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Lemon Poppyseed Bread

From the kitchen of Kathy Kexel

3 Tablespoons poppy seeds
1/8 Teaspoon saffron (optional) (gives a warm flavor and deep golden color to bread)
½ Cup milk
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 Cup sugar
2 Eggs
1 ½ Cups AP flour
1 Teaspoon baking powder
2 Lemons – grate zest, then juice
½ Teaspoon salt

Lemon Syrup
¼ Cup sugar
¼ Cup lemon juice

Combine poppy seeds, saffron, if used, and milk.  Let stand one hour to extract flavor.

Preheat oven to 325 F. Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs, one at a time.  Combine dry ingredients and lemon zest.  Add to creamed mixture, gradually, alternating with poppyseed milk.  Beat until just smooth.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pans or muffin tins.  Bake.
Standard loaf: 1 hour
Miniature loaves or muffins: 45 – 55 minutes

While bread is baking, prepare syrup.  Combine sugar and lemon juice in saucepan.  Stir over low heat just until sugar dissolves.  Pierce hot loaves or muffins with skewer.  Pour hot syrup over bread.  Let cool in pan 30 minutes before turning out onto cooling racks.  This is best served the next day.

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