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Monday, March 30, 2015

Lemon Poppy Seed Easter Bread

When some friends over at The Daily Meal and Country Crock teamed up and invited me to create a special Easter baked-goods recipe that includes Country Crock,
1.) I was honored
2.) I wanted to create something that tastes of Spring and was different than anything else I have ever made.
Plus I wanted something that not only incorporated Country Crock spread as one of the ingredients, but could also be served with Country Crock spread. And since I've been on a bread kick here lately, I knew it had to be some type of Easter bread.

So I searched and found this beautifully made bread by Eva Toneva. It was like something I had never seen before and after reading through the instructions, really quite simple to make.

I added my own personal touch to flavor this bread with the sweet taste of Spring by adding a little sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest in the dough, generously brushing lemon butter over the bread after baking, and then drizzling a sweet lemon glaze over the top with a sprinkling of lemon zest to finish it off. I don't think it's possible to get any more lemon in this bread! And the pop of color the poppy seeds bring is fashionably bold. Yes, if bread can be fashionable, it would wear poppy seeds!

You can even get the kids involved by having them help with making the bread by rolling out the dough, creating the shapes with the dough, and arranging the dough in the pans. The looks on their little faces when the bread comes out of the oven is priceless. 

A delightfully light and flaky, sweet lemon, pull apart bread that is sure to be your family's favorite this Easter.

Lemon Poppy Seed Easter Bread

Makes 3 mini breads
(I made 1 mini and 1 medium bread)

Ingredients for bread
2 teaspoons dry instant yeast

1 Tablespoon honey or granulated sugar

6 and ½ Tablespoons milk, warmed

3 and ¾ cups all-purpose flour, sifted (+ more for rolling out and shaping bread)

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 eggs, lightly beaten

10 Tablespoons milk, warmed (extra)

2 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted

2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

½ teaspoon lemon extract

½ cup granulated sugar

Zest of 3 lemons

2 Tablespoons poppy seeds (+ a little extra for sprinkling over the top before baking)

6 and ½ Tablespoons Country Crock spread, melted and cooled

*Ingredients and directions for making Egg Glaze, Lemon Butter, and Lemon Glaze below directions for making bread*

Directions for making bread

Preheat oven to 355F degrees.

Line 2 to 3 large baking dishes with parchment paper. Set aside.

Spray a large mixing bowl with non-stick spray. Can also wipe down with olive oil or coconut oil. Set aside. This is the bowl you will be using for letting your dough rise.

In a medium bowl (since yeast will expand as it warms), dissolve yeast and honey (or sugar) in 6 and ½ Tablespoons of warm milk. Cover with a cloth or paper towel and let sit in a warm place for 10 to 15 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour and salt. Mix in sugar, lemon zest of 2 lemons, and poppy seeds. Blending throughout flour mix.

Make a small well in the center and add eggs, remaining 10 Tablespoons of warm milk, coconut oil, lemon juice, and yeast mixture.

Using the bread attachment for your stand mixer, mix all ingredients together until dough becomes soft and pliable. Use a plastic spatula to help scrape sides.

Remove dough from bowl and place on a floured surface. Knead with your hands for another minute or two. Place dough in prepared bowl, cover with a cloth towel, and let rise in a warm place for 60 to 90 minutes. Dough should double in size.

After dough has doubled in size, lightly punch down dough with your fist, remove from bowl, and place on a floured surface.

Divide dough into 2 equal parts.

Divide these 2 parts into 4 pieces. You should now have 8 pieces of dough.

Roll each piece of dough into a roughly shaped rectangle with a thickness of 3-5 mm. Brush four of the rectangle shapes with melted Country Crock.

Layer with another rectangular shape of dough
Brush with melted Country Crock. If you have extra, set aside and use for Lemon Butter after baking.

 Roll up like a cylinder. You should have 4 cylinder dough shapes.

Taking one of the cylinder dough shapes, cut off both ends, about 1 to 1 ½ inches. Set the ends aside.

With the middle dough, cut four triangular shapes like above. Set triangles aside. Repeat same for next three cylindrical dough shapes.

In the middle of your prepared tray, arrange the end pieces of dough into a circle, placing the cut sides down.

Arrange the triangles around the middle circle, like the petals of a flower.

Cover with a cloth towel and let rise in a warm place for 30 to 40 minutes.

After 30-40 minutes, mix together egg yolk and milk (Egg Glaze recipe below) and lightly brush over dough. You can sprinkle extra poppy seeds over the breads at this time.

After 30-40 minutes, dough rises a little more

Brush with egg glaze and add poppy seeds

Bake bread for 10 minutes at 355F degrees. After 10 minutes, reduce oven temperature to 320F degrees and continue baking for another 15 to 20 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Brush with Lemon butter and let cool after removing from the oven

As soon as bread comes out of the oven, brush with melted lemon butter (recipe below).

Let cool for about 1 hour before drizzling lemon glaze (recipe below) over the top of bread. Sprinkle zest of one lemon over the top.

Serve with Country Crock spread and enjoy!


Ingredients for Egg Glaze before baking

1 egg yolk
2 Tablespoons milk

Directions for Egg Glaze

In a small bowl or mug, add egg yolk and milk. Whisk with a small wire whisk or fork until fluffy. Brush generously over bread right before putting into the oven to bake.
Ingredients for Lemon butter after baking

2 Tablespoons Country Crock spread
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions for lemon butter

In a small bowl or mug, melt butter in microwave. Cooking time depends on your microwave but it shouldn’t take more than 1 minute. Remove from microwave and add lemon juice. Mix together and brush over top of bread after baking.
Ingredients for Lemon Glaze

2 Tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup powdered sugar

Directions for lemon glaze

Add lemon juice and powdered sugar together in medium mixing bowl. Using a handheld mixer, whip together until smooth. Drizzle over finished breads.

And for all of you wondering, yes, I did have a piece (or two) of this bread for quality assurance, of course. I am still on my Sugar Crush Challenge and I know this bread has sugar in it, but not a lot of sugar. I actually ended up taking this to work since I didn't want to be tempted anymore and they all loved it! So in all, it worked out because I got non- biased reviews from my co-workers! And since I had a few pieces of this yummy Lemon Poppy Seed Easter Bread, I'm thinking I will extend my challenge for an extra week {smile}.

*Disclaimer - This is a sponsored post by Country Crock and The Daily Meal. Recipes and opinions are 100% my own.*

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