I’ve been eyeing this bread in the “Encyclopedia of Vegetables and Vegetarian Cooking” cookbook since the summer. I had it tabbed with a daisy post-it note that said “Jake” (in other words, “Make this when Jake is back home”) but hadn’t tried the recipe until today. Jake helped me mold the dough into balls and he was a great water pourer as well. We did make a few changes. As many of my friends know, we’re leaving this Sunday to go to Ohio for a bit for Christmas. It’s the first time everyone in my family–with the exception of my mom and dad–will meet Jake. It should be a lot of fun. Anyway, we’ve been trying to use up all our perishable stuff before we leave. So although the original recipe calls for parmesan cheese, we used mozzarella instead. It was already in our fridge and parmesan was not.Also, as you can tell from the photos, somehow we ended up with 2 extra dough balls. I do not know how this happened. I thought I was counting out 8 and apparently I had 9. I don’t own a bread pan so I was using a 9-inch pie plate instead and I could only fit 7 of the dough balls in there. Luckily I have 2 ovenproof bowls that I use for Vegetarian French Onion Soup or Rum Baked Bananas that were the perfect size for the 2 dough balls. So they got their own little oven homes and they turned out lovely. They didn’t make it very long. Jake and I split and devoured one as soon as it was not as hot, then Jake gave me the puppy dog “But I want another!” look and we split the second one too. Now he’s at home drooling over the intact zucchini crown and I’m at work. He keeps sending me text messages about how it looks so good and he wants to eat it, but I forbade him to touch it before I left because I want to be there when we break into it to see how well it cuts when totally cooled. I highly recommend this recipe, with the parmesan or the mozzarella, as I’m sure both of them are good. This is a great addition to your holiday table because it looks so fun and I’d rather eat this than plain old dinner rolls. I’m just hoping the house still smells like baking bread when I get home from work tonight!
Zucchini Crown Bread
1 pound zucchini, coarsely grated
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 packages active dry yeast
1/4 cup freshly grated mozzarella
ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
lukewarm water, to mix
milk, to glaze
sesame seeds, to garnish
1. Place the zucchini in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Let it drain for 30 minutes then pat dry (or grate it right before going to bed and let it sit, covered, in the sink overnight).
2. Mix the flour, yeast, and cheese together. Season with black pepper.
3. Stir in the oil and zucchiniand add enough lukewarm water to give you a good firm dough.
4. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until it’s smooth.
5. Return the dough to the mixing bowl, cover with oiled plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place.
6. Meanwhile, grease and line a 9-inch round baking pan.
7. Preheat the oven to 400F.
8. When the dough has doubled in size, turn it out of the bowl. Punch it down and knead lightly.
9. Break into 8 balls, rolling each one and placing it in the tin with one ball in the very middle and the others positioned around it.
10. Brush the tops with milk and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.
11. Let it rise again, then bake for 25 minutes or till golden brown.
12. Cool slightly in the pan, then turn out the bread to cool more.