Saturday, April 9, 2011

Peanut butter bread

For the past year  I have been teaching Russian at the Global Language Network, a DC-based NGO that offers free language courses taught by native language speakers. GLN helped me to understand what a rewarding job teaching is as well as meet wonderful people interested in Russian language and culture. Last semester, my class presented me with a book by Jim Lahey, owner of the Sullivan Street Bakery in NYC and founder of no-knead bread technique. While many food writers and bloggers, including Mark Bittman and Jaden Hair, celebrate the classic no-knead loaf, they overlook other recipes from My Bread. Today, I want to share the share a recipe for ultimate breakfast/snack/dessert  bread that turns American classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich into a rustic, rich, and sweet loaf.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Bread 
1 large (about 60 grams) egg, beaten 
2 cups plus 2 Tbsp (280 grams) bread flour            
2 Tbsp (20 grams) whole wheat flour                  
3/4 Tsp (4 grams) kosher 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  (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 

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.
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.

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. 

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.

About 15 minutes before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 450°F, with a rack in the center.

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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