Whaddya know. I made lemon tea bread without poppy seeds and the sky didn’t fall in. I don’t know when in human history lemon and poppy seeds became inseparable, but I wish a mad scientist would build me a fusion-powered DeLorean so I could go back in time and stop it. This tea bread is rich, tangy and tender with a crispy, almost candy-like crust. Best of all you don’t have to pick anything out from between your front teeth after you eat it. Start yours by assembling your ingredients, preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and greasing two 9″ x 5″ loaf pans. Line those suckers with parchment paper.
Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle. I know. I bought those half stick things by mistake. What an inconvenience. So much unwrapping. Here I’m doubling the recipe in case you’re thinking this looks like a lot.
Cream that on medium high until it’s light and fluffy. This is where almost all your leavening power is going to come from so pay attention to this step. You want some good fluff here, which will mean lots of seeds bubbles poked into the butter by the sugar granules. Once that’s done add your eggs with the machine running, one at a time.
Beat all that until it’s fairly homogenous.
Scrape. Yes it’ll look a little curdled. No worries.
Whisk together your dry ingredients…
…and with the machine running on medium-low, add a third of the flour.
…followed by half the butter milk.
Stop the machine and scrape.
Add another third of the flour and continue like that until everything is incorporated. Don’t forget the scraping, that’s a critical part of any quick bread.
When the batter is finished, add the lemon juice…
…and fold that in. Adding the lemon juice late keeps curds from forming in the buttermilk. It also provides an excuse for a very thorough final scrape. Which I endorse fully.
Now pan your batter. Here I forgot to line my pans with parchment. The awful truth here: I was in a hurry and only greased these thinking I could get away with it. I forgot that this was an unusually sticky tea bread and four of my five 1-pounders stuck mercilessly to the bottom and broke when I tried to de-pan them. I now have a very large four-pound bag of lemon tea bread crumbs in the freezer waiting to be used for other purposes.
The second batch I did properly and the loaves came out beautifully after 60 minutes in the oven. I rotated them top to bottom and back to front at the 40 minutes mark to ensure even browning.
Pretty nice, right? Looks just like lemon pound cake, which, really, is what this is.