We’re taking this week by the horns, and this Peanut Butter & Jelly Pull-Apart Bread is going to help us do it.
There’s nothing like conquering a delicious bread recipe to give you some motivation and an extra boost of confidence (when it turns out well, that is.) Not considering myself an “experienced” bread baker, I have to admit that I had my doubts about this recipe throughout the ENTIRE baking process. I powered through and told myself to keep going even when the gumminess of the dough was making my stand mixer overheat. Thankfully the amount of butter in this recipe loosened things up nicely and the result was a rich, moist dough laced with creamy peanut butter and jelly.
But first, how was everyone’s weekend? We had a great couple of days with my folks, going out to eat at some tasty Santa Barbara restaurants and hitting up the Paul Simon concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl last night. It was a triple date with my parents, my brother and sister-in-law, and Chris and I (the first time we had ever done such a thing) and it was a blast! The Santa Barbara Bowl is an out-of-this world outdoor concert venue and if you’re ever in the area between the months of April and October (“Bowl Season”) I highly recommend you get a ticket to whoever happens to be playing while you’re here, it is so worth it!
Anyhow, I digress. Back to this Peanut Butter & Jelly Pull-Apart Bread. This was a bit of a nostalgic recipe for me to create. I came up with the idea based off of this Pull-Apart Beer Bread with Comte and Whole Grain Mustard. It came out so well and got such rave reviews that I knew I wanted to play around with the “pull-apart” concept and come up with some different flavor combinations. If you’ve known me for any period of time, you’ll know that I am a biiiiiiig peanut butter-lover. Like, I kind of need to have it in some form or another every single day. And peanut butter and jelly are just natural partners, amiright? There’s nothing that goes better together (IMHO.)
So, since this flavor combo would be a little sweeter than the Comte and whole grain mustard I filled the beer bread with, I decided to go with more of a brioche dough for this bread. I pulled out my trusty Bouchon Bakery cookbook (can’t go wrong with that, even if it’s a leeeetle bit intimidating) and found Thomas Keller’s recipe for Craquelins. Technically, Craquelins are brioche’s sugar sweet cousin. They’re these cute little rolls dusted in pearl sugar with a sugar cube tucked inside each one. I didn’t go quite that far, but slightly adapted Mr. Keller’s recipe to come up with a buttery, slightly sweet dough laced with vanilla and cinnamon.
Important note: The dough needs to rest quite a bit (including an overnight rise) so you’ll want to plan in advance when making this recipe. But the waiting is the hardest part. When you break it down step by step, the actual techniques and ingredients required are REALLY easy.
The first step is to make a “starter” and let that sit for about an hour. Then we get into the mixing and kneading of the dough. We let the dough go through a rise as is before lacing it with the peanut butter and jelly, then let it rise overnight in the pan in what will eventually be its finished form. In the morning, we bake it off and less than an hour later we have a delicious, messy, sticky, sweet loaf of Peanut Butter and Jelly Pull-Apart Bread.
Eat it right away, freeze it for later, or cut it into pieces to pack in your (or your child’s) lunch. This is an incredibly rich bread and you really don’t need very much to feel satisfied. A little bit goes a long way!
Now, go forth and make this bread! I have nothing but faith in you, you can do it!
- 3 ½ tablespoons whole milk warmed to 75 degrees Fahrenheit
- 2 3/8 teaspoons instant yeast about 1 1/3 packets
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons plus ¾ teaspoon flour
- 2 ¾ cup plus 2 teaspoons flour
- ¼ cup plus ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 eggs
- 1 ¼ cups plus 1 tablespoon butter cut into ½ inch pieces, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 5 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
- 1/2 cup jelly your choice of flavor, I used strawberry
- 1 egg
- First, make the starter. Combine milk and yeast in a small bowl. Add flour and mix ingredients together using your fingers. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for one hour.
- Place the flour, sugar and salt for the dough in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and mix to combine. Add the starter and mix on low speed for 30 seconds. While the mixer is still running, add eggs, one at a time, mixing each time until incorporated. The dough will be incredibly dry. Don’t stress! Mix on low speed for about 15 minutes. Keep an eye on your mixer and give it a rest throughout the process if needed. My mixer got a little warm by about minute 10 so I stopped mixing and let it rest for a few minutes to cool down.
- Next, add the butter, a few pieces at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition until incorporated. I stopped the mixer and used my hands to incorporate the butter for the first couple of additions, until the dough loosened up a bit. Once all the butter has been added, run the mixer for an additional two minutes. The dough will be very sticky at this point.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface (you may need to use a spatula to get the dough cleanly out of the bowl.) Pat the dough roughly into the shape of a rectangle, then take the right side and fold it over to the middle. Repeat for the left side (like you’re folding a letter.) Form dough into a ball. Spray a large mixing bowl with cooking spray and place dough in bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for at least one hour, or until doubled in size.
- Once again, turn dough out onto a floured surface. Pat into a long rectangle. Spread peanut butter, then jelly, evenly over the dough. Roll dough up into a log on the floured surface, then cut the log into slices (each slice should be 1 ½ to 2 inches thick.) Spray an 8-inch loaf pan with cooking spray, and carefully tuck the slices of dough into the pan. When it bakes, the dough will meld together and form the pull-apart bread.
- Cover the loaf pan with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight.
- The next morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove loaf from refrigerator and place in preheated oven. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until top is golden and bread feels fairly solid when tapping on the center. Check the loaf at minute 35 or so. If the top is already pretty golden, cover with aluminum foil to prevent it from browning too much. Let bread cool completely before serving.
It’s peanut butter-jelly time!