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Whether they're 2 or 10, 30 or 60, kids love peanut butter. The debate simmers on as to the superiority of creamy or chunky. Preferences are divided between healthy organic peanut butter that needs to be refrigerated and is the consistency of modeling clay, and the emulsified supermarket brands that are soft and spreadable and, frankly, downright tasty with all that added sugar and salt.
We thought that it would be fun to try peanut butter and jelly bread, making a peanut butter dough and a jelly dough. Most of the baking that we do here is wonderful; but some of it... well, it's not so wonderful. This recipe belonged to the latter group. The peanut butter dough smelled great, but was oily and dense. The jam dough, which incorporated a whole jar of extremely sweet grape jelly, never rose. It made the peanut butter bread look fluffy in comparison. We're waiting to see if the chickens will eat it...
So, even when you've baked thousands of loaves of bread, there are still some times when things don't work as planned. What we learned was that sugar in small amounts gives yeast extra oomph, and in large amounts (it was, after all, the first ingredient listed on the back of the jelly jar) will just plain overwhelm the yeast and send it running. So, we started again with the basic premise that peanut butter and jelly baked into the loaf somehow, some way would be quite wonderful. Here is the new result:
Peanut Butter and Jelly Bread, Round II
Round II ended with a loaf of oatmeal bread swirled with peanut butter and jelly. We liked the blended taste of oats and peanut butter, and the combination of nuts and grain forms a complete vegetable protein. You can also use a favorite white or wheat bread recipe as the base.
1 cup rolled oats or steel-cut oats (we used a mixture)
1/2 cup honey
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 tablespoon (1 packet) active dry yeast or 2 1/2 ( 1 packet) teaspoons instant yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon honey
2 cups King Arthur Traditional Whole Wheat or 100% White Whole Wheat Flour
3 1/2 to 4 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup peanut butter
2/3 cup jam or jelly
Combine the ingredients in a bowl and let sit for 30 minutes, until the oats have softened.
Dissolve the yeast in the water, and add the honey and 1/2 cup of the unbleached flour. Let the yeast sit for 10 minutes to get going. When it's bubbly, you know that you have active yeast that's ready to get to work.
When the oats have cooled to room temperature, stir in the yeast mixture. Add all of the whole wheat flour. Gradually add the unbleached flour.
When the dough has formed a shaggy mass, turn it out onto a lightly floured counter and knead it, adding more flour as necessary. When the dough is no longer sticky and has formed a smooth and satiny ball, place it in a bowl and drizzle a little oil on it. The oil helps prevent the formation of a skin due to exposure to the air. Cover the bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap. Now you can go do something else for about an hour and a half.
When the dough has risen to twice the starting size, punch it down and turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Knead it a little bit to expel any air bubbles. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Roll each into a rectangle.
Smear 1/2 cup of peanut butter and 1/3 cup of jelly on the first rectangle. Maintain a 1" border on all sides. Roll up the dough, starting with a long side. Pinch the seam together and pinch the ends together. Place the roll in a greased 9" x 5" bread pan. Repeat with the second rectangle of dough.
Let the loaves rise until they have risen to 1" to 2" over the top of the pan, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Fifteen minutes before you want to bake bread, preheat oven to 350°F. Bake the loaves for 35 to 45 minutes, until they are nicely browned and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Yield: 2 loaves.
Nutrition information per serving (1/2-inch slice, 63 g): 182 cal, 6 g fat, 5 g protein, 19 g complex carbohydrates, 8 g sugar, 2 g dietary fiber, 4 mg cholesterol, 254 mg sodium, 120 mg potassium, 1 mg iron, 32 mg calcium, 84 mg phosphorus.
This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. III, No. 8, September-October 1992 issue.