Sourdough Bread with Zucchini Puree

Sourdough Bread made with fresh zucchini puree has a lovely moist crumb and light flavor. The slices are speckled with vibrant green flecks of zucchini skin.

a loaf of braided sourdough bread on a cutting board.

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.

When I use zucchini for baking I basically treat it as added water, since zucchini is about 95% water. Because it doesn’t have a very pronounced flavor, zucchini is easy to slip into all sorts of recipes.

For this Sourdough Bread I replaced most of the water with finely pureed zucchini. I originally developed this technique for making a Yeasted Zucchini Bread and have used the same process for this version using active sourdough starter instead of commercial yeast.


ingredients for sourdough bread with zucchini in glass bowls.

Ingredient Notes

  • Bread Flour – High protein bread flour will develop enough gluten so this bread rises beautifully in the oven.
  • Active Sourdough Starter – This recipe was developed using a 100% starter. If your starter is a different hydration percent you may need to adjust the amount of flour or water in the recipe.
  • Zucchini – Weigh the zucchini after trimming off the two ends. No need to peel it since it will be pureed.
  • Eggs – One egg enriches the dough for a fine, fluffy crumb.
  • Parmesan Cheese – The cheese is a flavorful garnish. Alternately, use seeds, flakey salt or no topping.

The Process

two bowls with bread dough sponge.
  • Combine the starter with the water and 1/2 cup of the bread flour.
  • Set the sponge aside for 30-60 minutes. This will jump-start the gluten formation and help the yeast start multiplying.
zucchini in a food processor starting as chunks and ending as a puree.
  • Cut the zucchini into large chunks and put it into a food processor.
  • Process the zucchini, scraping the sides as needed. The bits tend to creep up the sides until they give off most of the moisture.
  • Process until the zucchini has the texture of applesauce.
Zucchini bread dough in a mixer.
  • Add the zucchini puree, salt, pepper and eggs to the sponge.
  • Add more flour to form a thick batter.
  • Switch to the dough hook and add the rest of the flour with the mixer on low speed. The dough will start out quite sticky and shaggy.
  • Knead for 5 minutes or until the dough clings to the hook and clears the sides of the bowl.
bread dough in a glass bowl rising.
  • Set the dough aside to ferment at room temperature for about 3 hours until it is light and elastic.
  • Every hour or so fold the dough to redistribute the yeast and aerate the dough.
  • After this initial fermentation, cover the bowl and refrigerate the dough overnight (or up to 2 days). Alternately, you can proceed with shaping the dough without refrigerating.
  • Take the dough out of the refrigerator and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.
three pieces of dough braided into a loaf then baked on a sheet pan.
  • Divide the dough into 3 pieces and roll each piece to a 14″ long rope.
  • Braid the ropes and tuck the ends under. Set the loaf aside to rise.
  • Brush the loaf with egg wash and sprinkle with parmesan cheese or your choice of topping.
  • Bake until the interior of the loaf is 200F.


The Sourdough Loaf will keep at room temperature for about 2 days. The zucchini puree will keep the crumb moist. The loaf can be sliced and frozen for up to a month.

slices of sourdough bread on a cutting board.
slices of sourdough bread on a cutting board.
Print Recipe
5 from 1 review

Sourdough Bread with Zucchini

Fresh zucchini puree gives this sourdough bread great moisture and flavor. This recipe makes 1 large loaf.
Prep Time30 minutes
Bake Time25 minutes
Rising Time2 hours
Total Time2 hours 55 minutes
16 slices
Save Recipe


  • 8 oz active sourdough starter (1 cup)
  • 2 oz warm water (¼ cup)
  • 17½ oz bread flour ( cups, see note)
  • 8 oz zucchini (about 1 large)
  • teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 large egg (room temperature)
  • 1 egg for egg wash
  • 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese for garnish


  • In a mixer bowl, combine 8 oz active sourdough starter, 2 oz warm water and 2.5 oz (½ cup) of the bread flour. Cover the bowl and allow the sponge to rise for 30-60 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, puree 8 oz zucchini in a food processor until it looks like apple sauce. Scrape the bowl as needed as the zucchini will ride up the sides at first.
  • Add the zucchini puree, 1½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper and 1 large egg to the sponge. Mix on low speed to combine. Add 5 oz (1 cup) of the bread flour and mix to form a thick batter. Switch to the dough hook. Add the remaining flour a little at a time. Knead for 5 minutes or until the dough clings to the hook and clear the sides of the bowl. 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.
  • 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 and set at room temperature for 1 hour. After an hour, with the dough still in the bowl use your hand to lift the top edge of the dough over into the middle of the dough. Repeat with the other 3 sides then flip the dough over. Cover the bowl. Each hour repeat the folding procedure until the dough ferments for a total of 3 hours. By now the dough should be lively, elastic and airy. If the dough is still sluggish give it another hour or two at room temperature. After the initial fermentation the dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days, or you can go ahead and shape and bake the loaf the same day.
  • 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 1-2 hours until the dough has almost doubled in volume and springs back slowly when poked. The rise time will be longer if the dough is cold from the fridge.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 °F. Brush the loaf with egg wash, Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese or garnish of your choice. Bake about 30-35 minutes until golden brown and the interior temp is about 200 °F.

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If measuring the flour by volume use the “dip & sweep” method. That is, dip the measuring cup into the flour bin, overfill it, then sweep away the excess.


Serving: 1slices | Calories: 131kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Trans Fat: 0.001g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 224mg | Potassium: 72mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.5g | Vitamin A: 44IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 0.4mg
Have you tried this recipe?Mention @eileen.bakingsense or tag #bakingsense!

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Recipe Rating


    1. Sure, I don’t see why not. As long as you don’t put a huge amount in I think it would be fine.