Sunday, April 4, 2010

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bread

So I know at least one of you readers is allergic to milk and has commented on how all my bread recipes have milk (but let's be honest, most bread recipes have some form of milk whether powdered or liquid or in butter).  This one doesn't, then again, I'm not sure how great of a sandwich bread it would make (or it could possibly be an awesome peanut butter and something sandwich bread in its ideal form, I'm not sure). After a few bites from the end (which are certainly not completely indicative of how this bread will taste, seeing as there is less jam at the ends), I'd say the taste is good, but this recipe has a few issues.  First, bread does not roll well when you can't seal it together because of jam, which means the middle is pretty loose (which makes it a not very good sandwich bread).

*Also I saw it had to rise for 12 hours and was shocked.  Twelve hours?  And it uses quick rise yeast?  Really.  I checked it when I went to bed, which was 3 hours after mixed the dough and it had barely done anything.  This morning though, (which for the record was only 10 hours later) it was perfect.  So yes, blend this the night before you want it, and it does make a nice morning bread.

**It's extremely sticky which might be exaggerated by the Atlanta humidity, but I really don't think there is enough flour in it, or at very least, when rolling it out, you should make sure EVERYTHING is floured thoroughly.  It says to lightly sprinkle flour on the dough before rolling it out, but I was too shy about this and it was a sticky mess that was hard to work with and hence make into a solid loaf.  But again, being in Atlanta might be part of the problem.

***Another issue: the baking time.  It says about 75 minutes at 450.  Seriously?  I can't think of anything that should cook that long at 450.  Granted, I'm still kind of a newbie.   I baked it for about half an hour, turned off the oven and let it sit for another 15 minutes and it came out a little brown in places.  So I would say 35-40 minutes is probably sufficient.  The 450 means that the crust will be pretty hard even though the bread is soft (right?).  So (I think) if you want a less crusty crust you should bake it on a lower temperature (but even then I think 75 minutes is way too long).  Someone more experienced than me can correct me if I'm wrong on the statement of making a softer crust.  Oh, also if you want a less crusty crust you might want to avoid the egg wash.  But it does make it pretty.

Here is the recipe in it's original form, with my comments above starred.  If I ever make it again, I'll let you know what modifications I actually make.  I think it's likely I will make it again.  It's not too hard and requires less time where you have to keep an eye on it (by this I mean during the first rise you can sleep or do something productive which is usually not true of bread) and it tastes good.  But like I said, it needs improvements.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bread

- One 8-inch loaf; 1 1/3 pounds -
Adapted from My Bread by Jim Lahey.
1 large (about 60 grams) egg, beaten
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (280 grams) bread flour
2 tablespoons (20 grams) whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon (4 grams) table salt
1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) instant or other active dry yeast
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (260 grams) cool (55 to 65 degrees F) water
3 tablespoons (50 grams) unsalted smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup (35 grams) unsalted dry-roasted peanuts, whole
1/4 cup (35 grams) unsalted dry-roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
1/3 cup (100 grams) seedless fruit jam of choice
nonstick cooking spray
additional flour for dusting
1. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the beaten egg for glazing the bread. In a medium bowl, stir together the flours, salt, yeast, and the remaining egg. Blend the water and peanut butter in a blender until smooth (some settling will occur if this is left to stand, so blend just before using). Add mixture to the flour mixture and, using a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until you have a wet, sticky dough without any lumps, about 30 seconds. Stir in the whole peanuts until evenly distributed. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the surface is dotted with bubbles and the dough is more than doubled in size, about 12 hours**.
2. When the first rise is complete, sprinkle the surface of the dough with flour*. Use a bowl scraper or rubber spatula to scrape the dough out of the bowl in one piece. Lightly flour your hands and gently pat and pull the dough into a rough rectangle about 8 by 12 inches.
3. Now you're going to make a sort of jelly roll: Position the dough so a long side is in front of you. Spread the jam evenly over the surface of the dough, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides. Lift up the far side of the rectangle and fold one third of it over toward the center, then continue rolling up the remainder into a cylinder. With the seam on the bottom, tuck the ends of the roll under to seal them, so the jam doesn't ooze out during baking.
4. Lightly coat the loaf pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle half of the chopped peanuts into the bottom of the pan. Gently transfer the dough, seam side down, to the loaf pan. Sprinkle the remaining chopped peanuts onto the dough. Cover the dough with a towel and place it in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 hour. The dough is ready when it has doubled. If you gently poke it with your finger, it should hold the impression. If it springs back, let it rise for another 15 minutes.
5. About 15 minutes before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 450°F, with a rack in the center.
6. Brush the top of the dough with the reserved beaten egg. Bake until golden, about 1 hour and 15 minutes***. If the peanuts start to darken, loosely cover the loaf with foil. Use pot holders to invert the pan onto a rack, remove the pan, and turn the bread right side up to cool thoroughly. (Don't dawdle--the bread will get soggy if it cools in the pan.)

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