Food

Time for a Palate Cleanser: Lemon Poppy Seed Bread Anyone?

Sometimes life gets to be a bit much. You know what I mean? There always seem to be dishes in my sink (how do they even get there? Beats me), full calendars and to-do lists, and the overarching theme of stomach pain. That’s what makes the holidays so fun, I think, because it gives a chance to get away from the everyday life that sometimes bogs us down so we can concentrate on the greater things like family and food.

It’s like a palate cleanser. Like eating lemon in the midst of a holiday season filled with chocolate. Now don’t get me wrong, I am still my father’s daughter who will accept chocolate any day of the week, but every once in a while, I need a little lemon to keep life fresh and exciting. When Aaron was out of town a little while ago, I had the biggest craving for lemon poppy seed bread. Lemon poppy seed has always been one of my favorite kind of bread (like those huge Costco muffins. Oh man), and I found this amazing, super moist bread recipe online. It has this zingy glaze on top that really locks in the moisture, and it’s jam packed with poppy seeds. I’m telling you, it’s unstoppable.

So in the midst of frantic holiday gift shopping and making 5 different chocolate cookies for your holiday parties, try a little lemon poppy seed bread. Maybe leave the dishes for the night and watch some Parks and Recreation instead. Go crazy.

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread
Yield: 2 loaves (which will disappear far quicker than they should)

INGREDIENTS

Bread:
3 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons lemon zest from about 3 large lemons
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt, lowfat or regular
3 Tablespoons poppy seeds

Glaze:
1/3 to 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (use the lemons we zested for the bread)
4 Tablespoons sugar, more or less depending on your sweet tooth

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat two loaf pans with cooking spray and a dusting of flour (just to be sure the bread actually comes out).
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest and rub the mixture with your fingers until the sugar smells deliciously lemony and is moist. Stir in the eggs, vanilla, oil, and yogurt. Fold in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add in your poppy seeds and mix well to disperse them. Pour the batter into the prepared pans about 2/3 full and smooth the top. Bake the bread until the top has a nice golden color and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean or with only a few crumbs (I tend to like my breads more moist, so I don’t wait until the toothpick is clean). It should take somewhere between 45–55 minutes for the 2 loaves.
  3. Whiles your loaves are baking, start mixing the glaze ingredients in a small saucepan. Let the mixture come to a boil, and take it off the heat until your loaves have finished baking. When the loaves come out of the oven, let them cool for about 4–5 minutes on a wire rack. Then tenderly take them out of their pans and return the loaves to the wire rack to finish cooling. At this point, poke a few holes with your toothpick and drizzle the glaze over your warm loaves so the glaze can sink in. This last step adds an extra zing of lemon and helps the loaves stay perfectly moist. Be sure to cover the loaves, and either refrigerate them or leave them at room temperature. Personally, I prefer the bread a little cold. Loaves will stay moist for about 3 days (if they last that long).

Recipe adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe