Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lovely Lemon Bread


Wow! It has been a whirlwind of Meyer Lemons over here this week.

Believe it or not, I had a few lemons left over after preserving so I thought I would make my neighbor a "thank you" loaf of lemon bread.

As it happens, this was a fortuitous choice as it resulted in even more lemons delivered to us.

Yesterday, I made the following: lemon bread, Shaker lemon pie, Meyer lemon gelato and since I had a few egg whites left over I went ahead and made some Meyer lemon marshmallows.

All that and I only zested my knuckle once! [Editor's note: this is better than I would do, knuckle-wise. ]

Today, I'll share the lemon bread recipe. I'll share the others too, but it takes me longer to recall and type up the recipes than it does for me to create them so please be patient. BitterSweet's Chowbacca lemon festival will continue!

Introducing The Lovely Lemon bread.

Makes 2 8" by 4" by 2" loaf pans.
Oven to 350F.

Before you begin, prep your pans with butter and flour.

In the bowl of your stand mixer combine:
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • The zest of 2 lemons (I recommend using a microplane for this task)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature.
"Cream" the butter using the cake paddle attachment to your stand mixer. This will take as much as 4-5 minutes. The volume of your butter and sugar will increase and the color will lighten as air in integrated in the mixture. Doing this will ensure the final product is light and soft instead of dense.


When the creamed butter is ready, add:

  • 4 eggs



Set the mixer to low speed and add each egg one at a time, letting the egg become fully integrated.

Scrape the sides of the mixer between eggs with the motor off with a silicone spatula.

Mix for an additional minute or two after the last egg is added.

Now its time for the dry ingredients.

Put these in a separate medium sized bowl and give it a stir to combine:
  • 3 1/3 AP Flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

In a Pyrex measuring cup that can accommodate 2 cups, mix the following together with a fork:

1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 milk(2%)
1/4 cup sour cream or creme fraîche*.

Get your 1/2 cup dry measuring cup out and give a generous scoop of the flour mixture to your butter/sugar/egg.

Blend slowly on low until it's just incorporated. Then, pour 1/4 cup of your buttermilk/milk/sour cream mixture in and mix until blended.


Repeat this process until the flour mixture is gone, you should finish with the last 1/4 cup of buttermilk/milk/sour cream.

Bake for an hour or until a wooden skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Set on a wire cake rack to cool.

While those are cooling, in a small pot combine:

1 1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup Meyer lemon juice

This is the magic right here; Set the lemon juice and sugar over med heat and stir until the sugar dissolves, it should only take a few minutes. While the lemony syrup is still warm, spoon it over the top of the loafs. It might make you a little nervous seeing all the syrup pool up on your bread but trust me, it will be fine. Make sure to give each loaf equal amounts of syrup. Set them back on your wire wrack to cool completely. Loosely cover them with a piece of plastic wrap, forget about them for at least 6 hours. I waited over night and they turned out perfectly.



After I was finished with all my baking, My Brother-in-law, who lives in Georgia commented, "Have you even stopped to make a glass of lemonade with all of those lemons?"

It seems I tend to forget about the simple things. I think I will make some lemonade, but I am taking his very wise wife's advice, "Drink it the proper southern way, and put some liquor in it!"

Happy Cooking~ 99%BitterSweet

* Creme fraîche is ridiculously easy to make at home. So easy in fact, I almost never have store bought sour cream in my fridge any more:

In a 2 cup Mason jar squeeze 3-4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, any kind of lemon juice will work- Meyer or sour. Then, pour in heavy cream to almost the top of the jar leaving some room to stir.
Once stirred, loosely cover with plastic wrap and set on your kitchen counter top for 12-24 hours. When it has thickened you can put on the lid and ring and retire it to the refrigerator until chilled.

[ Editor's note: sour cream / creme fraîche is heavy cream that is fermented with lacto-bacillis, similar to yogurt. One variation on the recipe above is to have a lacto-bacillis starter like a bread yeast starter or a sour mash for brewing. A store-bought creme fraîche should contain active lacto-bacillis culture. You can add this to heavy cream and the lacto-bacillis will multiply. The first creme fraîche I ever made was with sour cream. Should take 12-24 hours in a ceramic jar or lidded stainless steel pot at room temperature. About 72F is optimal. ]