Lemon Quick Bread
Anyway, years ago, just after my husband and I got married, I was finishing up my student teaching in a small town in Wisconsin. The home port of his submarine had just changed from Pearl Harbor to San Diego and I was counting down the days until I was done with college and could join him in California permanently! My best friend, Ashley, who happened to be a fellow Navy wife and married to my husband’s best friend and fellow sailor on the sub, flew out to road trip across the country with me and my last car load of belongings. There was one day left in the term and at 3:00 I would be free to go. Ashley was waiting at my apartment, cleaning and all prepared to cram a ridiculously large amount of stuff in my jeep and I was barely able to contain myself. Understandably so, right? I was about to embark on a legendary road trip and a tall, dark, and handsome sailor was waiting for me at the finish! Wouldn’t you be excited? Just before I finally left the school, my teaching supervisor gave me some parting gifts: a huge bag of candy for the road trip and a paperback Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook for my kitchen. I tucked the cookbook in the glove box, the candy in the center console and we hit the road. I will spare you the details of the trip but suffice to say that we survived a blizzard in the Rockies, Vegas, and seven lanes of traffic that were bumper to bumper and yet traveling at over 80 miles an hour.
Due to the size of the closet apartment that we lived in, all of my books were packed in boxes and stored. This included every cookbook I owned, with the exception of BHG, which, as it happened, was still in the glove box of my jeep! I spent the next two years cooking for a lot of sailors and I used it constantly as a reference. Understand that this was over ten years ago, so the Internet was not as much of an enormous recipe reference like it is now. There was no Tastespotting, Foodgawker, Healthy Aperture, or Pinterest. So I took a lot of notes while watching Food Network! For some reason, lemon bread became one of those things that I really wanted to make, and I made it often. Since the BHG version was all I had access to it became my regular. And it still is. Even though the view out my window has changed from the Pacific to a sea of Midwestern corn and I am no longer feeding hungry sailors but instead my beautiful family, just using the cookbook makes me think of those days.
Now, let me be clear. This recipe is just your basic quick bread. The flavor is mildly lemon with a sharp glaze brushed over top. The bread is not a delicate cake that you would serve for dessert, but instead is more of a snack kind of thing. Some other time I will post a recipe for a super lemony, delicate lemon loaf that you can serve with berries and cream. But for now, here is a version that you can whip up in a bowl with a wooden spoon. No creaming of butter and sugar and no alternating milk and dry ingredients while you mix. Just a regular quick bread. And I have no doubt that you will love it regardless of where you are and who you serve it to.
One Year Ago: Black & White Angel Food Cake
Lemon Quick Bread
Adapted from BHG
Note that this bread has a lemon and sugar glaze that gets brushed on when it comes out of the oven. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP! The glaze makes this bread and punches up the subtle lemon flavor. You won’t regret it!
In a large bowl:
2 c flour
3/4 c sugar
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
Mix with a whisk until evenly combined. In a large measuring cup:
1 c milk
1/4 c canola oil
zest of half a lemon
juice of half a lemon, about 2 T
Whisk together with a fork and add to the dry ingredients. Gently fold together and mix just until completely combined. Pour into a greased 8X4 inch loaf pan and bake at 350 for 50 minutes to an hour, or until toothpick comes out clean. I actually cover my bread lightly with foil at the end to prevent over browning. In the meantime, in a small bowl, combine the juice of the other half of the lemon (about 2 T) and 1 T of sugar, stirring every so often until sugar dissolves. When bread is done, brush evenly over the top of the loaf, continuing until all the syrup is gone. Let cool in the pan at least 10 minutes and then turn out onto a cooling rack and cool completely. This tastes even better the next day!