Lemon Poppy Seed Bread and “Memory Aromas” (WIAW)

As I write this it is Thursday morning and I’m sitting on my living room love-seat  The smell of sweet, baking bread floods the house. Coupled with the aroma of my mother’s vases upon vases of freshly cut lilacs, everywhere I turn I get a whiff of something wonderful.

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread (Grain-Free)

The oven says that there is still 13:36 minutes to go, but I’m not sure that I can wait that long to take a peak at what’s inside. After mixing up the batter for my experimental bread loaf I popped it in the oven, set the timer, and in an unusual self-restraint I haven’t opened the oven door even once.

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread (Grain-Free)

For me it’s not how the bread is going to taste, because I am 100% confident that the taste is spot-on. It is very impossible to go wrong with such simple ingredients. No, my main concern is how it is going to look and cut. Is it going to be too soft, too dense. Will it crumble when the knife slashes through the crust? Will there even be a nice golden crust that is pertinent in calling any baked good recipe a success?

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread (Grain-Free)

Right now though, I’m satisfied to just simply sit in content smelling the amazing scents wafting from my kitchen. I’ll worry about how it actually turns out 9:56 minutes from now. While we wait together though, how about we chat a moment about smells? Obviously I have a thing or two to say about them since the introduction to this post contained such words as “aroma,” “whiff” and “scents.”

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread (Grain-Free)

Isn’t it amazing how various smells can bring up so many wide-ranging feelings? For instance, whenever I smell cinnamon rolls my mind drifts back to Christmas mornings of my childhood where we’d pull out a few rolls of Pillsbury Dough Boy cylinders and have cinnamon-filled, frosting-covered pastries ready before my parents even came downstairs to open presents. On the other side, whenever I smell baked parmesean cheese I can’t help but remember the time in a fancy restaurant where my waitress accidentally spilled my arriving entree of spaghetti all over my entire lap much to my embarrassment as well as her’s.

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread (Grain-Free)

According to some scientists who did an experiment in 2009, there is actually a reason behind why smells can provoke such vivid memories. Using a variety of odors, images and an fMRI scanner (to measure brain activity using changes in blood flow), the researchers tested 60 participants to uncover the scientific basis behind what the reporting article calls “memory aromas.” What they found was one week after being exposed the first time to the aromas and images, the participants elicited the same brain activity patterns. A graduate student, Yaara Yeshurun’s concluding remarks in regards to the study was “As far as we know, this phenomenon is unique to smell. Childhood olfactory memories may be special not because childhood is special, but simply because those years may be the first time we associate something with an odor.” (Psych Central).

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread (Grain-Free)

Armed with that dose of scientific knowledge and the timer just going off, I’m going to go check on my bread and will report back soon!

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread (Grain-Free)

Grain-Free Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

Grain/Gluten/Wheat-Free, Dairy/Nut-Free Option, GAPS/Paleo-Friendly

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread (Grain-Free)


  • 2 cups almond flour (replace with sun flour to make this nut free)
  • 1/4 cup poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup ghee, butter or coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 small mashed banana
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from approximately 1 1/2 lemons)
  • 2 tsp freshly grated lemon rind (from approximately 2 lemons)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread (Grain-Free)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a large loaf pan (9″x5″) with parchment paper to prevent sticking.
  2. In a small bowl combine the almond flour, poppy seeds and sea salt.
  3. Then separate the eggs, dropping the egg whites into a food processor and the egg yolks into a large bowl.
  4. Turn on the food processor and let it run until the egg whites are stiff.
  5. Meanwhile, add the ghee, honey, mashed banana, lemon juice, lemon rind and vanilla extract all to the large bowl of yolks and combine well.
  6. Next, using a spatula carefully fold in the whipped egg whites to the egg yolk mixture. Add the flour mixture next, folding it in just until combined (make sure to not over-mix or the egg whites will deflate and the bread will not rise as much).
  7. Pour the bread batter into our lined loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes. Cover with aluminum foil to prevent the top from getting too dark (I dropped the ball on this part! 😉 ) and bake for approximately 45 more minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and the tops springs back to the touch.
  8. Let cool completely before removing and slicing. Enjoy!

Note about the recipe: On GAPS you are not allowed to have baking soda in the beginning, so none of my baked goods recipe for GAPS include this ingredient. Thus why I have to whip the egg whites (it replicates the rise that baking soda causes). If you want to make this easier to make or make it vegan (by replacing the eggs with flax eggs), skip whipping the egg whites and add a tsp of baking soda to the dry ingredients. I haven’t tried it this way, but it should probably turn out fine.

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread (Grain-Free)

Well, it was obviously a success! So much so that I’ve made it twice so far as my family gobbled up the first loaf in less than a day… The bread smelled just as wonderful out of the oven as it did while it was baking. Just heavenly! I literally leaned over the slices just to smell it since I wasn’t able to actually take a bite myself 🙂 This recipe is the perfect way to kick off the warmer months ahead when lemon is all the rage… Lemon slices in your water, lemon popsicles,  lemonade. And now lemon poppy seed bread!

Thanks Jenn for letting me share my recipe with WIAW today!


What is your favorite way to enjoy lemon?

Do you have any memories that are linked to certain smells in the kitchen?

Is there any food that you are looking forward to this Spring/Summer?

80 thoughts on “Lemon Poppy Seed Bread and “Memory Aromas” (WIAW)

  1. I’ve been debating about purchasing poppy (confession: I totally wrote poopy first lol) seeds for quite some time.. and after seeing this recipe, I have offically been talked into it. YUM!

  2. That loaf looks like it came out perfectly! I can totally relate with you on the need to check the oven every 5 seconds. I literally cannot leave anything baking alone. The struggle is definitely real 😉

  3. This looks so, so delicious. I definitely have smells that trigger memories: cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning, grilled meat for summer BBQ’s…the list goes on. I’m really looking forward to berry season!

  4. This look sooo good!
    I am going to have to try this…Actually I have never made a lemon poppy-seed bread before…I’m excited to try 🙂

    • Thank you Fran!

      You can go on Bob’s Red Mill website and there is store locator to find a store near you that would carry almond flour! Around me, Meijer, Kroger’s and sometimes even Wal-Mart carries it.

    • Well none of my recipes include wheat flour so I hope you find something that works for you! Almond flour is a great alternative but it does take a little experimenting if you want to convert recipes. If you have any questions just let me know 🙂

  5. I absolutely love lemon poppy seed, I will have to try out your recipe!! My high school sold mini muffins of these once a week and I would always get one!

    • Oh trust me… If I could eat this without being down for a few days afterwards, I definitely would 😉

      Lemon drizzle cake sounds amazing! I’ve been thinking that a coconut oil/honey combo would be lovely drizzled on this bread!

  6. Your bread looks so pretty! Looks like it came out perfectly 🙂 I really like lemons in fresh squeezed lemonade, or with seafood like in shrimp scampi. And I’m looking forward to having grilled corn on the cob with cilantro butter this summer.

    • You should have seen the pictures of my first try 😉 Haha. I was a little overzealous and took it out before it had cooled. It literally just crumbled in my hands 😦

      Lemon juice on shrimp scampi is a great choice! Oh, and grilled corn too… You’re making me hungry!

    • I don’t eat my creations right now… but I hate when I run out of flour!! My mom will ask: Can you make us some bread? and I say sure! Then.. Empty cabinet and hungry family. Lol. Definitely stock up if they are on sale! Or I have made homemade nut/seed flour with some success when I needed a replacement right then and there.

  7. This is a beautiful way to introduce a recipe, love, which looks delicious 🙂 whenever i smell mulch, i remember long weekend days gardening with my mum, while yeast makes me think of making bread with my dad 🙂

  8. Um, wow. That bread is just gorgeous! And I love your story-telling build up to the recipe. 🙂 I honestly could eat/drink lemon in just about anything. That flavor can’t be beat!

  9. This loaf looks amazing. And I’m sure it smells great, too.
    The smell of cinnamon always reminds me of my grandma’s pancakes. So it’s no surprise that I love cinnamon and sprinkle it on everything.

    • Haha. Ya, I can only guarantee from personal experience the smell, which is fantastic let me tell you 😉

      I bet your grandma was a good cook like mine. Cinnamon pancakes sound great.

  10. oh my heavens this looks amazing! Just pinned it! 🙂 It interesting how smells are tied to memories. I would say the smell of chocolate chip cookies reminds of my childhood. My mom would have some ready for us when you got home from school sometimes. And when we made them with her we always fought over who got to lick the batter off the paddle attachment on the kitchenaid mixer! (It was usually me) hehe. 😉

    • What did we do to keep recipes before Pinterest? I know personally I just lost them. Lol.

      That’s such a cute story about your mom having Chocolate chip cookies for you when you came home from school! Just like on tv. I didn’t know moms actually did that 🙂 Jealous!! Haha.

  11. And now I totally have a hankerin’ for a lemon poppyseed muffin. Yup, a hankerin’. And the smell of the grill ALWAYS links me back to memories of eating outside on the porch with my parents as the sun goes down. I can just feel that summer evening air when I smell things grilling!

    • Haha. Well if you have a hankerin’ then you better get a makin’ some 🙂

      I love the smokey smell of the grill! Great memory! It reminds me of paper plants and laying out on the grass for BBQs.

  12. Thanks so much for whipping up a simple, grain-free recipe. I have been searching for one for a while now, but the ones that I have stumbled upon require so many ingredients! I’m looking forward to more of your recipes. 🙂

    • I know what you mean about some of the grain-free recipes. Some of them contain A LOT of ingredients. Like weird gums, obscure flours, etc. Basically the only odd things you need for mine are coconut flour and almond flour! Let me know if you try any of my grain-free breads and let me know what you think! Also, I don’t use baking soda in any of them, but if you want I can explain how to add it in if you prefer.

  13. I am looking forward to berries, cantaloupe, and all of summer’s vegetable and fruit bounty :)!
    This bread looks delicious. Lemon poppyseed is one of my fav flavors!

  14. ….that bread looks unreal! Yum!!
    Im sure I probably do have some memory aromas in the kitchen but I cant think of them off the top of my head; normally it takes for me to actually smell them before I remember anything haha.
    Im looking forward to all the delicious fruit – strawberries!!

    • No worries- I think our brains are on the same wave length because I can never think of something when asked a question but later on my brain just bursts with random thoughts and memories! I’m getting better though 🙂

      Strawberries are an excellent choice. Great for smoothies!

  15. Holy YUM! I love the idea of this lemon treat, but I also love lemon in tart-form. And about the smells question, steamed cauliflower always reminds me of boarding school :/

    • I’ve never had/made a tart before, let alone a lemon tart, but that sounds great! That’s too funny that steamed cauliflower reminds you of boarding school. I have certain foods that remind me of school too. Mostly “eh” memories 😛

  16. This recipe looks so good! Lemon poppyseed bread is one of those quick breads that I never really think of making, but when someone else does and I have a piece it’s always SO good. I really need to think about making my own one of these days!

    • Before this I never thought to make my own at home either. For some odd reason though we had poppy seeds in our cupboard that my mom wanted me to use up (?? really? Who buys poppy seeds? lol). So I made this! You should try it out and break tradition! 🙂

  17. This bread looks amazing! Great job! I know what you mean about resisting the urge to open the oven door, or to wait until the baked good cool! I have minimal patience haha.

    • Thanks for the lovely comment Brittany. I resisted the urge this time, but that never happens to me. I just can’t help but peeking! When I was actually able to eat all of the breads that I made sometimes I was known for actually taking a chunk out before it was fully cooked. Terrible, I know 🙂

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  19. Wow, this bread came out fantastic, and I love the combination of lemon and poppy seeds. I also love lilacs this time of year. At our old house, we had a huge bush, and I would cut off bundles of blooms every year, bring them inside and just inhale. So wonderful. I planted lilac bushes at our current house but they haven’t been mature enough to bring flowers inside yet. Maybe this year. My fingers are crossed that I come back from vacation and can bring some inside. Another wonderful smell for me is almond extract. It always reminds me of a pastry my mother made on Christmas morning.
    I hope you enjoyed your last week of freedom, and your pictures look great.

    • I feel like I’ve been saying “me too!” for everyone’s memory aromas, but it’s true. Haha. We have lilacs outside our house and I know what you mean about the smell. Just beautiful.

      Sadly they were a little overpowering this year and gave me a headache. I swear I wasn’t trying to make my mom mad, but she understood and moved them to a different room. Lol. I guess sometimes you really can have too much of a good thing.

      My fingers are crossed as well that when you get back from your trip you’re able to bring some inside. Fresh flowers are just ten times better than house plants in my opinion (except for cacti. I just love our aloe plant!).

      Ughh… Another “me too”… but seriously! 😀 We have a family recipe for these super delicious frosted cookies that have almond extract in the powdered sugar icing. So good. Almond extract in pastries sounds delicious as well!!

      My last week of freedom was pretty boring, so I’m actually kind of excited to be working and having something to do!

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