Culinary artist...or not...

Harvest is a great time for baking, and since we were blessed by friends with several zucchini, I figured one of the best uses of zucchini is zucchini bread. The only downside of zucchini bread is the white flour, white sugar, and oil. I suppose the zucchini, nuts, and raisins make up for the other, less healthy ingredients in some small way. But after all of the research I've been doing on grinding wheat berries into flour or better yet, sprouting wheat berries and making bread form the sprouted grain - white flour just doesn't measure up. White flour has all of the nutrients stripped away, and white sugar...well...taste is about the only thing it has going for it. Honey could be a good substitute, yes? So...armed with this knowledge and several years of experimenting with recipes (with some success) I decided to make my own healthy brand of zucchini bread. Two lovely loaves came out of the oven the other day, smelling oh-so delicious. They were a tad on the dry side, but still edible. (Never mind the butter I put on to add moisture.) Nevertheless, the dryness meant the bread recipe was not quite perfect, so I determined to try again.

This time, I Googled best zucchini bread recipes and found one that was labeled "healthy." It did cut the fat and used whole wheat flour, but still used white sugar. It also doubled the amount of zucchini in most recipes. Maybe that was a misprint. I should have listened to my instincts when the recipe ended up too soupy. I actually dumped it from the pans back into the bowl in order to add more flour, but then thought better of it. It looked thick enough.

Unfortunately, substituting honey for sugar, even when you cut back on the oil, does not work when you have that much zucchini. Especially semi-pureed zucchini. But I still had high hopes when the bread rose to the right height and the toothpick came out almost clean.

Thirty-five minutes later after the normal baking time it was still "almost" clean for one loaf, clean for the other. I took the clean one out and waited a bit to take it out the pan, only to discover it had sunk in the middle. I turned it onto a board anyway, hoping the insides were just too moist, but still edible. The inside was still gooey. How can a toothpick be clean but the insides be gooey? So I put it back in the pan and hoped to revive it.

The other loaf continued to bake and appeared "almost" done every five to ten minutes. At last I could wait no longer and pulled them both from the oven. Both sunk. Both were gooey. I actually cut one up and baked the gooey slices on a cookie sheet, but that just ended in something resembling dog treats!

I could draw an analogy here and say that attempts at experimental baking are almost like writing a book's first draft. You end up with a lot of gooey mess along the way, and some of the attempts are worthy of the trash bin and nothing more. (Those overcooked, underdone loaves didn't even taste good! Raw batter tastes better.)

But I am not going to give up. I may not be a culinary artist yet...but the next attempt might just be perfect!

Never give up!


PersonalJill Eileen Smith