You might think it ridiculous that I’m posting a peanut butter and jelly sandwich here. I mean, really, who doesn’t know how to make a PB&J?
But this version just so happens to be made entirely from scratch. I’m talking homemade white sandwich bread, freshly ground peanut butter, and homemade strawberry jam (plain-ass strawberry jam, if you were curious).
Sure, we’ve taken a 3-minute snack and turned it into a 3-hour one, but it’s kind of cool to see the whole process from start to finish, without buying anything pre-made in a jar or bag. Pretty much the only thing we didn’t do was grind our own flour (that’s just taking it too far, in my opinion).
The whole thing was Taylor’s idea, really. Since I was taking care of the jam and the peanut butter (which we had previously made in our Vitamix for some pretty awesome pie), I told him the bread was entirely his responsibility.
After scouring the internet for the ‘perfect’ recipe, comparing recipes for wheat and white and pullman and potato (and various iterations of each), I think the final result is pretty darn perfect. Slightly crustier than wonder bread, but with a soft and tender center and beautiful even crumb, there’s no denying it’s a beautiful loaf. He thought so too, apparently, not-so-modestly declaring himself “a bread man” after pulling the second near-perfect loaf out of the oven.
Nowadays where everything can be bought so easily and cheaply, we often forget that it’s not only possible, but downright delicious to make everyday staples from scratch. From bread to peanut butter, almond milk to spicy mustard, the value of homemade isn’t in saving time or money (actually it’s rarely either), but rather in knowing exactly what went into that loaf of bread. Flour, yeast, salt, milk. No stabilizers or unpronounceable mystery chemicals. In this case a little bit of effort goes a long way in the end.
After enjoying a sandwich made completely from scratch, you may just say it’s the best thing since sliced homemade bread.
Ultimate Scratch-Made Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
- 1 teaspoon active-dry yeast
- 1/2 cup luke warm water
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
- oil, for coating
- 2 cups (10 ounces) roasted, unsalted peanuts
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 jar homemade strawberry jam
- Place water into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast over top. Let stand for 5 minutes or until frothy.
- Add 1/2 cup of flour along with melted butter, milk, sugar, and salt and stir until it comes together into a loose dough (a few lumps are ok).
- Continue stirring in another 2 or so cups of flour until the dough comes together in a shaggy ball. Reserve remaining flour.
- Using the dough hook attachment, knead the dough on medium-low speed for 8-10 minutes. You can also knead the dough by hand on a lightly-floured surface. If the dough still sticks to the sides of the bowl or the counter, add flour, a tablespoon at a time, until it is no longer sticky. The final dough should feel slightly tacky and will spring back when poked.
- Lightly coat a clean bowl (it’s ok to scrape out the bowl you just used) with oil. Gather the dough into a ball and turn it in the bowl to coat with oil. Cover and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about one hour.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a loose ball. Let rest for 10 minutes.
- Grease one standard-size loaf pan with oil or cooking spray. Gently shape the dough into an oblong oval and transfer to the loaf pan. It’s important that the surface be stretched taut; this helps the loaf expand and prevents an overly-dense interior. Let rise a second time until it starts to dome over the edge of the pan, about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Slash the top of the loaf with a serrated knife and place in the oven. Immediately turn down the heat to 375 degrees F and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until dark golden-brown and hallow-sounding when tapped on the bottom. Remove from pans and let cool completely before slicing.
- Bread will keep at room temperature for several days, or wrapped in foil and plastic and frozen for up to three months.
- Place peanuts and sea salt in the canister of a high-powered blender or food processor and secure lid. Gradually turn to high speed and continue to mix until the peanut butter begins to flow freely, scraping down the peanut mixture as you go (or using the tamper that came with your blender) to ensure even mixing. If desired, you can add a teaspoon or two of peanut oil to thin out the final butter to a consistency more like that of store-bought.
- To assemble sandwiches, slice bread into 1/2-inch-thick pieces. Lightly toast (if desired). Spread one side with a thick layer of peanut butter, and the other side with a layer of jam. Press sides together, and cut in half to serve.