Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

Perhaps you heard that Nashville flooded.  No?  News to you?  Well, that’s because the city didn’t get the media attention it rightly deserved, but it was a real disaster.  We’ve been in a state of emergency, people lost their homes, some people lost their lives, and infrastructure was destroyed, not to mention the devastation to the country music scene in loss of instruments and gear.  Nashvillians don’t have flood insurance, and a lot of people are desperate for help, so please consider contributing what you can.

That is exactly why I’ve been absent for a couple of weeks.  I’ve been dealing with my own flood damage and cleanup, which I can assure you is something you’d be happy never to have to do.  One of the water treatment plants was flooded, so Nashville has been on restricted water use, which means no fun cooking for me, not that I’ve had time for it.

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

It’s been a long, wet couple of weeks, and I have really wanted to make a nice treat to take our minds off the water.  Something refreshing and spring-y.  This lemon poppy seed bread did the trick.  I started with a recipe from The Joy of Baking and kicked it up a bit, using extra lemon zest for more intense flavor, adding almond extract for more complex flavor, and substituting buttermilk for regular milk for a lighter texture.  I also changed up the lemon syrup a bit, adding some almond there, too, and using powdered sugar instead of granulated.  I was more than happy with the results.  I think you will be, too.

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread Recipe  Makes 1 loaf.

adapted from The Joy of Baking

3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon almond extract
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
lemon zest of 2 lemons
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
13 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons almond extract

Lemon Syrup
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon almond extract
1/3 cup powdered sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Spray the bottom and sides of a loaf pan with nonstick spray.
  2. Whisk together the eggs, vanilla extract, almond extract, and buttermilk.
  3. With a mixer, beat the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, lemon zest, and poppy seeds until combined. Add the softened butter and half the egg mixture and mix on low speed until moistened. Increase the speed to medium and beat for about one minute. (This aerates and develops the cake’s structure.) Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the remaining egg mixture in two batches, beating about 30 seconds after each addition. (This will strengthen the structure of the batter.)
  4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. You may have to cover the bread with foil after about 30 minutes if you find the bread over-browning.

Meanwhile, make lemon syrup.

  1. Combine sugar, lemon juice, and almond extract.

Add syrup to warm bread.

  1. When the bread is done, remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Pierce the hot loaf all over with a wooden skewer or toothpick and then brush the top of the loaf with about half the hot lemon syrup.
  2. Cool the loaf in the pan for about 10 minutes then invert onto a greased wire rack. Brush the remaining syrup onto the bottom and the sides of the loaf.
  3. Re-invert the bread so it is right side up and then cool the bread completely before wrapping.

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