When a bit of malaise or lack of inspiration hits us here at Grist & Toll, we often turn to the beautiful books written by Sarah Owens: “Sourdough”, “Toast & Jam” and “Heirloom”. They never fail us, always delivering inviting images, delicious recipes, and Sarah’s warm, nurturing guidance. We have harnessed some of Sarah’s magic by plying her with with one of her favorite flours – Einkorn. In fact, if there were to be an arm wrestling contest to see who loves Einkorn the most, it might just be a draw! However, it’s a win for everyone when Sarah marries a favorite grain with a favorite summer treat.
Please enjoy this guest post and recipe written by Sarah Owens. To learn more about Sarah and support her work, you can follow her on Instagram @sarah_c_owens or become a member of her Patreon community at www.patreon.com/sarahowens
Whether you are well stocked from your own garden or have been lured by the glistening stacks at your local farmer’s market, it is once again time to get creative with summer’s zucchini abundance! This generous squash isn’t celebrated for outstanding flavor on its own and many balk by the end of the season at having to dream up inventive pairings. Rather than succumbing to blandness and culinary boredom, zucchini’s moisture can be harnessed for baking when combined with rich and nutty ingredients to boost interest. The result is this crave-worthy zucchini bread with robust whole grain identity that comes together quickly and is easily mixed by hand.
When developing this recipe, einkorn flour was the natural choice for adding a deep, sweet aroma. This ancient grain is well known for its ease of digestibility but does have a distinct and low threshold for hydration, especially for a whole grain flour. It is therefore important to consider the ratio of other wet ingredients when striving for a tender but sliceable crumb. Brown butter was the appropriate choice of fat to both up the yum-quotient but also honor einkorn’s usability with moist ingredients; when slowly browning butter on the stove top, not only are the milk solids toasted to create a nutty aroma but any residual moisture in the butter is evaporated.
A simple explanation of browning butter is to slowly heat any amount of unsalted butter over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the foam mostly subsides, a distinct butterscotch aroma develops, and the milk solids turn to a toasted brown color. The amount of time this takes will depend on the amount of butter you are using and its initial moisture content. Selecting a high butterfat brand will assist in shortening the process in addition to using a shallow, wide and heavy-bottomed pan to assist in evaporation. Do keep an eye on the pan to avoid scorching the butter and immediately transfer to a clean, heat-proof container for storing once the solids are toasted. You may prepare the brown butter several days in advance and store in the refrigerator making sure to bring it to a soft room temperature before using. I make large batches at once to store and use for all manner of applications. It is a secret weapon for adding complexity to both baked goods and for finishing savory vegetable side dishes as well.
My personal preference is to keep nuts and seeds in vegetable-enhanced loaves crisp, so they have been added to the top of the prepared batter only. This also allows the bread to remain firm when sliced with a distinct contrast between the crumb texture and upper crust. Raw, unrefined sugar is used here, sometimes referred to as panela or piloncillo at health food or international markets. There are several excellent organic brands available, but you may use light brown sugar as a substitute instead.
Brown Butter Einkorn Zucchini Bread Recipe
Makes one 9-inch by 5-inch pan
175 g raw cane sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
90 g brown butter, room temperature
210 g coarsely grated zucchini (about 2 small or 1 medium squash)
zest of 1 lemon
230 g whole einkorn flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
25-50 g raw walnuts (optional)
1-2 tablespoons raw black or white sesame seeds (optional)
1. Preheat your oven to 325°F.
2. Prepare the pan.
Line a 9-inch by 5-inch baking pan with a parchment paper sling so the sides overhang lengthwise. Grease the pan and paper with butter or nonstick spray and set aside.
3. Prepare the wet ingredients.
In a large bowl, beat together the raw sugar and the eggs with a large spoon until well incorporated. Beat in the butter until the surface is no longer slick, the mixture is smooth, and falls in ribbons from the spoon. Stir in the zucchini and lemon zest and set aside.
4. Prepare the dry ingredients.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda and powder, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg.
5. Mix and rest the batter.
Combine the dry ingredients with the wet a third at a time, folding to incorporate until no dry lumps remain. Allow the batter to rest uncovered on the counter for 10-15 minutes to allow the whole grain flour to hydrate. Transfer the batter to the baking pan and gently tap the pan on the counter to release any air pockets that might lead to the loaf falling when it is cooled. Arrange the walnuts and sprinkle the sesame seeds on top, if using.
6. Bake the bread.
Transfer the baking pan to the preheated oven and bake for 60-65 minutes, rotating halfway through. The bread will be done when the sides pull away from the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center tests moist but clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes so that the crumb may set.
7. Cool and serve the bread.
Using the parchment paper sling, lift the loaf from the pan onto a cooling rack. Carefully remove the parchment paper and discard. Allow the loaf to cool at least 2 hours before slicing. Store wrapped in a reusable material such as beeswax-coated wraps or in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 5 days.