Lemon Balm Bread recipe by Gene Munson Barry
How I Started Making Lemon Balm Bread
Years ago a friend of mine and I were talking about some Lemon Balm that she had grown. I believe she used it in potpourri. She asked if I would like some and I said, "sure." So I decided I would try growing it along with my other herbs.
My friend said that lemon balm starts and grows easily and that it might take over the area where my herbs are planted. I chose to plant it by my garage which has a long wall facing East. This meant it would get full morning sun and some afternoon sun. This area has worked well for many years. As you can see (in my photo) it was a true prediction that the Lemon Balm would take over the area where I planted it. It even took over the catnip I grow and dry for my cats.
It is an interesting and a plesant pleasure to snip some of the stalks and then place them under our picnic table when we have friends over for dinner. The lemon fragrance is so pleasant and calming! It causes the guests to wonder what it is.
I usually harvest some of the crop by using a method that my father taught me. First I cut all the stalks of the bunches of lemon balm I am going to harvest. The method my father taught me entails tying a bundle of the stalks with a string, then moving to another portion of the string tying another bundle, so on and so on, until I have a string that's approximately 2 foot long. I leave some extra sting on one end to be able to tie it around something (upside down) in my hot tub room wall or ceiling. Then I allow it to dry by its self as the warmth in the room helps to preserve the dried lemon balm. [We do not use the hot tub so there is no extra humidity in that room, just lots of windows and light.] I also dry the catnip in the same manner. The cats just love having some during the winter months, or any time.
- 1/2 Cup Butter, Real
- 1 Cup Sugar, Granulated White
- 2 Eggs, Large
- 1 Pinch Salt, Pinch
- 1/4 Cup Lemon Balm Leaves, Dried and Finely Chopped
- 1 1/2 Cups Flour, Bread, Sifted
- 1 teaspoon Baking Powder, Level
- Zest of 1 lemon Lemon Peel, Grated (Zest)
- 1/4 Cup Chopped Nuts, Optional
Lemon Balm Bread Glaze
3 Tablespoons or 1.5 oz lemon juice, fresh squeezed or bottled
1/2 Cup Granulated White Sugar
1/2 Cup Hot water
1/4 Cup Lemon Balm Leaves, finely chopped.
Directions: See below
You should have this glaze ready before you remove the loaf of lemon balm bread from the oven, as you need to pour it over the bread when it is still hot.
- Pre-heat your oven to 350 Degrees Fahrenheit.
- Take your Lemon Balm by the stalks and run them under water using a gentle stream to make sure the leaves are clean and dust or dirt free.
- Allow the water to drip off, and then gently shake the stalks to drive any remaining water off.
3. Cream butter and then stir in the finely chopped dried lemon balm leaves. I prepare this entire recipe stirring by hand but it is fine to use a mixer. I dry some of the lemon balm to have to use during the winter months. This make a wonderful dish to share at family gatherings, thanksgiving, Christman, anytime.
Greased loaf pan
4. Add the white sugar and beat well.
5. Add the remaining ingredients, eggs, pinch of salt, flour, baking powder, lemon zest, and nuts if you add them, I prefer to omit the nuts. Next pour the batter into a greased loaf pan. I use real butter to grease my pan. I also usually thump the pan on the counter to drive out any bubbles that might have been infused into the batter while blending.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes. To make sure the loaf is fully baked, I use a toothpick. Insert the toothpick to the bottom of the bread. Then quickly remove it. If no dough remains on the toothpick when you remove it, then the bread is done.
7. Remove the bread from the oven. Leave the loaf in the pan and immediately pour the glaze over the top of it. This allows the glaze to soak in as the bread cools.
8. Allow the glaze to settle into the loaf for 4 to 6 hours as the loaf is cooling. After the loaf has cooled I use a serving spatula around the sides and ends of the loaf pan to free the loaf of bread so that I can invert the dish over a serving platter to make it easier to slice and serve.
9.You could spread butter if you like, but for me the flavor of the lemon in the bread is wonderful alone.
To Make The Glaze
In a medium bowl, mix the following ingredients:
- the juice of one lemon (3 Tablespoons)
- 1/2 cup of white sugar
- 1/2 cup of hot water,
- 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
- 2 Tablespoons butter (melted)
- 1/4 cup lemon balm (finely chopped)
If you do not have lemon balm you can substitute Lemon Verbena. Lemon Verbena is a flowering plant with lemon scented leaves that are often used in tea. These leaves can be dried and used like lemon balm.
Lemon verbena is a perennial shrub or subshrub growing to 2–3 m high. The 8 cm long glossy, pointed leaves are slightly rough to the touch and emit a powerful scent reminiscent of lemon when bruised.