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)

Ingredients:

  • 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)

Directions:

  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!

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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?