Lemon Nut Bread

Lemon nut bread is my husband John’s favorite. Nutty and tangy, it’s perfect with coffee. I slice and freeze this bread 2 slices to a sandwich bag, laid flat, so they will thaw quickly. When company comes, I take this out first and by the time coffee is ready, these slices are thawed and ready to serve.  This is a favorite from an old Farm Journal cookbook.
Preparing the pan is crucial for this bread. I grease the bottom and 1” up the sides, add the parchment paper and then grease it on the bottom and 1” up the sides. If you grease the pan all the way up, your bread will get hard pointed “shoulders”. DON’T SKIP THE PAPER. You can use waxed paper in a pinch.
Next, zest your lemon. I love a microplane for this, except you have to be light-handed, so you don’t get a lot of the bitter, white pith. They are so available now; I saw one in the grocery store gadgets in the baking aisle. Squeeze out the juice and save it for the topping.
Cream the butter, sugar and eggs with a mixer until light and fluffy. I do sift the dry ingredients together with my fine strainer so I don’t have lumps of baking powder and salt. When adding the dry ingredients and milk alternately, divide the dry ingredients roughly into thirds, add one third first, add half the milk, add another third of the dry ingredients, the rest of the milk, then the rest of the flour. Stir this in by hand so your bread isn’t over mixed.
Add your chopped nuts and zest and spread into the pan. Bake in a preheated oven, check before the allotted time. Doneness is when a toothpick comes out clean (about 180° on an instant read thermometer). When you remove it from the oven, put it on a cooling rack and immediately prick the top all over with the toothpick. You won’t see the holes in the finished bread. Slowly pour the lemon juice and sugar combination over the hot bread, spreading it evenly. Let it soak in 10 minutes in the pan. Then, loosen the ends of the bread with a table knife and carefully lift up the loaf with the ends of the paper and put it on the rack. I didn’t use the paper on my first loaf and split it. Remove the paper and let it cool. After a couple of hours, wrap it carefully and put it in the fridge overnight. Slice the next day.

I use a scale to weigh instead of measure the flour, sugar and nuts. They are cheap and easy to use, and eliminate measuring cups and cut down on mistakes. Notice the 2 quart Pyrex measuring bowl – this is my go-to mixing bowl. I melted the butter right in it, then let it cool while I got the other ingredients ready. So handy and sturdy.
Lemon Nut Bread

1/3 Cup Butter -- melted
1 Cup Sugar (7 ½ ounces)
2 Large Eggs
1 1/2 Cups Flour, All-purpose -- sifted (6 3/4 ounces)
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Skim Milk
1 Tablespoon Lemon Peel -- finely shredded - do not get any white pith.
1/2 Cup Pecans – chopped (2 ounces)
3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1/4 Cup Sugar
(1 Large Lemon – is needed for the peel and juice)

Prepare small 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 loaf pan, grease on bottom only and 1" up sides of pan. line bottom with parchment, cut to fit. Leave parchment on sides for handles. Grease the parchment just like the pan.
Blend butter and sugar; beat in eggs, one at a time, preferably with an electric mixer.
Sift together dry ingredients; add to egg mixture alternately with milk. Blend just to mix, by hand. Fold in peel and nuts.
Turn into a greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2" loaf pan, bake in slow oven 350° for 60 minutes.
Mix lemon juice and sugar, immediately spoon over hot loaf. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pan, cool on rack, removing parchment very carefully while still warm.
Wrap and refrigerate until sliced. Do not slice for 24 hours. It will then slice nicely.

March 2010 cost: $ 2.22
Very lemony, didn't rise much, more like a poundcake in texture.
Per Serving: 173 Calories; 7g Fat (34.8% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 26g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 37mg Cholesterol; 149mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Grain (Starch); 0 Lean

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