My sweet husband has a vast love for blueberries. Really berries of any kind make him very happy. This berry love also goes hand in hand with loving lemons. Fortunately this time of year both berries and lemons are fairly easy and inexpensive to come by, so for a treat I made some really good lemon berry bread. How do I know it was really good? Mostly because there were two loaves on Tuesday and by today it’s all gone.
There are a couple of unique notes about this bread. Note one…you can use whatever berries you have on hand. Fresh is best, but frozen will work and I found that blueberries, raspberries and blackberries tend to work better than strawberries. Maybe if you diced the strawberries really well first they would work, but they tend to bring too much liquid to the party. Note two…This recipe calls for 1 cup of yogurt. Plain will work fine, but it doesn’t bring much extra flavor, so I like using one small container of vanilla yogurt and one of lime, lemon or orange to pump up the citrus. Note three…we use Ultra Gel in this recipe as a stabilizer, to maintain the moisture and the tenderness. This would be an ideal bread to freeze, or to divide as muffins if it lasts that long.
So here’s the recipe. Let me know what you think!
Lemon Berry Bread
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbl Ultra Gel
1 cup plain yogurt (or 1/2 cup vanilla and 1/2 cup lemon)
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup olive oil
1-1 1/2 cups berries
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan, or two smaller pans.
In a medium bowl sift together flours, baking powder, salt and Ultra Gel. In a large bowl or stand mixer bowl whisk together yogurt, sugar, eggs, zest, vanilla and oil. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients stirring just to combine. Do NOT over mix! Gently fold in fruit and pour batter into the prepared pan. It should come up no further than 3/4s of the way. If you get berry happy and end up with excess batter pour off into a second prepared pan.
Bake for 50-55 minutes until toothpick comes out clean and top is golden brown and lovely. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes before depanning loaf.
Some folks suggest that a bread like this needs a lemon glaze. It’s nice, but totally not necessary. The combination of sugar and eggs gives a nice crunchy caramel crust and I found that the glaze undermined the flavors.