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Courgette, cheddar and basil quick breads

by Nancy Anne Harbord
Courgette, cheddar and basil quick breads

Courgette, cheddar and basil quick breads

PT1H30M

Why not try?

Many courgette bread recipes call for courgettes that are just grated and added straight to the batter, however in this recipe I have grated, salted and thoroughly squeezed the courgettes to remove as much moisture as possible. By doing this you can add twice as much courgette to the mixture, which is better for your five-a-day (or ten!) and adds to the delicate vegetable flavour.

As these loaves are very moist inside, they will last a day or two, covered, on the work surface. But for the very best freshness I suggest freezing – they defrost quickly either at room temperature or in a low oven.

I like the insides of my loaves to be a little custardy, but if you prefer your loaves to be more crumbly and bread-like, you can leave out one of the eggs.

I have baked this mixture in disposable mini loaf casings, but if you would prefer to bake the mixture as a whole loaf, increase the cooking time to about one hour.

It is extremely important to leave these loaves to thoroughly cool before attempting to remove from the paper casings. If they are still warm, they will stick to the sides of the casing and you loaves will be destroyed. So no matter how hungry you are, and no matter how yummy they look – back away!

Ingredients

Metric

Imperial

1
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
2
Grate the courgettes on the largest holes of the grater and add to a colander. Sprinkle with 2 tsp of flaky sea salt (most of this will be drained away later) and toss with your hands to combine. Leave to drain in the sink for at least 30 minutes. When the courgettes have softened and released quite a bit of liquid, transfer half of the grated vegetable to the middle of a clean tea towel, bunch all the corners together and twist to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Set aside.
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3
In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients (the flours, baking powder/soda and 1 tsp flaky sea salt) until well combined.
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4
Add the courgettes (grated, salted and squeezed). Finely slice the spring onions and add to the bowl.
5
Roughly chop the basil and add to the bowl. Divide the cheddar in two – grate one half and cut the other half into 1cm cubes – and add to the bowl. Mix everything together well with your hands.
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6
In a separate, medium-sized bowl whisk together the eggs and buttermilk.
7
Fold the buttermilk and egg mixture into the dry ingredients, mixing only until just combined – any more and the bread could turn out tough.
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8
Divide the batter between small, disposable loaf pans, filling only about three-quarters of the volume – any more and the mixture will overflow and drip onto the oven bottom as it rises (like mine did!).
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9
Bake for about 45 minutes until very well browned and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. It might seem like a long time for such small loaves, but any shorter and the middle won’t be cooked. The loaves will look very brown for at least the last 15 minutes of cooking.
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10
Cool completely before removing from the loaf casings – if you don’t, you won’t be able to get them out of the loaf casings and will be left with a horrible, depressing mess. Leaving the bread to cool fully also improves the texture of the crumb.
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