I feel the transition happening outside, from summer to fall, and it is so welcome.
The nights are getting cooler, the cool breeze is coming in, and I swear I can smell it. (Yes, autumn has a smell. I can’t quite describe it, but I recognize it each year.)
Speaking of baking, I have a not-so-secret confession:
I can’t get myself to follow directions when baking. Does anyone else have this problem? I’m not alone, right?
I’ve always have great intentions to follow a recipe exactly as it’s written, but once I’m in the kitchen, I can’t explain what happens.
A little white whole wheat white flour here, a little almond meal there, a little agave syrup here, some coconut oil there… ta-daa! Fortunately, rather than creating dissatisfying recipe failures, these experiments tend to result in healthier versions of the basic recipe that I started with.
I have no problem eating someone else’s baked treats when they’re made with white sugar and bleached flour, but my conscience just won’t let me do it in my own kitchen. Especially when I have an arsenal of substitutes that, to me at least, taste great.
Full disclosure: Sometimes my substitutions to end in disaster. Cookies that are too flat, bread that is too dense, desserts that are too sweet, or sometimes, not sweet enough. But other times, they turn out just right.
And this time, I think the recipe below is just right. This bread turned out with the right texture and flavor, moist and perfectly sweet.
Bake this and set it out on your windowsill to cool. Feel the cool air, smell the deliciousness, and smile. Once it’s cool, slice and enjoy with a cup of tea.Print
Moist and lightly sweet, this is the ultimate homemade lemon poppy seed bread, ideal for the transition from summer to fall.
- 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup almond meal
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 Tbsp poppy seeds
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup agave syrup or honey
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp grated lemon zest
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, almond meal, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds.
- In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, coconut oil, brown sugar, and agave on medium speed until creamy.
- Switch to the whisk attachment and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla, milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest, and beat until combined.
- Add the dry ingredient mixture to the wet ingredients a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Category: Quick Breads
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Breakfast
Keywords: lemon poppy seed, lemon, poppy seed
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Zest and Juice Lemons, Melt Coconut Oil, and Measure Remaining Ingredients
Using a microplane or zester, finely zest 2-3 large lemons until you have 2 tablespoons of lemon zest.
Juice one of the lemons until you have 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
Measure the coconut oil and melt it in the microwave. Set aside to cool slightly.
Measure the remaining ingredients, and lay them out as listed in the ingredients list.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, and set it aside for later.
Step 2 – Combine Dry Ingredients
Combine the flours, almond meal, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds in a medium bowl.
Whisk these ingredients together, and set aside.
Step 3 – Combine Wet Ingredients
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with an electric hand mixer, beat together the softened butter, melted coconut oil, brown sugar, and agave syrup on medium speed, until the mixture is creamy
Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. I like to crack the eggs into a separate container first, to avoid adding any stray bits of shell to the batter.
Add the vanilla, milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice, beating until combined well.
Step 4 – Finish Making Batter and Fill Pan
Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture a little at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
Step 5 – Bake
Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let the bread cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing it from the pan and cooling completely on a wire rack.
Start the Morning with Something Sweet
I am a big advocate of starting the day off with something delightfully sweet for breakfast. Not sickeningly sweet like the colorful cereals we used to eat as children (although I will indulge in a bowl from time to time, if I’m being completely honest), but lightly sweetened with natural ingredients to provide a nice contrast from the usual savory options.
This bread fulfills that craving with a hint of sweetness in every bite, without being overwhelming. The bright lemony bread is punctuated with the crunch of the poppy seeds, making it sweet and tender, but not extremely unhealthy.
The brown sugar really brings out the flavor of the lemon and the poppy seeds, so you get a burst of deliciousness in every moist slice. It’s delicious served warm, spread with butter or maybe a touch of homemade Earl Grey lemon curd or coconut sugar lemon curd.
What’s your favorite way to enjoy classic combination of lemon and poppy seed? Is it in muffins, breads, or something else? Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to rate this recipe once you’ve tried it.
For more quick bread recipes, start the morning with any of our favorites:
Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on September 28, 2009. Last updated: June 7, 2021 at 19:44 pm. With additional writing and editing by Meghan Yager and Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.