Update: It is spring (nearly summer, really) 2018, and I thought this recipe could use a little love. It is one of the recipes I most frequently make from this here blog, and I think perhaps that may go for some other folks too. You’ll find one new ingredient and some new instructions that help the rhubarb distribute more evenly throughout the loaf instead of floating to the top the way they used to do, but it’s still perfectly moist.
Hi, my name is Annie. I have a problem. The problem is rhubarb. I seemingly can’t stop thinking about it, can’t stop talking about, can’t stop cooking with it. Between the baked rhubarb at Passover, the rhubarb bourbon sours, the rhubarb themed weekend finds post, and now this poppy seed bread sprinkled with rhubarb, I’m starting to worry myself. But oh well. It tastes too good to stop.
A couple weeks ago, I was wanting to make some poppy seed bread, but I wanted it to be not just your normal old poppy seed bread. I prefer almond poppyseed to lemon poppy seed, so I knew I wanted to lean that way. I also knew I wanted to add fruit. And once I thought of the tartness of the rhubarb combined with the nuttiness of the almond and the poppy seeds, I knew I had to try it.
If you’re interested in a sweeter flavor combination, try subbing strawberries for the rhubarb. But really, you should try it at least once with rhubarb. I swear, it’s really really good.
I first made this recipe for a brunch with my roommates, and between the six of us we finished a whole loaf. In one sitting. It wasn’t even hard. The second loaf quickly disappeared over the next two days. The house smelled incredible, even up on the third floor, and even out on the second floor deck. This bread is a perfect quick bread for the spring (and summer) – it’s unique and dotted with fruit. I recommend bringing it to a friend’s house for brunch: it gets it out of your kitchen (yeah, it’s that dangerous), and they will think you are brilliant.
Poppy Seed Bread with Rhubarb
Makes 2 loaves
1/4 and 1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
2 1/2 cups rhubarb, cut into a half inch dice
1.5 cups AP flour
1.5 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups olive oil
1 1/2 cups milk, preferably 2% or whole
2 tsp almond extract
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 Tbl poppy seeds
2-3 Tbsp turbinado sugar (optional)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two bread pans. In a bowl, toss the rhubarb with 1/4 cup of sugar to coat. Set aside.
Combine the remaining sugar, flour, bread flour, salt, and baking powder in a mixing bowl, whisking to combine. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the eggs and olive oil. Mix on medium speed with the whisk until emulsified, 1-2 minutes. Add in the milk and two extracts and mix again until smooth. With the mixer running, add the poppy seeds to the bowl. When they look to be evenly distributed, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl, reaching all the way to the bottom – you wouldn’t want any part of the batter to be missing poppy seeds! In two batches, mix in the dry ingredients, mixing until smooth and uniform.
You’re going to pour the batter into the 2 pans in 3 batches, so start by simply pouring enough to heavily cover the bottom of each pan. Leaving any juices in the bowl, split half of the rhubarb between the two pans (so 1/4 of the rhubarb in each pan). Pour more batter on top of this (but not all!), add more rhubarb, then finish by covering all the rhubarb with the rest of the batter. Scatter the turbinado sugar over the batter.
Bake for 60-75 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown on top, and a knife or skewer inserted comes out clean.
Allow to cool for 20 minutes in the pans, then run a knife around the edge of the pan, and gently turn the loaves out onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely, 20-30 more minutes. Slice and enjoy.