May 28, 2024

EMBRACING A HEALTHFUL SUMMER TRADITION: GYO FRESH, HOMEMADE SWEET BREADS

Healthy Summer Homemade Sweet Breads

By Carmen Greger

Summer is a season abundant with fresh produce, providing a wonderful opportunity to incorporate these ingredients into our meals and desserts. Sweet breads, a delightful treat with their delicate sweetness and moist texture, offer a wholesome way to appreciate the season’s bounty.

Imagine baking zucchini, pumpkin, or carrot into a lovely loaf, sweetened naturally and free from gluten and dairy. With their remarkable taste and healthful components, these summer sweet breads are perfect for an afternoon snack, a charming hostess gift, or a nutritious breakfast alternative.

Among the many healthy sweet bread options, zucchini bread stands out. Renowned chef Martha Stewart says, “When you’ve got an abundance of zucchini in your garden, it’s time to bake bread.”

Zucchini bread, like its summer sweet bread counterparts, is not only delicious but also packed with essential nutrients. This green squash is high in fiber, vitamins A, C, and K, and antioxidants, contributing to heart and eye health.

Here’s a scrumptious, easy-to-make recipe for a gluten-free, dairy-free, and low-sugar zucchini bread. This recipe calls for agave syrup, but you can also use other natural sweeteners like honey or brown rice syrup, depending on your preference.

Delicious Zucchini Bread from Scratch

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup agave syrup
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 2 eggs (or flax eggs for vegan alternative)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated organic zucchini (about 1 medium-sized zucchini)

Procedure:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C), and grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the agave syrup, apple sauce, eggs, and vanilla extract.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture, stirring until just combined. Fold in the grated zucchini.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center.
  6. Let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Slice and serve!

Nutritious and Delicious Blueberry Loaf Recipe

Blueberries, one of summer’s sweetest gifts, are not only delectable but also rich in antioxidants. These vibrant berries are high in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese. Additionally, they contain one of the highest antioxidant levels amongst common fruits and vegetables, which help protect your body from harmful free radicals.

Now let’s turn these nutritious blueberries into a delightful summer treat with our Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Low-sugar Blueberry Loaf. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy the flavors of the season while receiving a burst of antioxidants.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup agave syrup (or honey, brown rice syrup)
  • 2 large eggs (or flax eggs for a vegan option)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Zest and juice of one lemon
  • 1.5 cups of fresh blueberries

Procedure:

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C), and grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • In another bowl, whisk together the coconut oil and agave syrup. Add in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract, lemon zest, and juice.
  • Gradually add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture, mixing until just combined. Fold in the fresh blueberries.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center.
  • Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Slice, serve, and enjoy!

This blueberry loaf has a vibrant, fruity flavor, making it a perfect summer dessert or breakfast. Its moist, tender crumb, combined with the burst of fresh blueberries and the subtle zest of lemon, makes every bite heavenly. And knowing that it’s packed with antioxidants and other essential nutrients, you can truly enjoy this treat without guilt.

Other scrumptious Quick Breads include Lemon Loaf, Cinnamon Bread, Orange Cranberry Knots, Carrot Muffins, Pumpkin Bread, Beet-Red Velvet Cake, Sweet Potato Bread and Apple Cake.  Just make sure to upgrade these traditional recipes with appropriate substitutions to ensure they are as wholesome as they are delicious!

Including these healthful, homemade sweet breads in your summer routine can transform the season into a celebration of fresh, organic produce. As the great chef Julia Child said, “You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.”

So, embrace the joy of growing your own fruits and vegetables, and discover the therapeutic pleasure of baking. Start a new family tradition, one that is nourishing, delicious, and inspired by the best that summer has to offer.

Celebrity chef Bobby Flay once wisely advised, “The best ingredients are those that the earth gives us.” There’s something special about using produce from your own garden in your baking. Growing your own zucchini, squash, or pumpkins can be a delightful family summer tradition.

Start by choosing a sunny location and enrich the soil with organic compost. Plant the seeds about an inch deep and water regularly, ensuring the soil remains moist but not soggy. In 60-70 days, you’ll be able to harvest your home-grown zucchinis!

Giada De Laurentiis, an outstanding chef known for her love of family traditions and fresh ingredients, encourages us all to engage our families in growing our own produce, then cooking and baking together, which creates meaningful traditions, and teach valuable skills.

It’s also an excellent way to ensure the food you’re consuming is fresh, organic, and nutritious.

These summer sweet breads not only provide a flavorful treat, but they are also versatile and transportable.

Wrap a few slices for a snack on-the-go, pack them for a summer picnic, or serve them as a unique side dish. You can also wrap the entire loaf in a beautiful package as a thoughtful, homemade hostess gift.

With their natural sweetness, healthful ingredients, and homemade touch, these summer sweet breads inspire us to appreciate the season’s produce in a new, flavorful way. So why not seize the day, grow your own vegetables, and start a family tradition of baking these delightful loaves? The joy of watching your own garden flourish, combined with the enticing aroma of fresh bread in the oven, will make these moments all the more memorable.