Make-Ahead Lemon Bread

I wish I wasn’t such an impulsive baker, because as much as I appreciate the rule “read the recipe before making”, I very often do not; especially when a recipe is for something I make all the time. In this case, it was a lemon bread which I made yesterday morning to go with my afternoon coffee. Halfway through the recipe, I caught the last line “do not cut for 24 hours”. What a bummer. So I didn’t post the lemon bread yesterday, but rather wrapped it in foil and waited until this morning. Todd tried it first and declared it lemony. My first thought upon tasting was “sweet” but in a good way. It’s definitely lemony and sweet, but flavorful with an interesting note from the almond extract and added texture from the nuts. Overall, what I liked best was the crusty coating the bread developed after sitting all night in its glaze.

lemon bread loaf

This was very good, though I wish I’d made it in a slightly smaller pan. The late Charlotte Turgeon, editor of the collection where I found the original version of this, called for an 8 1/2 inch long loaf pan, but I think mine was slightly longer and perhaps wider. It seems like it’s hard to find smaller loaf pans these days.

Lemon Bread Cut

Make-Ahead Lemon Bread with Toasted Pecans

1 ½ cups sifted all-purpose flour (I used 6.8 oz)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest
6 tablespoons butter, melted and slightly cooled
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup pecans, toasted and chopped (or use any nut you like) — blueberries or fruit might be good!

1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8 ½ by 4 ½ inch loaf pan with flour-added cooking spray.

Mix the sifted flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside.

Mix 1 cup of sugar and the lemon zest together in a mixing bowl, pushing the lemon around with the back of the spoon and pressing it until the sugar becomes fragrant with lemon. Stir in the melted butter. With the mixing spoon, beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat in the almond extract. By hand, stir in the flour mixture alternately with the just until blended. Stir in the pecans.

Pour the mixture in the prepared pan and bake for 55 to 65 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. As soon as the bread comes out of the oven, mix together the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. Pour over the top. Let cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pan. Let cool completely, wrap in foil, and do not cut for 24 hours.

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  1. Pam Shank says

    I love sweet, lemony breads so I will give this a try for sure. Anna I made the vanilla cupcakes & frosting you had on here a few days ago and they were delicious! I was happy to use some of my vanilla bean paste…bought it last summer or fall and had not even opened it. I will use it now. Thanks

  2. says

    Sounds good with the nuts.
    I have 2 pans that are 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 and 1 that is 9 x 5. I have no idea where I got any of them, but it does make a difference, I’ve noticed.
    And for the record, I often don’t read through recipes all the way either, just scan the ingredient list. sigh

  3. KAnn says

    I haven’t made lemon bread for the longest time! I am currently trying to decide on an easter brunch dessert but it will be a busy weekend at WF and I work through Sunday….I love anything with lemon or lime.

  4. says

    That crusty coating looks good! My favorite part of quick breads is the crust.

  5. says

    I would hesitate to make this ahead only because it’d be gone before the guests came over! This bread is right up my alley! Yum!

  6. Laura says

    Your bread looks wonderful. 🙂 I know this has nothing to do with your lemon bread, but I have a question for you… You have a fabulous looking Texas Sheet Cake recipe that I want to play around with this weekend. Looking around on the web, the pan sizes for this cake vary widely. My biggest fear is of an overflowing cake. How tall are the sides on the 10×15″ pan you used? Thanks!

  7. says

    Wow, you’ve got willpower. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve ignored that “don’t cut till cool” instruction. Waiting 24 hours? That’s torture.

  8. Shirley says

    This looks so tasty. I’m thinking it would make great little gifts so I’m going to try making it in small bread tins and see how it turns out.

  9. Holly says

    Hey Anna, this sounded so good to me – I made it the day after your post! I modified it a bit (used half applesauce in place of the butter, used a combo of whole wheat/whole wheat pastry flour instead of white, and about 3/4 cup of sugar). Because of my changes, I didn’t know if I’d get your great results, but I was really happy with how it came out. I love how lemony it is and the almond extract is really, really good with the lemon. Thanks!

  10. says

    Holly, thanks for the review and for adding your changes! I’m working on another bread recipe this week which you might like. It makes the same size loaf and it only has 3 tablespoons of oil. It’s not a lemon bread, though.

  11. Jesse Bluma says

    Hi Anna,

    So agree on reading the recipe ahead of time, a great reason to bring kids into the kitchen. It is such a terrific learning opportunity for children. Cooking and baking allows them to exercise delayed gratification. I will have to try your recipe above. Here’s a bread recipe you won’t have to wait 24 hours to eat.

  12. Donna says

    Made this for company for brunch and we all loved it even though I forgot, too, and cut after 12 hrs. I’m making it again this week and this time I won’t touch it for the 24 hrs. It will be interesting to taste the difference.

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