way to eat zucchini. They do eat other preparations of zucchini, though maybe not as willingly. If I only had to make one zucchini bread recipe for the rest of my life, this would be the one. It is that good! I hope you enjoy it too.

The Best Zucchini Bread with Sourdough Discard

Amy
Light, fluffy, tender and absolutely delicious, this zucchini bread recipe is perfect for using up garden zucchini and sourdough discard.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Bread, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 1 loaf of zucchini bread

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb zucchini
  • 1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 cup sourdough discard
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 5 Tablespoons Greek Yogurt (sour cream can be substituted in a pinch)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line an 8.5 by 4.5 loaf pan (you can also use a 9 by 5 loaf pan) with parchment paper.
  • Wash 1 lb of zucchini and chop off the ends. Use a box grater (affiliate link) to shred the zucchini. Grab a sheet or two of paper towel. Add the shredded zucchini to the middle of the paper towel and wrap the zucchini up to form a ball. Squeeze the paper-towel ball of zucchini over the sink 2-3 times to wring most of the water out of the zucchini. Continue this process until you have 1 ½ cups of shredded zucchini.
  • To a bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and allspice. Stir together with a fork until fluffy and combined. Add the zucchini and stir until the zucchini is spread throughout the dry mixture and thoroughly combined.
  • In a liquid measuring cup, measure out ½ cup of sourdough starter. Add the eggs, vegetable oil and greek yogurt. Stir well to combine.
  • Add the liquids to the dry ingredients. Mix together with a fork or spoon until just combined (over-mixing will result in tough zucchini bread and nobody wants that).
  • Pour the zucchini bread batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees. This helps ensure a nicely domed loaf of bread.
  • After 10 minutes reduce the temperature to 350 degree Fahrenheit. Bake for 45-55 minutes. Insert a toothpick or sharp knife into the center of the bread to check if it is ready. If it comes out clean with no streaks of batter, it is ready! If it has streaks of wet batter, bake it a little longer and check again.
  • Allow the zucchini loaf to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the loaf pans. Move the loaf to a cooling rack and cool completely before digging in. Enjoy!

Notes

To make an absolutely amazing loaf of zucchini bread without the sourdough discard, omit the sourdough discard. Increase the all purpose flour to 2 cups. Add ¼ of milk  to the liquid ingredients before mixing with the batter.
 

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Hockey-Puck Banana Bread

“Can I bake something, Mom?!” is a common phrase I hear around my house. This time it was from one of my eight-year-old sons. I had some mushy, brown bananas sitting on the counter and thought it would be a great opportunity to use up the ripe bananas and let him bake. 

My kids have always baked with me in the kitchen from a young age. They love dumping ingredients into the mixers, whipping up fresh cream for pancakes (had to put a stop to that one after they used up all my cream, which was supposed to be for a recipe I was intending to make), learning about how to turn on the oven (yes you have to press START or else it doesn’t pre-heat), making breakfast on weekend mornings…the list goes on and on. As a parent I am transitioning with my older kids (ages 10, 8, 8) into a more hands-off approach. I want to let them feel the success that comes with pulling a beautiful loaf of banana bread out of the oven and having the rest of the family ooh, ahh and compliment the chef.

On this particular day I was a little more “hands off” than I normally would be. I was outside chatting with a friend when my son begged to make something and I suggested banana bread. He found the recipe I’d left lying around and as typical eight year old boys do (and let’s face it…busy moms do too), pulled out the ingredients and started mixing them up before re-reading the ingredients and realizing a mistake had been made. Instead of melting the butter he’d put in cold butter…and kept on mixing. 

When I came inside to check on his progress I found a bowl of chunky butter, bananas, sugar, oil and flour ready to be poured into a pan and put into the oven. In an attempt to “save” the banana bread I decided to whip the mixture to get rid of all the butter chunks. As we soon found out, there is a reason you want to GENTLY FOLD the flour into banana bread (or any quickbread) as your last step in the process. Creaming the butter and sugars together as a first step is fine, but once the flour is added…gently fold. When we started whipping the flour it activated the gluten. Instead of the light and airy crumb we love from banana bread, we had inadvertently whipped the bread into a dense, hard and a hockey-puck-like loaf once baked.

Proud boy with his “whipped” batter.

My son, however, was proud as a peacock pouring his mixture into the baking pan and setting a timer to check on it. After the bread was baked we cut into it…and you know what, my three boys gobbled up pieces of that banana bread exclaiming how delicious it was! Compliments were given to the chef and I think my three year old ate 5 slices of bread over the course of a couple days. I may not have been able to stomach a piece of the bread, but I am very grateful for the learning opportunity by giving my boy free reign of the kitchen and mixer. 

Hoping next time his banana bread turns out like this!!!

Baking is a skill. It takes time, effort and desire. I want my kids in the kitchen. I want them to learn how to bake, cook and appreciate where their food comes from. Do you think that if I had made the loaf of banana bread that day we would have learned a lesson about folding in flour to bread? Probably not. Start close to your kids and help them learn how to read, measure and work your kitchen appliances. Gradually release that responsibility to them as they prove themselves capable. Will your kitchen be messy? Almost definitely. Will your kids learn important skills that will stay with them for life? Almost definitely. Teach your kids. It’s worth it!
…even when your banana bread comes out tasting like a brick.