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Braided Zucchini Yeast Bread

Zucchini Yeast Bread is a nice change of pace from the more typical quick-bread, cakey style zucchini breads. Pureed zucchini adds great flavor, moisture and texture to this tasty yeast-risen bread.

zucchini yeast bread

This is a recipe I’ve been working on for a while. Because I belong to a co-op farm I get LOTS of zucchini, all summer long. I’m always looking for new ways to use the prolific squash. I mean, there are only so many spiralized salads a gal can eat!

When I use zucchini for baking I basically treat it as added water, since that’s mostly what zucchini is made of. Because it doesn’t have a very pronounced flavor, zucchini is easy to slip it into all sorts of recipes.

For my Zucchini Yeast Bread I simply replaced some of the water in a fairly basic bread dough with zucchini. The first few times I made the bread I used shredded zucchini. But the bits of vegetable were breaking up the gluten strands in the bread dough.

Since the shredded zucchini was breaking up the gluten, I tried making a zucchini puree and that did the trick. Now I had a bread that was soft and moist with a very slight vegetable flavor from the zucchini.

All that was left to do was make a pretty braid, top it with some cheese, bake until golden brown, and enjoy! We ate it with a green salad and smoked salmon for a light dinner. Perfect!

Scroll through the process photos to see how to make Braided Zucchini Yeast Bread:

purees zucchini in a food processor

Puree the zucchini in a food processor

bread dough made with pureed zucchini

Use the zucchini puree as moisture for the dough. You can see the flecks of green. 

three strands of dough for braiding bread

Split the dough into 3 equal pieces for braiding.

a braided loaf of bread on a sheet pan

Set the loaf aside to rise

zucchini yeast bread

zucchini yeast bread

If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.

zucchini yeast bread

Braided Zucchini Yeast Bread

Yield: 1 large loaf
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Rising Time: 2 hours
Bake Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 55 minutes

Fresh zucchini puree gives bread great moisture and flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1 large zucchini (8 oz, 225g) sliced 1/2" thick
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz, ml) water, 110-120F
  • 1 tablespoon dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or more to taste
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 - 3 cups (13-15 oz, 380-450g) bread flour 

Finish

  • 1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon water and a pinch of salt for egg wash
  • 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese for garnish, or garnish of your choice.

Instructions

  1. Toss the zucchini slices with the 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Set aside for 15 minutes. Spread the zucchini in a single layer on a paper towel. Lay another paper towel on top of the zucchini and press down to absorb the liquid. Puree the zucchini slices in a food processor until it looks like apple sauce.
  2. Combine zucchini puree, water, yeast, salt, pepper and egg in a mixer bowl. Mix on low speed to combine. Add 2 cups of flour and mix 2 minutes to form a thick batter. Switch to the dough hook. Add the remaining flour a little at a time, until the dough gathers onto the hook and clears the sides of the bowl. Knead for 5 minutes. If working by hand, add as much flour as you can with a wooden spoon the turn the dough out onto a floured surface to finish kneading in the remaining flour.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead into a smooth ball. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover the bowl and set aside to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, knead a few times and divide into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a 14" long rope. Braid the three ropes, pinching each end to seal together and set the loaf onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap which has been oiled to prevent sticking. Set aside in a warm place for about 1 hour until the dough has almost doubled in volume and springs back slowly when poked.
  5. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F convection or 375°F regular. Brush the loaf with egg wash Sprinkle with grated Parmesan Cheese or garnish of your choice. Bake about 30-35 minutes until golden brown. The interior temp should be about 190°F.

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