This bread is the one thing I could dine upon for the rest of my life without ever growing tired of it. No matter the amount of whole wheat flour I throw into it, it rises and rises until it looks like the biggest mushroom known to man. or to woman, more appropriately in my case.
I’m always shocked at how buttery and brioche-like it turns out. It’s gotta be the tastiest way to make French toast or other grilled sandwiches delights!
Very easy to make, I’ve never had any bad experience with it, be it made by hand or using the bread machine.
I decided to do it half and half this morning, meaning that for time-pressing issues, I did the first part in the bread machine, and finished it up in the oven.
I strongly recommend investing in an instant-read thermometer to make sure the temperature at the center of the bread reaches 190F-200F. It will save you from the possible heartache of slicing into your bread only to find it remained completely doughy in the middle.
You could also choose to go the sweet tooth way and make it into buns, throwing a little piece of dark chocolate in its center à la matcha spelt rolls. To make buns: divide dough into 8, bake them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat, for about 15 minutes at 375F. Be sure to keep an eye on them as PB bread has a tendency to brown faster than other breads.
Another variation? knead in 1/2 cup of chocolate chunks or chips when starting the process of making the bread…
Or if you’re in a New York state of mind, why not go for bagels instead?
Using your basic cinnamon roll like guideline, you could turn these babies into sinful little treats for breakfast. or lunch. or supper, whatever.
If you have anything against using peanut butter, feel free to replace it with tahini, almond butter, or any other nut butter you like the most.
I’m probably siding with Nick here by stating that no other nut butter will do for me: peanuts are where it’s at, no matter what kind of baked good we’re talking about.
Peanut Butter Yeast Bread:
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon water or any nondairy milk
1/2 cup chunky natural peanut butter
2 cups white or regular whole wheat flour, spooned and leveled
1 cup bread flour, spooned and leveled
4 teaspoons vital wheat gluten
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar or Sucanat
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast or bread machine yeast
with the machine:
place all ingredients in bread pan, following manufacturer’s instructions. set on DOUGH. let the machine do its work.
without the machine:
in a large bowl, whisk together water, peanut butter, sugar, salt. add flour and yeast. stir with a wooden spoon, start using your hands once it gets too tough to make do with the spoon.
place dough on a clean, lightly floured surface and start kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic. add extra flour if the dough is too sticky. shape dough into a ball.
lightly coat your bowl with oil, swirl dough around to coat it with oil. cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free area for 90 minutes, or until doubled in size.
prepare an 8-inch bread loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.
remove dough from either the bread machine pan or the bowl. punch it down. simply shape it into a loaf, or roll it out to about 11 x 16 inches. roll it up like you would a Swiss roll, tightly and firmly. pat it down on the sides and tops. place it in the prepared bread pan and press it down with your knuckles so that it covers the bottom surface. cover with a plastic wrap and let rise for another hour in same warm, draft-free area. it will rise about 2 inches above the pan, like a mushroom, you’ll see!
20 minutes before the dough is done rising, preheat your oven to 375F. remove plastic wrap from dough, and bake for 30 minutes, or until instant-read thermometer tells you your bread has reached 190-200F in the center. you might want to loosely cover your bread with aluminum foil, halfway through baking, to avoid having it get too tanned.
check for the bottom of the bread to sound hollow when tapped after 30 minutes in the oven, if you don’t have an instant-read thermometer, to be sure it’s ready to get out of the oven.
let cool on a rack. let cool completely before slicing.
Yield: 1 1/2-pound loaf