The Covered Dish: Lemon Poppy Seed Bread


Well it’s been a busy week on the home front.  Took a quick trip to Columbia, Missouri, this past week where I met up with my parents. I got a ‘load’ of home-grown pickles and we went out to lunch.  We had a terrific meal at Hoss Market,  I actually learned about Hoss Market and Rotisserie from our local REA magazine.  Paul Newton wrote a delightful article covering the business in the July issue.  Everything Paul wrote was right on target.  The food was delicious, the service had all the right touches and the specialty foods were spectacular.  It’s worth pulling off the interstates to find the unique eateries our state has to offer.


Our recipe today is another winner from my collection.  Do any of you remember the first time you had a poppy seed bread?  I certainly do, thank goodness it was made correctly.  Once in my teaching career I received a loaf with the drizzle sauce missing.  This is a crucial part of making poppy seed breads.


Another important part is poking the cake after it is baked.  When I do a loaf I would estimate there are around 100 holes poked over the top of the bread.

The tool that is used for the sauce can be a meat fork, but usually I reach for a wooden skewer.


If you find yourself exhausted by the time the bread is baked and saturated with the sauce, never fear, you’re covered.  Pour the sauce through the cake, cover with a t-towel or parchment paper and head to bed.  The bread will easily slip out of the pans the next morning.  This happens to me when I’m doing late night baking.  Just think you’ll have one loaf to enjoy now and one for the freezer.

I wrap my loaves in saran and then follow with foil.  They should hold up for 10-12 months if they’re wrapped properly.


Before lemon and orange poppy seed breads regular poppy seed breads focused on almond and butter extracts.


When I put the zest into the breads I use a micro planer/zester with four holes across.  The zesters with six holes across tend to do a style of zest I call ‘angel hair’.  If you want the lemon to be pronounced you will want to use the micro planer with the smaller amount of holes.  It’s a bit like putting cheese inside corn muffins.  If you use the fine cheese it melts into the dough and you never know it’s there.  Always use a regular cheese grate in those cornbread muffins.


Poppy seeds, consult your physician if you’re afraid they will show up on a drug test.  A nutritionist should also be able to pinpoint this more precisely.  Then you can also google the subject on line.  There are so many different answers to poppy seeds it’s just a confusing subject at times.


Time to wrap our recipe up for the week and get started setting a few new dishes.   Have a wonderful week and enjoy all the fresh produce cropping up on every corner.  Simply Yours, The Covered Dish.


Lemon Poppy Seed Bread



4 large eggs

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup milk of choice

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, softened, may melt

2/3 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon almond extract

2 teaspoons lemon extract*

1 teaspoon butter flavoring

Zest from 1 medium-large lemon**

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons poppy seeds



1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup lemon juice (Use fresh juice and bottled juice if necessary.)

2 teaspoons lemon extract

4 tablespoons butter


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray/dust two bread pans with vegetable spray including flour.


In a mixer, combine the eggs into the sugar, adding the milks, butter, oil, extracts and zest.  Blend all ingredients.  With a separate bowl combine all dry ingredients.  Gradually combine the two mixtures together until blended smooth.  Pour into 2 prepared bread pans, I prefer glass.  (May use one Bundt pan, however timing and temperature may vary.)

Tap pans on counter to release any air bubbles; place in oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.  Lower oven temperature to 300 degrees in order to maintain a light bread with a softer top.  Continue at 300 degrees approximately 55 minutes.


When the bread is almost done prepare the sauce by mixing all ingredients together over low heat.  Cook until butter is almost melted and the sugar dissolved. If it gets too hot, allow it to cool before using. With a skewer, thin chop stick or meat fork, poke randomly over the top of both cakes. Poke all the way to the bottom. Slowly pour glaze down into the holes of each cake, dividing evenly.  Allow cakes to cool totally before removing from pans.


Yields 2 bread pans or one Bundt cake.

*3 teaspoons of lemon zest were implemented in the cake body.  If you desire a milder dose of lemon use only 2 teaspoons.

**With zest the more the merrier, to lemon hounds, but again if you like a milder approach use only a medium lemon.


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