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Know Your Ingredients, Know Your Costs

$0.50 And 90 Minute Zucchini Olive Oil Bread

$0.50 And 90 Minute Zucchini Olive Oil Bread

Looking to surprise your taste buds with a delicious and unique flavor combination? Then you have to make this $0.50 and 90 Minute Zucchini Olive Oil Bread. This savory bread is fully capable of standing on its own and gets even better when enjoyed with a glass of tea! As you dig into your second slice keep in mind that this bread only uses 100% whole wheat flour and has absolutely zero added sugar. Time to get excited about that third slice!

Ingredients (~12 Servings):

  • 2 cups of 100% whole wheat flour
  • 18-20oz of zucchini, grated (~2-3 zucchinis)
  • 2/3 cups of olive oil
  • 1 navel orange (juice and zest)
  • 3 flax eggs (3TBSP of whole flax seeds mixed with 9TBSP of hot water)
  • 1/2 cups of raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 TBSP nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt

Tools:

  • Loaf pan (~ 4.5″ by 8.5″)
  • Cooling rack
  • Parchment paper
  • Aluminum foil
  • Cheesecloth (cheap, versatile item you can pick up at the grocery store)
  • Cheese grater
  • Citrus juicer (see Chef’s Tools for my recommendation!)
  • Chef’s knife
  • Small bowl
  • Medium bowl
  • Large bowl
  • Spoon or spatula for mixing

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Make the 3 flax eggs in the small bowl by combining whole flax seeds with hot water. Set aside for ~5 minutes so it will become soupy, stirring occasionally.
  3. Line loaf pan with parchment paper (like you’re making $5 and 30 Minute Cardamom Squares).
  4. In the medium bowl, combine the flour, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Chop off the bottom 1/2″ of each zucchini, then use the large holes on the cheese grater to shred it into small strips.
  6. Use the cheesecloth to wring as much excess water out of the zucchini strips as possible and then transfer the zucchini to the large bowl. See tips section below for how and why to wring out the zucchini!
  7. Rinse the orange, then use the smaller holes in the cheese grater to zest (scraped the outer peel off the entire orange). Put the orange zest into the large bowl.
  8. Use the citrus juicer to juice the entire orange. Add juice to the large bowl.
  9. In the large bowl with the orange juice and zucchini strips, add the flax eggs, nuts olive oil and mix to evenly distribute the ingredients.
  10. Add the dry ingredients to the large bowl and stir to combine.
  11. Transfer the dough into the prepared loaf pan.
  12. Press additional sunflower seeds into the top of the loaf using the back of the spatula and sprinkle with flaky salt (optional).
  13. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Then remove aluminum foil and bake for 30 more minutes.
  14. Transfer to a cooling rack immediately, allow 15 minutes for it to cool and enjoy!
  15. Once cool, wrap completely in aluminum foil to store.

Total time = 90 Minutes (30 minutes to prep, 60 minutes to cook)

Zucchini Bread Diagonal

Tips:

Step 2 – Check out my $0.50 and 70 Whole Wheat Apple Banana Bread post for more on flax eggs!

Step 6 – So why is this step necessary? Why can’t you just shred the zucchini and call it good? Well, do you like soggy bread? Neither do I. Fun fact, zucchinis are 95% water so it is important to remove some of that excess water to balance out the ratio of water to dry ingredients. So here’s what you do:

First, cut about a 1-foot section of cheesecloth. Then put a handful of zucchini in the center like this:

Wet Zucchini

Fold up the corners of the cheesecloth so that the zucchini is fully contained in a little bag. Hold the bag over the sink with one hand, use the other to squeeze the zucchini to remove the excess water. No need to remove every last drop, just squeeze until the water stops easily pouring out. Once you’ve removed the water, the zucchini should look something like this:

Dried Zucchini

I recommend working through all the zucchini in 4 batches. When there’s too much zucchini in the cheesecloth, it becomes difficult to remove the water from the zucchini in the middle.

If you’re in a bind, you can use a dishtowel instead of cheesecloth. It’s not quite as good as cheesecloth since it’s thicker and will need to be thrown in the washing machine afterward. Good news, all the green zucchini juice will wash out though!

Step 8 – Some oranges are juicier than others! I’ve made this recipe with anywhere between 4 and 8 TBSPs of orange juice and it’s turned out great!

Note: I’ve tried this recipe with Mandarin and Navel oranges. I do not recommend using Mandarin oranges, they are small so it takes multiple oranges to make this recipe and their skin is very thin so they are difficult to zest and then juice. The size and peel of navel oranges work very well for this recipe. Feel free to try out other types of oranges and let me know what you think!

Step 10 – I recommend working in two batches to speed up this step. Mix in half the flour completely, then add the second half. Dumping all the dry ingredients in at once can lead to flour all over your counter when you try to stir it in.

Step 11 – I recommend working in three batches. First, add enough dough to fill 1/3 of the loaf pan. Then, use the back of the spatula to press the dough down into the sides and corners. Repeat this two more times to fill the loaf pan. This will give your bread flat, uniform sides. When I forget to do this, I end up with bread with cavities on the sides and/or bottom.

Step 13/14 – Check out my $0.50 and 70 Whole Wheat Apple Banana Bread post, for more on the benefits of covering with foil and transferring the bread from the pan to the cooling rack quickly! As hard as it will be, it is important to wait 15 minutes prior to cutting into this bread. This is because it contains a fair amount of olive oil. As you can see when sautéing, hot oil is much less viscous than cool oil. Therefore, allowing the oil in your bread to cool will help the bread hold its shape.

Step 15 – Your bread will store ~3 days on the counter, ~1 week in the refrigerator and ~1 month in the freezer. I’d be surprised if the bread lasts on your counter for more than a day though!

Cost:

  • 2 cups of 100% whole wheat flour ~ $0.50
  • 18-20oz of zucchini, grated ~ $2
  • 2/3 cup of olive oil ~ $1.25
  • 1 navel orange ~ $0.75
  • 3 flax eggs ~ $0.50
  • 1/2 cup of raw sunflower seeds ~ $0.50
  • 1 TBSP nutmeg ~ $0.25
  • 1 tsp baking soda – negligible
  • 3/4 tsp salt – negligible

Total Cost per 4.5″ x 8.5″ loaf pan ~ $5.75

Cost per serving (~12 servings) ~ $0.50

Conclusion:

When I was doing research for this recipe, all of the recipes I could find included a CUP of some type of added sugar. Now that you’ve tried this bread, you tell me – is any added sugar needed? I’ll help you out, no way. The orange provides all the natural sugar that the bread needs along with plenty of other vitamins and nutrients that processed sugars lack!  It’s time to stop relying on added sugar as our secret ingredient to make a recipe taste great at the expense of our health. This recipe is proof you can have your bread and eat it too!

As always, make informed food decisions. Know your ingredients, know your costs!

Zucchini Bread Close Up



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