Thursday, July 9, 2020

Bread Rises to the Pandemic--It's Back and Hot!

By Cal Orey

The pandemic has got me, and perhaps you, too, hooked on bread like everyone else around the Lake. It’s a comfort and cheap food you can bake at home to beat cabin fever blues, sort of. As a devout proponent of quick or fast bread aka a staple without yeast and with self-rising flour (no baking soda or baking powder required).  Quickie breads are often called cakes or loafs, too. The cool thing is, lemon bread can be made in one easy peasy all-in-one bowl. It’s versatile (served for breakfast, brunch, or dessert) and simply summerish.
This week as I write an article about traveling during a pandemic (a painful task as I miss my solo adventures to feel connected to humanity). I find myself longing for going on a book tour like I enjoyed in the past. I recall one Barnes and Noble discussion and signing in Seattle, Washington. After the busy event with a full audience (no masks or social distancing needed) instead of talking more with the locals I, the introvert, escaped to the Pike Place Market. It’s a tourist trap, packed with people, and a farmer's market rich in produce. I got a lemon and berries, and bought a few slices of fresh nut bread from a baker.

This lemon loaf is inspired by my trip to the Northwest, a place I have flown to numerous times – and miss --- but now this treat will have to suffice and take me there vicariously.

West Coast Lemon Bread
½ cup salted butter (save 1 tablespoon for greasing loaf pan; I cannot find European style variety 
because rumor is all the town bakers get it first)
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
¾ cup buttermilk
2 cups self-rising flour
½ cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons lemon rind
1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds (optional)
Confectioners’ sugar
Fresh blueberries, almonds, sliced, thyme for garnish

Summer Sale 2.99
Grease 9” x 5” loaf dish. In one large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, and buttermilk.  Mix in flour. Add juice, stir. Fold in rind and poppy seeds. (These are good for you, look nice like a poppy seed bagel, but they can get caught in your teeth.) Pour batter into a butter greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until golden brown, Remove from oven and cool before taking out of loaf pan. Serves 8-10. Before serving, sprinkle with sugar. Garnish with fresh thyme sprigs, berries, and nuts for more flavor, varied texture, and eye-catching presentation. Pairs with coffee or tea. Freezes well in an airtight container.
Mid-week, when it was cool in the afternoon, I baked a batch of this citrus quick bread. The aroma of sweet and tart energizing lemons lingered in the kitchen and living room. This bread is super moist and dense like a buttery pound cake I enjoyed as a kid. The thyme, blueberries, and nuts give it a sophisticated healthful West Coast flair.

So, I settled for a slice of lemon delight and watched the local news. I fantasized about booking a flight late fall to Emerald City.  But now it’s bread, tea and thou with a Pacific Northwest vibe enjoyed on the south shore of Lake Tahoe.

— Cal Orey, M.A. is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, Tea, Superfoods, Essential Oils, and Herbs and Spices) published by Kensington. The Healing Powers of Chocolate is featured by Newsmax. Her website is

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