Ah, the wonders of summer. (Sorry, but when it’s 90+ degrees out for days on end, it’s summer already!) With summer comes zucchini. And with zucchini comes lots of …
You guessed it! Zucchini bread.
This recipe uses soaked, freshly milled whole wheat flour, yogurt, eggs from pastured hens, and locally-raised raw honey. It’s not a dessert bread by any means. It’s both mildly sour and sweet, with enough cinnamon to make your house smell like heaven.
Why soak the flour?
Grains are notoriously hard for our bodies to digest. Think of it this way: They are essentially the seeds of various forms of grass (yes rye, wheat, oats, corn, etc. are all grasses). The only animals designed to eat grasses are ruminants (like cows). We don’t have four stomachs. So, we’ve got to “pre-digest” grains by preparing them according to traditional methods if we’re going to actually get all the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients out of them as we possibly can without wreaking untold havoc on our digestive system in the meantime.
Or, you can look at this way: As seeds, the grain’s goal is to reproduce, to sprout, to turn into a new plant. So, they are on the defensive. They do everything in their power to preserve the seed and to make it unpalatable for us to consume. As such, the seeds contain an anti-nutrient called phytic acid which binds to minerals like calcium and zinc as well as vitamins like niacin in our guts and prevents our bodies from absorbing those valuable nutrients. They’re also acid-forming in the gut, and their high-carb properties make them the ideal food for all the bad yeast, viruses, and parasites living in our intestines.
Because of all this, many people (including myself) opt to avoid grains. They’re a lot of work! But sometimes, you want to eat grains. They’re cheap. They’re tasty. And if you eat them with a lot of fat (like delicious yellow butter from grass-fed cows), you’re not going to have the extreme insulin response you’d expect from all those carbs.
To overcome the barriers presented by grains, you can give the grain what it wants by sprouting it (in this way, your body digests the grain like a vegetable and not like a seed) or you can do the work of a ruminant’s stomach and soak the freshly milled flour in an acidic medium to help break down the phytic acid and “pre-digest” the grain.
- 3 C. freshly ground whole wheat flour
- 2 C. yogurt
- 2 C. grated zucchini
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 3 eggs (from pastured hens)
- 1/4 C. melted coconut oil
- 1/4 C. honey
- 3 tsp. cinnamon
- 3 tsp. vanilla
- 2 tsp. baking soda
Begin with your freshly milled whole wheat flour.
Add in your yogurt and stir until a batter forms.
Cover with a plate and let sit for 12-24 hours. The longer you let it sit, the more developed the flavor will become. Plus, the longer you let it set, the more digestible the grain will become.
About an hour before you’re ready to put the bread in the oven, grate your zucchini, sprinkle it with the salt, and let it sit for an hour.
After an hour, you’ll notice a significant amount of water collecting in the bottom of your bowl. Drain the water, then pat your zucchini dry using a white towel.
Add the zucchini, eggs, coconut oil, honey, cinnamon, vanilla, and baking soda to your mixing bowl and mix until evenly distributed.
Pour the batter into an oiled & floured 9X4 baking pan.
Bake at 350F for 1.5 hours or until a knife stuck in the middle comes out clean. Remove from pan and let cool completely before slicing, toasting, and serving with a healthy dollop of butter from grass-fed cows. YUM!
Mary P. says
Oh wow, does this ever look good! I can’t wait to try it – thanks!
I have a question. Whenever I soak my flour (stone-ground wholemeal from a healthfood store) it forms a dark skin. Well, not really skin-like, but the surface is definitely much darker than the rest of the batter, and rather off-putting. I have covered the bowl with cling-wrap when I do this, so it’s not drying out, but I noticed you covered it with a plate. Does it need to be protected from the light as well?
Mary P — Thank you.
Emma — I have only ever covered my soaking grains with plates, but I didn’t think it was necessary to protect it from light. I just used plates for convenience (less waste). I’ve never gotten a dark skin. Perhaps you could try covering your next soak with a plate and see how it turns out. If you still get the dark skin, try a different brand of flour. Honestly, I’m clueless. I’ve never experienced the problem you’re describing.
Local Nourishment says
Zucchini bread is hands-down the favorite way of consuming zucchini here! This recipe looks very delicious, I can almost smell it from here! Thank you!
Thanks for that, Kristen. Will try that next time, but in a different bowl! The one I usually use is huge, and I don’t thing a plate would be adequate 😀 Stainless steel appears to be ok, by the photos in your post. (Still waiting on my copy of Nourishing Traditions, hence the questions.)
Emma, I get the dark skin as well. I’ve found if I take a piece of aluminum foil and put it directly onto the dough, tucking it in around the sides, but not underneath, the skin won’t form. I’m sure you could do the same with plastic wrap or whatever you have.
Kristen, this looks delicious. I keep eyeballing my zucchini, waiting for them to grow!! I bought some this morning @ the farmer’s market and I kinda went overboard LOL. Maybe I’ll make this instead of the sourdough blueberry muffins I was going to make. 🙂
Does the yogurt need to be plain or can I use vanilla flavored?
Love your site.
i wonder if you could use a different gluten free flour in this bread. look good though.
This looks delicious, it’s a keeper. I’m going to be having plenty of zuchinni this year, and we usually get plenty from neighbors too 🙂
Maria — I’ve only used plain yogurt, so I’m not sure about vanilla yogurt. The most important thing to look out for is that the yogurt is tart and has lots of live, active cultures in it. If the vanilla flavored yogurt passes that test, I don’t see why you couldn’t use it. Most commercially available flavored yogurts have sweeteners added to them, so you might want to be aware of that and reduce the honey accordingly.
Courtney — I’m sure there’s a way to make it gluten-free, and I bet somebody else out there has already done the work.
Kyle — Yes, summer time is zucchini time!
Laryssa @ Heaven In The Home says
Thanks for this wonderful recipe. Zucchini bread has always been a family favorite, but our recipe was filled with sugar and white flour. I haven’t been able to make it the old way in a long time. Now we can have it again…yum!
Laryssa @ Heaven In The Home
Mary Ellen says
I saw some zucchini at our farmer’s market last weekend. I’ll have to pick some up and give this recipe a try. Thanks!
I love using yogurt in my cooking ,but have never used it in a baking recipe! Bread with zucchini sounds great! BTW, when we make dosas, the grain and lentil is always soaked before being ground to a paste,then left to ferment overnight!
Becky and the Beanstock says
Wow, what a fascinating post. This makes perfect sense — after all, one important ways that seeds get dispersed is via a bird’s stomach. When it comes out the other end, it’s still viable, and thus plants migrate and survive. Even so I never would have thought to soak my flour — I enjoyed reading this. I actually found you because I was reading about Fight Back Friday on Burp! Where Food Happens and I had no idea what that was, so I Googled and that led me to your site. Glad I found it.
Becky and the Beanstock
YUM this looks wonderful. I stumbled it.
Courtney – I have found that coconut flour works great as a gluten-free substitute for flour. You just need to add more eggs. And use less flour.
Becky — I don’t eat grains unless they’resoaked or sprouted. Otherwise, it’s just too hard on our digestive systems. Traditionally, most grains were either sprouted before being dried and milled into flour, or they were soaked in an acidic medium. That’s where we get foods like buttermilk biscuits or pancakes. (People soaked the whole grain in buttermilk overnight, then cooked with it in the morning.) Traditional porridge is oats soaked in yogurt overnight before being cooked in the morning. Real sourdough is dough that is allowed to ferment for a long period of time (sometimes as long as a month!) before being cooked. You get the idea.
Sadly, in our age of industrialized food processing, we don’t bother with these traditional methods at all. They’re too slow for our fast-paced lives. In so doing, we’re wreaking havoc on our guts. People may not notice it right away, but after years or decades of eating improperly prepared grains, you’ll probably notice a mild gluten-intolerance being built up, as well as other digestive issues developing.
Welcome to the site! Hope you stick around. 🙂
Ann Marie — Thanks for the Stumble!
Do you ground your own flour? If you do, what do you use?
Michelle @ Find Your Balance says
Oh! So you can soak the grains after they’re ground. I thought you had to do it before. Can I do this with WW flour I buy at the store? I haven’t graduated to a flour mill yet.
Michelle @ Find Your Balance
Amy — I do grind my own flour. I use the Family Grain Mill because it can be both hand-cranked (in the event of a power shortage) or powered by my Kitchen Aid stand mixer.
Michelle — Yes, you can do it with whole wheat flour you buy at the store. You’ll want to stick to a really reliable brand (like King Arthur) and try to buy the freshest flour possible because about a week after being milled, whole wheat flour starts to oxidize enough to taste bitter, and that bitter flavor keeps increasing with age.
Annie - Hip Organic Mama says
sounds so delish! Thanks for the recipe and great tips – and my, what a nice hand you have there 😉
Annie – Hip Organic Mama
Guess goat-milk yogurt would work? If I can get more milk from my goats that is. . . Making good use of my grain mill and all my zuchinni – can’t wait to try this recipe!
This recipe smelled amazing while baking but turned out really mushy…I cooked it for over 2 hours…did I use too much yogurt? I did add a little extra and I did use spelt flour, but i wonder why it didn’t bake into bread? Oh well, love the site anyway!
Brooke Larm says
This turned out awful for me. I baked it for over 2 hours and it was still so mushy. I ended up putting the batter into muffin tins and baking longer, which finally worked, but then the muffins cooled with a white film on them. Maybe from the yogurt or coconut oil or both? Yes, proportions were correct and I followed the protocol for removing the liquid from the zucchini. Sorry, but this recipe is being deleted from my list.
Hi Jillian — Using extra yogurt would definitely be a no-no. A good rule of thumb when you soak grains is to not judge the dough or batter’s appearance immediately after mixing. As the flour soaks overnight, it will absorb a good amount of the liquid and appear to be significantly more moist than it did the night before.
Also, it could be that the zucchini was still too moist, or the yogurt a little too runny.
I’ve not experimented with spelt for this bread, so I don’t know how that would do.
Thanks Kristen! The dough did look really thick…next time i’ll be more patient 🙂
Maybe this is a stupid question, but I don’t understand this sentence :
“[Grains} are essentially the seeds of various forms of grass (yes rye, wheat, oats, corn, etc. are all grasses). The only animals designed to eat grasses are ruminants (like cows).”
The you mention the four stomachs ruminants have for predigesting grass. But if this was the case, then cows would be able to do just fine eating corn, right? So why do they do so poorly on it? I guess the way that I’m reading this, it seems like you are saying if only we were cows, we’d be able to eat all the grains we want to.
Cora — I guess you’re reading more into the sentence than I intended. Even cows — which are the only animals with a digestive system that can handle grasses — have a hard time digesting SEEDS. If it’s difficult for them, with their four stomachs and beneficial bacteria and enzymes, how much more difficult is it for us? We really should only eat grains (and seeds) if they’ve been properly prepared first.
Thanks for clearing that up for me.
I just picked our first zucchini and want to make this bread. Don’t have any yogurt. Do you think I’d get the same results soaking it in 2 cups of raw milk?
Just wanted to say thanks for the recipe. It was soo yummy!
I thought the wheat flour / yogurt mixture was way too thick (was almost like playdough when I mixed it). But I didn’t add any more liquid than called for in the recipe & when it was all mixed – it was just right. I think my pan was smaller than yours & so I made a loaf & then about 9 cupcakes. The cupcakes had a wonderful crumb. The bread was dense and moist – great too. But I think I may do this as all cupcakes in the future since I think the smaller shape will yield a different density.
This was my first soaked grain bread recipe! And it worked fabulously! Thanks!
It’s cooking now, but I realize that it was too much batter for my pan! I used an 8.5 by 4.5 pan, which I thought would be sufficient, but I definitely could have made some muffins too. Darn! There is cooked batter all over the oven and the inside is taking forever to cook. Next time I will use my better judgment!!
Sara — What a tragedy! 8.5 x 4.5 pans are shallower than 9 x 4’s, and so have a lower volume. Hopefully it will be able to be rescued. 🙂
I can’t wait to try this recipe! I’ve recently learned about soaking and am trying to incorporate it into my life as much as possible! Do I leave the dough soaking at room temperature? Thanks
Yes, I always soak grains at room temperature. It’s the warm, acidic environment that helps activate the enzyme phytase (which breaks down the phytic acid in the grain).
I soaked my wheat berries and when I tried to make them into flour, they seemed to moist so the consistency was more like a paste. I added the yogurt anyway and now it’s sitting in the fridge – should it be there or on the counter for the 12-24 hr of fermenting? the flour / yogurt mixture seemed very thick – is that ok? I used greek yogurt.
Greek yogurt would be too thick, since it’s been strained of its whey already.
When you soak a whole grain like wheat berries, you want to let it dry completely (either in the sun, a dehydrator, or warm oven, before grinding into flour.
Would this work with buttermilk??
I can’t think of any reason why it wouldn’t. It would be slightly more sour, though, depending on the buttermilk.
I did a search looking for ways to soak WW flour for a banana bread. Soooo, I’m going to tweak this recipe and use bananas instead of zucchini. Here’s to hoping!
And thanks for the recipe. 🙂
.-= erica´s last blog post …Recycling sort of Crayons =-.
wondering . . . started this last night. mixed ww flour and yogurt. i didn’t get a batter, i got a dough. looks like a ball of bread dough. even had to “work in” at least 1/2 c of the 3 c of flour to get it all mixed in with yogurt. kept reading here. some have said “batter/dough;” you’ve said “don’t judge it right after mixing.” covered it with a plate. 12 hours later, mine is still a dough ball.
a few variables specific to my world: i’m at high elevation = 7500 ft, and i’m in New Mexico = dry. would either of those variables have mistakenly given me a ball of dough instead of batter? help?
.-= halo´s last blog post …Representation =-.
Yes, I think both of those things will affect any baked good you’re trying to make. Compared to you, I’m in the tropics! If I were you, I’d experiment with ways to keep it moist (maybe add more yogurt or not drain all the liquid from the zucchini).
Just did a google search for “soaked zucchini bread” and this came up. Awesome recipe! Question- would I be able to substitute spelt flour for the whole wheat? We are trying to be wheat-free these days (not necessarily gluten-free anymore). Thanks!
I’m not sure. I’ve never used alternative flours with this recipe.
Oh, my gosh, I am so excited to find like minded friends who are for predigested grains, raw milk products, bacon, etc! GO, GIRL!!!! Thank you!
As a side note, I need to get a grain grinder–any recommendations?
I use the Family Grain Mill because it can be hand cranked or powered by my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer.
I have never heard of soaking grains before. I was wondering if it’s safe to have the yogurt unrefrigerated?
Melissa robinson says
Made this last night. Soaked the whole wheat flour. Let it sit in plain raw yogurt for 24 hours. It was more like a tough dough after incorporating the flour. After it was baked, the flavor was nonexistent and the ingredients didn’t incorporate well at all. I’m puzzled. It made the house smell wonderful but it was a big disappointment. What did I do wrong? The only thing I changed was to use pre ground whole wheat. The honey was not enough to sweeten it.
Wow! This came out super delicious 🙂 I used pre-ground whole wheat flour and my first time attempt at raw yogurt (which came out quite thin) and the bread turned out perfect. Set nicely, and so, so moist!
I can not have cow milk any suggestions on what I can use in place of the yogurt?
Cindy Smith says
I am supposed to be on a gluten free diet; do you have a variation to this recipe incorporating some gluten free GOOD TASTING flour? Thank you for your help!
When I mixed in the yogurt, the batter is very dry and stiff. It doesn’t look anything like yours. I guess I’ll wait and see what happens tomorrow on baking day
Another way to predigest grains is to make bread. Sourdough fermentation also helps to break down the antinutrients and get the nutrients in grains.
I just tried this and it came out awesome! They are delicious! I’m so excited. I’m trying to cut back on sugar and eat healthier, so I definitely appreciate this recipe. Thank you so much!
Just wonderng, is greek style set yogurt okay to use as the acidic medium to soak flour? Or does it have to be the runny kind? Thanks
Hi, I am wondering if you can substitute spelt flour for the whole wheat flour?? thanks.
Hi! Could I make this recipe with butter instead of the coconut oil? Where I live, coconut oil is quite expensive!
Kelsey Forbes says
This recipe didn’t work for me at all. Like several have said; it smelled amazing, but it essentially never finished cooking and yielded an incredibly dense and not at all sweet bread; I’m not a sweet tooth at all, it was just as if the honey/maple disappeared. I had added chocolate chunks, which helped with the total lack of sweetness, but it was just not as delectable as I hoped it would be. It was more like a bland bread pudding.
This is my second attempt with this recipe and my cakes are sinking and not cooking properly,,